Archive for category Kyrgyzstan

Logistics: Air America Redux In South Central Asia

     The requirement includes, but is not limited to, fixed wing aircraft, personnel, equipment, tools, material, maintenance and supervision necessary to perform passenger, cargo, passenger and cargo combination (COMBI) and LCLA airdrop operations using STOL air transportation services between locations in the Areas of Responsibility (AOR) of Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan. The contractor shall provide all direct labor, transportation, supervision, training, fixed wing aircraft, administrative support for conducting air operations and all other items and services necessary to perform Air Support Services (parachute operations) for Government directed aerial delivery missions.


     This is neat.  This solicitation at FBO is for a very unique contract that would certainly provide for some interesting and extremely dangerous work.  Basically they want STOL aircraft to fly around in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan to drop paracargo and transport people and things. And with STOL aircraft, that means airplanes that can land on short mountain top strips, roads, or flat valley areas. They are also cheaper to run than helicopters.

     The other thing I clued in on with this contract, is it looks like the company tasked with performing this work will do ‘everything’. Does this mean using their own kickers or spotters, who are tasked with pushing the paracargo out of the aircraft? I would assume so.  In the past, this was done primarily by Air Force loadmasters (or Army loadmasters).

   If you go back to the Vietnam war, the kickers that Air America used were contractors.(mostly former smokejumpers or ex-military loadmasters) They also kicked cargo all over South East Asia and the missions were dangerous and very specialized. Personally I think this is great news, because this is the kind of work that could easily be done by non-military loadmasters.

     My small community of smokejumpers continue to specialize in these kind of operations for forest fire work, and they don’t even bother with the GPS guided stuff.  We specialized in putting the ‘low cost’ into the Low Cost, Low Altitude paracargo mission, and have been doing it that way for a very long time.

    Either way, this would be some interesting work, and if you check out the interested venders list, you will see just how big this is.  Presidential Airways and Evergreen Aviation have put in for this contract, as well as tons of other companies I have never heard of. With the surge of troops and thousands of guys spread throughout the region, aviation work will continue to be a very lucrative contract in this war. And fixed wing STOL is about as cheap as you can go for aviation transport or paracargo operations. –Matt


Pilatus Porter

An old Pilatus Porter on a remote mountain strip. (photo by Tom Claytor)

V–Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) and Low Cost and Low Altitude (LCLA) Aerial Delivery Services – Afghanistan

Solicitation Number: W52P1J-10-R-0100

Agency: Department of the Army

Office: Army Contracting Command

Location: Rock Island Contracting Center (RI-CC)

Notice Type:Solicitation

Original Posted Date: February 18, 2010

Posted Date:June 23, 2010

Response Date:July 26, 2010

Original Response Date:July 26, 2010

Archiving Policy:Automatic, on specified date

Original Archive Date:April 26, 2010

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Afghanistan: Polish and Kyrgyz Black Swan Events

   My heart goes out to Poland.  How incredibly tragic.  My heart goes out to the folks in Kyrgyzstan as well, and political upheaval is certainly a traumatic event for the people there.

   I put this in the Afghanistan category, because as we speak, there are several thousand Polish troops in Afghanistan that could possibly be called back to deal with their crisis. When the entire leadership is wiped out by an unfortunate air crash, there are just too many possibilities of what could happen. There was not much support for the war in Afghanistan, and new leadership might change direction on Poland’s involvement in the war.  I think it would be wise for today’s war planners to set in place some contingency stuff, if in fact Poland wants or even needs their troops back home.

   So that brings up the question, who would replace those troops if they had to scoot?  I brought this up a couple weeks ago in regards to NATO forces faltering and for whatever reason, having to leave the Afghan war. That contractors can be used to back fill, as NATO or ISAF finds replacement forces.

   In Kyrgyzstan, there has been some political unrest that has impacted Manas operations.  They actually halted all flights out of there today, and that is not good.  If logistics cannot depend upon the Manas air base there, then other options will have to be looked at.  The problem is though, that so much logistics goes through Manas, that there is a risk that operations will be negatively impacted in Afghanistan because of this hiccup. So will this mean that a new route or new air base will come on to the scene?  Will transportation on land increase because of what is going on, and what will that mean for private industry?

   I also called these incidents a Black Swan event, because they were not predicted, they will change the political landscape, and war planners will now have to look at contingency plans to deal with problems related to both of these countries. –Matt 


Poland’s President, Central Bank Governor Die in Plane Crash

April 10, 2010

By David McQuaid and Piotr Skolimowski

April 11 (Bloomberg) — Polish President Lech Kaczynski and central bank Governor Slawomir Skrzypek were killed yesterday along with several key members of the country’s political elite when their plane crashed in western Russia, where they were to mark the 70th anniversary of a massacre of Polish officers.

The 60-year-old president’s wife, Maria, and leaders of the country’s main opposition parties and military, including the Army Chief of Staff Franciszek Gagor, also died, Foreign Ministry spokesman Piotr Paszkowski said in a phone interview. The crash, which happened as the aircraft was on approach for landing in Smolensk, killed all 96 on board, according to Russia’s Emergency Ministry.

Under Poland’s constitution the duties of the president, which are largely ceremonial, will be assumed by the speaker of the lower house of parliament, Bronislaw Komorowski. He will set a date for a presidential election within two weeks and the vote must be held within 60 days. Komorowski is the candidate of Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform party and polls show he was poised to defeat Kaczynski in presidential elections, originally scheduled for the second half of the year.

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