Iraq will not take delivery of 36 F-16 fighter aircraft after the United States expressed security concerns surrounding the delivery of the aircraft.
Instead, the Pentagon will send them to Tucson, Arizona where the Iraqi pilots are training.
“We had talked earlier in the summer about F-16s that the Iraqis had purchased,” Defense Department spokesman Col. Steven Warren said in a press conference Monday. “The security situation still does not allow that, so the initial group of F-16s we are now going to deliver to Tucson, Arizona, where there are Iraqi pilots currently in the training pipeline.”
Warren said that three fighter jets would be delivered to Arizona in December followed by one jet each month until all the eight planes are delivered.
“We expect the Iraqi pilots will begin flying their own aircraft for continuation training beginning in January,” Warren said. “All maintenance for the F-16s will be provided by [contracted] logistic support.”
The fighter jets were slated to arrive at Balad Air Base by the end of this year, but the Islamic State's control of Sunni areas in central Iraq have put the air base at great risk.
“Instead of training using U.S. training aircraft the Iraqi pilots will now use their own aircraft in Tucson,” said Warren.
The Iraqi government had signed the deal as part of a $12 billion arms deal aimed at strengthening the Iraqi military’s defense capabilities.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has approved sale worth $600 million worth M1A1 Abrams tank ammunition, equipment, parts and logical support to Iraq, the agency reported Monday. “This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner,” the DSCA Monday report read
The American defense manufacturing companies appear to be benefitting from US led air-strikes in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State. Bloomberg in September just before airstrikes in Syria reported defense firms Lockheed Martin, Northrop, Raytheon and General Dynamics Corporation are all set to trade at record prices
Lockheed Martin has won a $700 million Hellfire missiles contract for Iraq, the defense Security Cooperation agency reported. The contract involves sale of 5000 AGM-114/N/R Hellfire missiles and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support
The Iraq Air Force reportedly received over a dozen of Sukhoi Su-25 ground attack aircrafts from Russia to reinforce its forces in their battle against militant offensive. In a video released on Wednesday by the defense ministry, three Sukhois shown landing are likely from Iran, media reports reported
Lockheed Martin delivered the first of 36 F-16 Block 52 aircraft to the Iraqi Air Force on Thursday at its Fort Worth facility, according to an official statement. The F-16s are being built in a configuration tailored to meet the specific requirements of the Iraqi Air Force, and the contract includes mission equipment and a support package provided by Lockheed Martin and other U
Airstrikes carried out by the US on ISIS positions using the A-10 Warthog aircraft killed and wounded a number of terrorists near the village of Sultan Abdullah near Moshul in Iraq at dawn yesterday, Iraqi News reported. Quoting an unnamed source who witnessed the action, the report said that the aircraft carried out four airstrikes sparking panic in the ranks of ISIS after flying close to the ground
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