The Defense Department will deliver the Iraqi air force’s first batch of new-build F-16s to
Tucson, Ariz., where Iraqi pilots will train in them, according to a release. The jets were originally slated for delivery to Balad Air Base in
Iraq, but those plans changed due to the security situation in Iraq, with ISIS
terrorist forces threatening Balad, forcing contractors who were part of the
planned transfer process to
evacuate the installation, states the Nov. 10 release. Iraqi pilots are already
in a training pipeline at Tucson International Airport. Defense Department
Spokesman Army Col. Steven Warren said the first three Iraqi F-16s are slated
to arrive in Tucson in December. After that, one aircraft is scheduled to
arrive per month through May 2015, for a total of eight, he said. “We expect
the Iraqi pilots will begin flying their own aircraft for continuation training
beginning in January,” said Warren. “All maintenance for the F-16s will be
provided by [contractor] logistic support,” he said.
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