UPDATED 15 FEBRUARY 2015 | Iraqi piloted Sukhoi Su-25s (“Frogfoot”) have seen combat against ISIS positions for the first time in the north of the country this month, local media in Iraq report.
The close-air support and ground attack jets have reportedly hit targets near Tikrit, a strategically located city which saw much fighting over the last decade.
During Summer Iraq received at least a dozen Su-25s, with 15 “Frogfoots” reportedly operational by February 2015. First five were flown in directly from Russia on Antonov An-124-100 Ruslan strategic airlifters, then Iran returned three Su-25UBK and four Su-25K jets to Iraq. Those “Iranian” jets fled Iraq when Operation Desert Storm was launched: a US led coalition attack in January 1991 to push Iraqi forces out of Kuwait, the neigbouring state the Iraqi military occupied several months earlier.
See the video footage of Iran returing Su-25s to Iraq in July 2014:
The Iraqi Air Force is working hard to train its pilots to operate the Su-25s. When the Iranian jets arrived in Summer, 10 Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) pilots stayed. Some of them might actually have bombed ISIS targets to as Iran itself is every now and then involved in bombing missions against ISIS.
Meanwhile the first Iraqi pilots started training on the American-made F-16 in the Arizona desert, but it is still highly uncertain if the 18 of these Lockheed Martin jets will ever make it across the pond to Balad Airbase.
© 2014 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger