WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- India has delivered the first of four planned Mi-25 attack helicopters to the government of Afghanistan for use by the Afghan Air Force.
The donation marks the first time India has gifted combat equipment to Afghanistan, which has historically been met with objection from neighboring nation Pakistan. Indian military officials are also scheduled to train Afghan Air Force pilots to operate the aircraft. The deal was subject to approval from Russia as the manufacturer of the helicopters, according to The Economic Times.
The Mi-25 attack helicopters are designed to engage enemies in fortified positions, and transport troops to locations under heavy enemy fire. India is currently in the process of replacing its fleet of Mi-25 helicopters with U.S.-made Apache aircraft.
Once the deliveries are complete, the Afghan Air Force will use the Mi-25s to replace their fleet of Mi-35 helicopters, of which only one is in a state to fly, according to IHS Janes. The deliveries add to the Afghan Air Force's fleet of 109 aircraft, comprised of Russian, Indian and U.S.-made planes.
Afghanistan will receive the first of 20 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft from the United States in January 2016.