News Briefs – March 28, 2018

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Afghanis soon to fly missions with Black Hawks from U.S.

KANADAHAR, Afghanistan–The U.S. military has been flying UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter missions in Afghanistan for years, but the storied aircraft will soon take to the country’s battlefields manned by pilots and crews from the Afghan military.
The first group of Afghan trainees is in the final phase of instruction by U.S. advisers at an air base in southern Kandahar province, as part of transitioning Afghanistan’s military from Soviet-era Mi-17 helicopters to the U.S.-made Black Hawks.
They are scheduled to begin flying missions in May.
U.S. Air Force Maj. Ted Rogers, director of operations for the 441st Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron, called the transition “hugely important.”
It’s part of broader plans for the expansion of the Afghan Air Force. The U.S. is spending $814 million on the seven-year effort. AP
 

Army’s live-fire training ignited blaze that burned homes

The Army says a wildfire that destroyed at least two homes in southern Colorado was sparked by live-fire training at Fort Carson, Colo.
The announcement March 26 came more than a week after the 3,300-acre fire started on a day when a fire warning was issued because of high winds and dry weather.
A statement from the post said aviation training ignited the March 16 fire. It spread from Fort Carson to private land.
The post’s commander, Maj. Gen. Randy A. George, says the Army needs to balance its training needs with the safety of its neighbors. He said in a statement that the Army was “mitigating risk and altering training” before the fire and will continue to do so based on what it’s learned. AP