Second Phase of Helicopter Maintenance Trust Fund
21 May 2013
NATO-Russia Council Foreign Ministers officially launched the second phase of the Helicopter Maintenance Trust Fund on 23 April for which NSPA acts as the Project Manager on behalf of the contributor nations.
The Trust Fund supports the Afghan Air Force in developing the capacity to maintain its fleet of Russian made Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters, as these helicopters are a vital component of the Afghan National Security Force’s capability for operational air support, and for resupplying remote and mountainous security outposts.
During the first phase of the project, NSPA was able to contract training for 30 Afghan technicians at the Novosibirsk Aircraft Repair Plant, the original equipment manufacturer facility. As well as training personnel, the Trust Fund is also supplying the Afghan Air Force with the spare parts that are needed to ensure their fleet of helicopters remains operational.
Phase 2 will significantly expand the assistance the Trust Fund is providing to the Afghan Air Force. Not only will it offer more maintenance training support on Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters, as well as more spare parts, but it will also support the Medical Evacuation capabilities of the Afghan Air Force by providing a conversion kit to transform a Mi-17 helicopter into a fully equipped flying ambulance.
NRC nations have contributed significantly to move the project into its second phase. Germany, the Trust Fund’s lead nation, announced its latest contribution to the Trust Fund which has allowed Ministers to launch Phase 2 of the project. As well as the German contribution, a significant in-kind contribution of spare parts from the US and donations from the Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey have been announced. Other NRC nations are exploring possibilities to contribute to the funding of this project.