May 7, 2014 (by Mark D. Johnson) - Lockheed Martin successfully completed the first flight of the inaugural F-16 Fighting Falcon (RB-01) for the Iraq Air Force.
Lockheed Martin successfully completed the first flight of the inaugural F-16D block 52 #1601 (RB-01) for the Iraq Air Force on May 2nd, 2014. At the control is Paul 'Bear' Randall, and backseat Bill 'Gigs' Gigliotti. [Lockheed Martin photo by Liz Kaszynski]
The jet is the first of 36 F-16 block 52
aircraft on order through the U.S. Department of Defense for Iraq
The first two F-16s are slated to arrive in Iraq this September. By the fall 2017, Iraq should have received all 36 F-16s.
To date, 11 Iraqi pilots have trained to fly F-16s at Tucson
, according to the Air Force. Capt. Mohammed Hama Ameen became the first Iraqi pilot to graduate Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training for the Iraqi Air Force F-16 program in March 2012.
With more than 4,540 F-16s delivered to date, the Foreign Military Sale to Iraq adds to the F-16’s reputation as the world’s most versatile and affordable 4th generation multi-role fighter. Lockheed Martin’s F-16 production line is expected to continue through 2017, with major upgrades being incorporated for all F-16 versions.