One of the first two Iraqi Air Force F-16Ds at Tuscon International Airport on 16 December 2014 (Image © Jordan Castelan / USAF)

Iraqi F-16 unit one step closer to reality

Although many policy makers and political watchers doubt that the Iraqi Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon will ever fly in the skies in its destined homeland, the first pair of two-seat F-16Ds landed at Tucson International Airport in Arizona to start flight training on 16 December 2014.

The Iraqi government purchased 36 of the Lockheed Martin jets to rebuild its air force with. But as an official US Air Force press release states: “The security situation in Iraq made delivering the aircraft impractical. The decision was made to instead deliver a portion of the jets to Tucson, Arizona and continue the Iraqi Air Force pilots’ training there.” Explained more clear: Washington is afraid that the modern jets fall in the hands of the so-called Islamic State forces that it is currently combating in Iraq, given the in unstable Iraqi political and military situation.

In Tuscon the Arizona’s Air National Guard 162nd Wing now trains Iraqi student-pilots. Fighter jocks of the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore and Japan already know the place well.

The two jets delivered were the first of eight that will be flown to the Arizona airbase to allow Iraqi pilots to fly and train in their own aircraft. Six more F-16s are scheduled to be delivered over the next five months.

© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger, including source information provided by the US Air Force

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One of the first two Iraqi Air Force F-16Ds at Tuscon International Airport on 16 December 2014 (Image © Jordan Castelan / USAF)
One of the first two Iraqi Air Force F-16Ds at Tuscon International Airport on 16 December 2014 (Image © Jordan Castelan / USAF)