A new apron has been completed at Shindand Air Base, the training hub for the Afghan Air Force (AAF). Other than providing another great photo of the Soviet-built AAF aircraft graveyard, the article adds some confusion to the Shindand picture.
Shindand Air Base is divided into east and west sides, the west side being the AAF side and the East side being the Coalition (predominantly US) side of the base.
According the the NTM-A blog’s post, “New rotary wing apron helps make Shindand the “crown jewel” of the Afghan Air Force,” “The apron, approximately 112,000 [square] meters in size, has the ability to park 18 UH-60 Blackhawks, 14 CH-47 Chinooks and 10 AH-64 Apache helicopters. The apron will be used as a staging and servicing area for units belonging to Task Force Spearhead which also operates out of Shindand.”
The AAF doesn’t have any Blackhawks, Chinooks, or Apaches and Task Force Spearhead a unit of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade of the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division. In addition to being on the coalition side of the airfield, the apron is also inaccessible to the newly arrived (fixed-wing) aircraft. So it is tough to see how this will be of any immediate benefit to the AAF.
Bottom line: The new apron may be the crown jewel of U.S. aviation at Shindand, but until the AAF can park their lawn darts on it, it won’t be much use to them.