The Iraqi Air Force

by Dave Schuler on June 15, 2014

Somebody please refresh my memory on this. My recollection is that Iraq’s air force is in a pretty primitive state because that’s what we would allow them. I have a vague recollection of their chafing because we wouldn’t let them get jets, just a few helicopters.

It takes a while to create an air force from scratch. Even after we’d withdrawn there’s infrastructure to build, orders to place, and people to train, none of which can be done instantaneously.

But I’m fuzzy on this. Does anybody have better information?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

steve June 15, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Last thing I remember is the Iraq Air Force heading off to Iran.


jan June 15, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Some of the statements I’ve read simply say they are in a state of “rebuilding.”

I know, though, the U.S. has given their government billions in equipment. How much of that was invested in their Air force, I don’t know. However, an air force base near Baghdad was being evacuated of all of it’s personal, so if the ISIS take control than I suppose they will also take the air craft as well. Consensus has been, that even though this country has supplied Iraq with armaments and more sophisticated equipment, there were few people left, after 2011, to show the Iraqi military how to use them! And, now the ISIS group is picking up discarded weapons etc. along the way, on the their march towards Baghdad.

In an off-topic moment, I would like to acknowledge the efforts of all fathers, and male mentors to children. It’s an important mission in life — one that doesn’t receive the kudos it deserves.

Andy June 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm
Dave Schuler June 15, 2014 at 5:17 pm

You’ll notice that the article echoes what I’ve suggested at least a little, i.e. they don’t have the aircraft and even if they did they aren’t trained to use them.

It might bear mentioning that most of the trained Iraqi jet pilots are Sunni Arabs and possibly too old to fly any more anyway.

... June 15, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Anyone else thinking that delivering the F-16s might be a bad idea now?

Dave Schuler June 15, 2014 at 6:37 pm

You have to wonder to whom they think they are being delivered.

Guarneri June 15, 2014 at 7:17 pm
Ben Wolf June 16, 2014 at 6:20 am

Iraq had no air force remaining after the 2003 invasion. We allowed them to purchase a few dozen ancient Mi-17 helicopters and they received a couple of very old Mig-23s from Serbia as I recall. This U.S. press release from 2008 indicates to me that pilots were being trained from scratch:

The Iraqi air force reached 2,000 flying training hours here July 13, with the help of the 52nd Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron.

Note that 2,000 hours flight time for an air force is well below what would typically be logged by a single experienced pilot. I doubt very seriously it has gotten much better in the last six years.

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