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Welcome to Kandahar: The first MC-12W intelligence-surveillance-reconnaissance aircraft that will operate from Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, as part of the 361st Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron arrived there March 29 and flew its first combat sortie three days later. The squadron, part of Kandahar's 451st Air Expeditionary Wing, will be the second MC-12 expeditionary unit in Afghanistan, together with the 4th ERS at Bagram Airfield that began operations in December. "The MC-12 will protect US and coalition lives and will be a vital tool helping Afghanistan defeat the insurgency," said Lt. Col. Darren Halford, 361st ERS commander. MC-12s provides live streaming video imagery to ground troops as well as signals intelligence. Halford described this as "unparalleled capability" to give ground forces vital information on the enemy. The Air Force operates a third MC-12 expeditionary unit, the 362nd ERS, active since June 2009 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. (Kandahar report by Renni Thornton)