The Afghan Air Force has criticized its newly acquired American-made MD 530F helicopters after one of them was destroyed in an accident recently.
According to a report by New York Times, the accident happened after a tailwind tipped the helicopter over the edge of a mountain it landed on.
“The single-engine helicopter does not have the range to attack Taliban targets from its home base at Kabul International Airport, and neither does it have the power to operate effectively in Afghanistan's 'hot and high' environment. In the summer they cannot cross the mountain ranges that encircle Kabul,” Afghan Colonel Qalandar Shah Qalandari, was quoted as saying by New York Times last Friday.
“The lack of armour and sighting systems for the helicopter's machine guns as being handicaps also,” Qalandari said.
Afghanistan has so far received 18 MD 530 helicopters since December 2011. One helicopter was lost after it landed on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in September 2013.
The NYT disclosure of the loss of one of AAF's current fleet of 17 MD 530Fs was part of a wider report in which a senior service official questioned the suitability of the helicopter for Afghanistan.