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Iraqi Flight Training School Takes Off

Unlike the AFP article that Bob Owens found, which tries to sell pre-surge quotes as current news, this good news is the result of the surge's success: Iraq's Air Force is up and flying. From the Multi-National Force website:

Pull back and the trees get smaller; push forward and the trees get bigger. It's a simple explanation for flying that pilots give when talking about the similarities between flying different airplanes. It's also a foundation that former Iraqi pilots work from since returning to the Iraqi Air Force as flight instructors in the country's first flight school since Operation Iraqi Freedom began.

The Iraqi Flight Training School, located in Kirkuk, is training officers to fly fixed and rotary wing aircraft, producing the future pilots of the Iraqi Air Force.

"After the war, I felt sad for my Air Force," said Iraqi Air Force Col. Karim, the commander of the Iraqi Flight Training School. "I thought it would take 25 years to rebuild the Air Force. The Air Force seemed so far away."

The actual time it took to get Iraqis into the air was much less. The school opened in October and within six months the school had a commander, airplanes, instructors and students to fly them.

"We've had a phenomenal amount of progress since we've been here," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Mark Bennett, commander of the 52nd Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron. The squadron advises the Iraqi flight school and helps to train pilots.

Read the rest of it.

Hat tip: Freepers


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Comments (3)

This new version of the "Ir... (Below threshold)

This new version of the "Iraqi Air Force" actually operates under very tight offensive weapons restrictions by the U.S. compared to any previous version of the modern Iraqi Air Force. Most of the aircraft consist of light propeller driven aircraft mostly for observation or training purposes and some troop transport helicopters which really lack the heavy armed gunship potential of major U.S. military hardware.

Iraq actually has an air force since 1931, during the years of the British occupation of Iraq. In the Six-Day War of 1967, Iraq suffered heavy loses of Soviet made MIGs from a strike on a major Iraqi air base, but still had enough firepower to back up Jordanian troops during the week long war. In 1973, during the Yom Kipper war, Iraqi planes hit Israeli airbases and tanks, and were able to destroy 12 Israeli fighters in air combat.

The new Iraqi Air Force lacks any real offensive ability to stage any future attacks on states such as Israel, or the ability for the Shiite dominated government to use the new Iraqi Air Force to further civil war against the Sunni comuunity.

The U.S. is really keeping all arms by the new Iraqi military very limited in firepower potential including the small arms. This is a far cry from the superior French or Soviet aircraft of the past like the Mirage F1s or MIG29s Iraq once had.

Wah, wah wah, Paul. Must b... (Below threshold)

Wah, wah wah, Paul. Must be all that peroxide you washed up your nose. Good thing it was only the 3% variety and not from a Russian Spa...

Baby steps. I don't think the German or Japanese Air Forces got as quick a start out of the Gate. Kirkuk is a major Air Base. And the Iraqis are indeed lucky we are encouraging any air training at this time. Their pilots are traditionally of Sunni - I'd expect the Kurds and Shiites would be a little skittish considering the actions the the Sunni IAF enjoined, including WMD use against them in the not so recent past you managed to skip in your mini history.

Epador, I thought we always... (Below threshold)

Epador, I thought we always had a respectful tone towards each other in the past. But I'm guess that I'm wrong based on your comments above.

Examine my comments. I had nothing critical to say about the new version of the Iraqi Air Force, only that the U.S. has limited it's role to prevent any future offensive threat to Israel based on the past history in 1967 and 1973 or the possible use of the new Air Force to further sectarian conflict. And remember that during the British occupation from 1922 to 1958, aircraft in Iraq were used to mustard gas entire Shiite villages by the British and Sunni allies.

Just like postwar Japan and Germany, the U.S. has taken steps to prevent a new offensive threat by Iraq's new Air Force in the future. Tell me what's wrong with that factual statement?

It's deeply sad if partisanship has so creeped into this year that persons with somewhat differing viewpoints cannot make statements of fact without personal attacks. I have a keen interest in military history and only offered some insights into the history of the Iraqi Air Force. That was it. I didn't see any political views expressed in that myself. Why did you?






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