An Afghan National Army Air Corps AN-32 Cline taking off. (Photo: NAVAIR)
NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (May 07, 2008)—NAVAIRs Support and Commercial Derivative Aircraft Program Office, responding to a direct request from Afghanistans President and Minister of Defense via the Navys International Program Office, was directed to buy four Antonov AN-32 "Cline" aircraft for the Afghan National Army Air Corps (ANAAC) through the Foreign Military Sales program.
The AN-32 is an all-weather transport aircraft that is ideally suited to flying missions in Afghanistans tough environment. It is widely used by commercial and military operators world-wide.
This program was really unique, said Capt. James G. Wallace, Program Manager for the Support and Commercial Derivative Aircraft Program Office (PMA-207). People can work in the acquisition world their entire careers and not see the final product. With this AN-32 buy, the team got to see the entire process happen in front of their eyes in a little more than 60 days. Im very proud of what the team has accomplished.
The Support and Commercial Derivative Aircraft Program Office, using an accelerated acquisition strategy, bought the AN-32s from commercial sources. An ANAAC acquisition team was assembled from members of the various NAVAIR organizations and deployed to Kiev, Ukraine to find the needed aircraft. The technical team inspected the aircraft for sale and found that they met the required specifications and were in excellent condition.
Mr. Richard Senkel (Deputy Program Manager) and members of NAVAIRs contracting staff, including Lt. Cmdr. J. Sanchez, a Procurement Contracting Officer, entered into negotiations with the seller and delivered the first aircraft to the ANAAC within 65 days from receipt of original tasking from the Navy International Program Office.
"We understood the urgency of the requirement and the critical need for these aircraft. When the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan (CSTC-A) "Reached back" to NAVAIR and PMA-207, we responded. The entire Team was committed to delivering these aircraft as quickly as possible to the warfighters, said Senkel. The aircraft and logistics support that we have delivered have had a direct impact on operations in the Central Command Area of Responsibility. Through additional taskings, we will continue to support CSTC-A and the Afghanistan National Army Air Corps (ANAAC) for the near future.
Mr. Roman Hnatyshyn, PMA-207s C-26 and UC-35 Assistant Program Manager for Systems Engineering, was another key team member. Being a first-generation U.S.-born citizen from Ukrainian parents, Im fluent in the Ukrainian language and know the Cyrillic alphabet. I learned other Slavic languages such as Russian, Polish, Czech, and Slavic at college, said Hnatyshyn. The AN-32 acquisition was a unique opportunity to blend my language and technical skills with an in-depth knowledge of the local people, places, and customs.
Another key team member in this effort was Air Force Lt. Col. Stephen Petters, who was deployed from the Pentagon to Afghanistan. He was working to help rebuild the Afghan National Army Air Corps logistical capability so it could support itself and the rest of the Afghan military.
I was tasked to buy aircraft, support equipment and anything else the ANAAC needed to help rebuild their capability, said Petters. The work the NAVAIR team did was incredible. From the initial phone call to getting two aircraft on the ramp in Afghanistan in 14 weeks was just unheard of. Others said it could not be done but they did it.
The ANAAC have operated AN-32 aircraft without any logistical support since 1989. The ANAAC is currently being trained by the Combined Airpower Task Force-Afghanistan (CAPTF-A). Reestablishment of an effective air force is a national priority for both the U.S. and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
Source: Naval Air Systems Command