May 9, 2019 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The last 9 of 36 F-16IQ block 52 aircraft arrived in Iraq on May 3. Having ordered its F-16IQs in two batches of 18 aircraft during 2011 and 2012, the Iraqi Air Force received its first one in late 2014.
IqAF F-16C block 52 #1624 is taking off on another training sortie armed with AIM-9 missiles and BDU-33 dispensers. [IqAF photo]
However, because of the critical security situation in the country at that time, Iraqi pilots and maintainers trained on their new aircraft alongside the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing at Tucson, Arizona.
The Iraqi Air Force (IQAF
) procured 24 single-seat Block 50/52 F-16Cs and 12 twin-seat Block 50/52 F-16Ds, although two aircraft have been lost in training accidents in the United States and have not yet been replaced.
According to US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA
) notifications of the F-16 sale, the aircraft are equipped with Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems; conformal fuel tanks; Pratt & Whitney F100PW-229 or General Electric F110-GE
-129 increased-performance engines; AN/APG-68(V)9 radar sets; AN/AAQ-33 Sniper or AN/AAQ-28 Litening targeting pods; F-9120 Advanced Airborne Reconnaissance Systems (AARS) or DB-110 reconnaissance pods; AN/ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites or Advanced Countermeasures Electronic Systems (ACES); and AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing systems.
Weapons Systems listed by the DSCA comprise M61
20 mm Vulcan cannons, as well as 40,000 rounds of ammunition; AIM-9L/M-8/9 Sidewinder
air-to-air missiles; AIM-7M-F1/H Sparrow medium-range missiles; AGM-65D/G/H/K Maverick
air-to-surface missiles; 500 lb (226.8 kg) GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs; 2,000 lb GBU-10 Paveway II laser-guided bombs; 2,000 lb GBU-24 Paveway III laser-guided bombs; and Mk 84 2,000 lb and Mk 82 500 lb general-purpose bombs.
The F-16IQ's first reported combat mission came in April 2018, when they struck ISIS targets inside Syria killing an unknown number of militants. The air strike took place near the Iraqi border and was likely done to prevent ISIS forces from crossing into Iraq
to conduct further attacks.