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Iraq in talks for F-16 purchase

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posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 11:45 PM
The Iraqi Air Force has entered talks with the US for an initial purchase of 18 F-16s this year, with a final purchase of 96 by 2020. They are interested in the Block 50/52 airframes. If the purchase goes through this year for the initial squadron, the first Iraqi two F-16s would be patrolling the skies by 2012.

The Iraqi Air Force is also planning to buy up to 15 T-6A Texans for pilot training. There are currently 20 cadets in the US for training. These include pilots, control tower technicians, and logistics experts. The first Iraqi pilot recently graduated pilot training in the UK with the RAF, with his multi-engine rating. He'll be flying King Air and C-130 aircraft.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iraq wants to buy an initial squadron of Lockheed Martin Corp F-16 fighter aircraft this year to help guard against perceived threats from Iran and Syria after U.S. forces leave, the head of the Iraqi Air Force told Reuters on Tuesday.

Lt. Gen. Anwar Ahmed said he hoped to sign a contract for 18 advanced F-16s as the centerpiece of billions of dollars Iraq is expected to spend on arms in coming years.

"This is very important to us," he said in a telephone interview while visiting Washington. "It is a priority."

Provided funds are made available by Iraq's Parliament, he said his goal was to acquire up to 96 F-16s through 2020. He cited the F-16C/D Block 50/52 models now being produced for Poland, Israel, Greece and Pakistan.

"We need this aircraft for defense of our country," Ahmed said. He mentioned Iran as a potential threat along with Syria, which he said has been a gateway for "terrorists" aiming to destabilize the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

posted on Apr, 3 2009 @ 11:52 PM
Block 50's eh?

I wonder if the cost of the Block 60's are cost prohibative or they do not think the sale would get past congress. On the other hand they may not need the extra range etc.

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 01:46 AM
They could always get the 50/52s with CFTs if they really wanted extra range, but honestly I can't see them needing it. I suspect that they couldn't get a sale of 60s past Congress, with the special equipment on them.

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 01:47 PM
I would say give them some of the ADF models from the Boneyard first

posted on Apr, 4 2009 @ 02:01 PM
reply to post by firepilot

One of the more interesting suggestions I heard was to send fairly low time A/B models over for pilot training, and when the unit rotates home, leave their equipment behind and transition them into something new. For them to be useful though it would have to be C/Ds if they were going to do that though. The A/Bs would be getting too close to end of life, and they'd have to replace them again.

posted on Apr, 7 2009 @ 10:34 AM
I would be curious to know what percentage of Iraqi pilots have prior combat experience, or are all the pilots "new recruits". In the 1980's I witnessed firsthand some pretty impressive flying and operations pulled off by the Iraqis against the Iranians. To be honest, I was really surprised they folded so fast in the first Gulf War......

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