August 8, 2016 (by Asif Shamim) - Iraq's Ministry of Defence announced it had received a further four F-16 block 52 aircraft from the US. The jets are part of a $2 billion sale of 36 such warplanes.
IqAF F-16C block 52 #1617 is spotted during a test flight from NAS Fort Worth in 2015. [IraqiDude photo]
The US has so far delivered 10 aircraft
in three phases since 2014. One F-16 was lost on Jun 25th, 2015
during a training accident near Tucson, which means only 35 jets will be delivered..
Iraqi officials have said the single engine, all-weather military aircraft will enhance the air force's capability to target ISIS inside Mosul when further operations begin.
"The new aircraft will have a substantial impact on the advancing ground troops especially when the Mosul offensive starts," said Nasir Nouri a spokesperson from the ministry on Sunday.
The US temporarily postponed delivery of the F-16s in 2014 after ISIS takeover of army installations in Nineveh province. The aircraft were redirected to 162 FW where Iraqi pilots were being trained to fly the advanced aircraft.
A total of 26 pilots are expected to qualify to fly the jets, with 16 having been or in the process of being trained so far. US Air Force
officials have said the Iraqis are being trained by the Air National Guard Unit at Tucson International Airport.
"The Iraqis have put those to good use," Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesman for the U.S.-led military campaign against Islamic State told Reuters in February. "We look forward to this additional capability along with the additional trained pilots."