Nov 11, 2014

Iraqi F-16s to remain in the US until security situation improves

The initial batch of Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft for the Iraqi Air Force will remain in the United States until the security situation in Iraq improves, the US Department of Defense disclosed on 10 November.
The first three of an initial batch of eight F-16s will be transferred from the Fort Worth production facility in Texas to an Air National Guard facility in Tucson, Arizona, in December. After that, one aircraft per month will be delivered to Tucson through to May.
Iraqi pilots will begin flying their own aircraft for continuation training beginning in January.
The IqAF currently has pilots in Tucson undergoing training on US Air Force (USAF) training aircraft. According to the DoD, these pilots will transfer over to their own F-16s once they have been delivered. IqAF maintenance is to be provided by contractor support.
Iraq has ordered 36 F-16C/D Block 52 aircraft in all, the first of which were due to be delivered to Balad Airbase earlier this year. However, the deteriorating security situation on the ground meant that the DoD had to evacuate its contractors at the base, and postpone handing over the jets.

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