March 21 (UPI) -- Afghanistan's air force received four A-29 Super Tucano light-attack aircraft on Monday to support the country's fight against insurgent groups.
The U.S. planes travelled to Afghanistan from Moody Air Force Base in Georgia. With the delivery, Afghanistan's in-country Super Tucano fleet increases from eight to 12 aircraft.
According to the U.S. Air Force, the new planes will be used by Afghan pilots to support armed reconnaissance missions, close-air attack and escort missions.
"The four additional aircraft will allow us to increase the number of missions we are able to support nationwide," an unnamed Afghan air force pilot said in a press release. "More targets can be attacked -- more ground troops can be supported."
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen David Hicks also commented on the delivery, noting Afghanistan's pilots have demonstrated considerable improvement with the platform.
"The AAF pilots are continually gaining proficiency in the A-29," he said. "They are capable of providing air attack anywhere in the country. In the past, the Afghan National Army relied on the coalition for air support. Now, it's their own countrymen overhead flying the missions."
The A-29 Super Tucano is fitted for counter-insurgency operations in low-threat environments as well as training pilots for combat. The planes are designed to perform in high temperatures and extreme humidity, and are typically armed with wing-mounted machine guns, rockets, and air-to-ground missiles.