Iraqi Air Force [IqAF] Modernization - Transport
In 2008 the US assisted Iraq in establishing an Air Force Command by providing Iraqi pilots needed aircraft training. The U.S. Air Force has been tasked with purchasing Cessna commercial aircraft that are suitable as trainers for this project. Africair was selected as the contractor to perform engine modifications on eight new Cessna 172s. Cessna aircraft are shipped to Africair, and the standard engine is removed and replaced with a new Thielert 2.0 liter diesel rated at 135 horsepower. The aircraft is painted and new markings are added to identify it as one belonging to the Iraqi Air Force. Prompt responses by DCMA Orlando South Florida quality assurance specialists to the customer’s needs facilitated the shipments of the aircraft to the Iraqi Air Force on or ahead of the contractual delivery schedule of two aircraft from Oct. 19, 2007, through April 30, 2008.
The Iraqi Air Force received a new, technologically advanced aircraft in a ceremony 28 December 2007. The Beechcraft KingAir 350 was delivered to the Iraqi Air Force through Foreign Military Sales, a process that allows the Iraqi government to purchase military equipment and supplies from other countries, including the United States, with its own money. Additional KingAir aircraft, which are fitted with intelligence gathering sensors, would be delivered throughout the following year. Although the KingAir delivered Dec. 28 is not fitted with sensors, it would be used as a light transport for cargo and distinguished visitors and as a training aircraft for Iraqi officers who would be piloting the airplanes.
On July 5, 2011 the Government of Iraq requested a possible sale of follow-on support and maintenance of multiple aircraft systems that include TC-208s, Cessna 172s, AC-208s, T-6As, and King Air 350s. Included were ground stations, repair and return, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, logistics, and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $675 million. This proposed sale would contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country. This proposed sale directly supports the Iraq government and serves the interests of the Iraqi people and the US. The proposed sale would help the Iraqi government to maintain indigenous Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance, training, and counter insurgency/counter-terrorism capabilities. As the drawdown of coalition forces continues, the Iraqi Air Force continues to develop a force capable of assuming the lead in providing for the security of the Iraqi people. The follow-on support would ensure the operational capability of the Iraqi Air Force and would allow it to sustain itself in its efforts to establish stability in Iraq.
Squadron 23 is the largest C-130 squadron in the Iraqi air force, and its mission includes delivering troops and cargo, supporting distinguished visitors and flying medical evacuation missions. The squadron began after the United States gave three C-130E aircraft to the Iraqis through the Excess Defense Articles program. The Iraqi air force C-130 airlift mission was born with the arrival in January 2005 of those same three aircraft at Ali Air Base. This paved the way for the first aircrew members to receive flight training at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. After being assigned to Ali Air Base since 2005, the squadron moved to Al-Muthana AB, March 7, 2006.
On 30 Septemgber 2009 the Iraqi air force officially began fully independent C-130 air operations, marking the end of the US C-130 321st Air Expeditionary Advisory Group air advisory mission. A ceremony deactivating the U.S. Air Force’s 321st Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron and marking assumption of C-130 operations, maintenance and training by the Iraqi air force’s Squadron 23 formalized the milestone.
The Iraqi Air Force celebrated an important milestone when they received a third C-130J aircraft at a rollout ceremony held at Lockheed Martin's factory here Dec. 12, 2012. The ceremony is a culmination of many activities to reinforce a long-term partnership between the United States and Iraq and highlights Iraq's commitment to enhance its military transportation capabilities. The C-130J purchase agreement with the IqAF provides a total of six C-130J aircraft, support equipment and training. Three were delivered by Dec. 12 and three more will be delivered in 2013. The program's goal is for Iraq to train 18 pilots, 18 loadmasters, and a minimum of 50 maintainers over a period of three years.
On 26 November 2014, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced that the State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq for C-130E/J sustainment and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $800 million. The Government of Iraq had requested a possible sale for a five-year sustainment package for the C-130E/J fleet that includes operational, intermediate, and depot level maintenance, spare and repair parts, support equipment, repair and return, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The proposed sale of a C-130E/J sustainment package would allow the Iraq Air Force (IAF) to continue operating its C-130E/J aircraft beyond 2015. The principal contractor is Lockheed Martin.
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