Since 2007 the "Mangusta" has been contributing to the safety of coalition personnel by ensuring an effective deterrent action to protect the Italian contingent.
Full integration of the "Mongoose" with the tactical remote-controlled "Shadow" tactical aircraft and the U.S. AH-64 "Apache" peers
The activity of the Italian Army helicopters employed in Afghanistan continues non-stop, also in the face of the Covid-19 emergency, and these days they have reached the 13,500 hours of flight time in the theatre with the AH-129 "Mangusta" Exploration and Escort helicopter.
Since 2007, the "Mongoose" has been continuously ploughing the skies of the Afghan Operational Theatre, contributing to the security of the coalition personnel involved in the long and complex process of stabilization of the country. In support of NATO International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) operations before, and since 2015, Resolute Support (RS), the crews of the AH-129 helicopter line, the Mangusta are part of the Aviation Battalion - Task Group "FENICE" and coming from the 5th and 7th Air Force Regiment of the Army, they ensure in the base of Herat the prompt presence of an airplane with exceptional reconnaissance and fire capabilities, ensuring an effective deterrent action to protect the Italian contingent.
In particular, in order to further increase the protection of the Train Advise Assist Command West (TAAC-W) forces, which have been engaged for months in military advice and assistance to the Afghan security forces, the "FENICE" Task Group has given a strong impulse to achieve the maximum integration of its "Mangusta" helicopters with the tactical remote control aircraft Organic "Shadow" in the department, developing techniques, tactics and procedures to maximise the use of the systems and increase the contingent's engagement capacity.
This process also saw the participation of the US AH-64 "Apache" attack helicopters, also present on the Herat base, with which several training sorties were carried out, demonstrating the excellent level of integration now achieved by the "aviation" component of the Italian Armed Forces with the allied countries.
The target of 13,500 flight hours quantifies the work carried out by the AH-129 component of the Army Air Force in the last 13 years in Afghanistan; the capacity that the structure is able to express in the difficult operational context and the level of integration achieved with the coalition forces represent its qualitative dimension.
The TAAC-W, Italian-led NATO Command, currently on the 132nd Armoured Brigade "Aries" under the command of Brigade General Enrico Barduani, in which men and women of the Italian Army, Air Force, Navy and Carabinieri Corps operate, is responsible for Operation Resolute Support in the western part of Afghanistan, that includes the provinces of Herat, Badghis, Farah and Ghor, for a territorial extension equal to the entire North of Italy and a population of about four million inhabitants.
It is composed of soldiers from eight nations (Albania, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, Ukraine, the United States of America, as well as Italy) who work with the aim of contributing to training, assistance and advice to the Afghan Security Institutions and Forces, committed to creating adequate conditions of security and prosperity for the local population.