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Iraqi Air Force [IqAF] Personnel

In February 2010, the IqAF increased its MTOE from 5,217 to 10,287 authorized personnel. Due to this increase in authorizations and due to under-resourcing from the GoI and MoD, the IqAF was undermanned with 5,005 of the authorized 10,287 personnel positions filled for a 49% manning rate. The capacity of the IqAF schools, including pilot production, is sufficient, but lack of accessions will prevent the IqAF from meetings its goals without external assistance or contractor support. The trend of under-resourcing the IqAF may lead to a gap in desired organic capacity in December 2011.

The newly formed Iraqi Air Force grew rapidly since its inception in 2004. As of August 2004 the Iraqi air force consisted of some 162 servicemen and was slated to reach its initial goal of 502 trained personnel by December 2004. As of February 2005 a total of 14 Iraqi pilots were fully trained and are awaiting additional flight instruction from their U.S. advisory support team (AST) pilots. Flight training would continue for the next several months until all 48 Iraqi pilots were certified. In the meantime, maintenance training commenced for the engineers and ground crews. As of July 2005, the Air Force had about 400 personnel with CMATT plans to increase that number to 1500 by 2006.

The IqAF, with assistance from ITAM-AF, trained personnel in ten functional areas covering 45 career fields with a total of 368 officer and enlisted specialties. New syllabi are expanding training in operations, maintenance, supply, and infrastructure. A total of 361 officer trainees graduated from the Iraqi Military Academy at Rustimayah (IMAR) in 2009. An additional 246 officer cadet graduates (combined between IMAR and the Iraqi Military Academy at Zahko) are scheduled to attend English Language Training and the Air Force Officers course throughout 2010. These numbers demonstrate that the IqAF made great progress in 2009, and has plans in place for 2010, towards establishing a self-sustaining force generation capability. In 2010, Tikrit became the home of IqAF Officer and Pilot training. The IMAR moved from Rustamiyah to Tikrit, and Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) moved from Kirkuk to Tikrit.

The IqAF had 207 qualified pilots (fixed and rotary-wing) in early 2010 with another 99 in the training pipeline, including 20 out of country pilots. The out of country pilots were located in the U.S., UK, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, and Serbia. There was one student enrolled in the U.S. Aviation Leadership Program with an expected June 2010 graduation date. A total of 39 IqAF pilots graduated in 2009, and 17 more graduated on February 1, 2010. The first rotary-wing instructor pilot course began in 2010. The first IqAF T-6 instructor pilot class begins in Tikrit in March 2010.

The IqAF struggled to make doctrinal progress in developing air-to-ground Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures for the AC-208 equipped with the Hellfire. In order to achieve a credible foundational air-to-ground capability, ITAM-AF continued to advise the IqAF on an air-to-ground training plan. This was critical to establishing operational capability with Hellfire missiles and with the DAGR. The MoD and IqAF were also struggling to develop doctrine for C2 processes and procedures. The Minister of Defense took control of all significant IqAF staff programming decisions. He also exerted influence on the daily flying schedule. ITAMAF was working with IqAF/A3 on developing a new Air Order Directive to allow mission critical tasking decisions at the IqAF staff level.

The lack of accessions in 2009 influenced the IqAFs ability to establish an enduring air force by December 2011. However, a strong push towards the end of 2009 indicated a commitment by the GoI and MoD to prioritize the accessions process. The GoI and MoD must continue to show a genuine commitment to access additional IqAF personnel, or it was unlikely that the IqAF will meet critical personnel strength targets in line with the services plan. Of particular interest was the shortage of personnel necessary to provide airspace control. By early 2010 the IqAF did not have any International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) licensed controllers against a MEC requirement of 64 located at four bases. The first two controllers were scheduled to be licensed by the end of April 2010. The ICAA had nine licensed radar controllers, 13 radar controllers working traffic in an on-the-job training supervised by the Washington Consultant Group, and 28 students in a classroom phase of training.

A severe shortage of mid-career officers continued to be of special interest. Over 50% of pilots and 30% of ground officers will reach retirement age before 2020, and those remaining lack flying experience. These numbers point to a projected shortage of senior IqAF leaders in ten years. In 2009, the MoD indicated an intention to transfer 1,600 personnel from the IA to the IqAF. Of the 1,600 former Iraqi military members evaluated, 1,140 enlisted and 177 officers were transferred to active duty in the IqAF. Finally, the IqAF must identify midcareer officers with potential to serve in the highest ranks and guide them through rigorous professional military development.

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Page last modified: 10-01-2012 19:20:51 ZULU