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Al Quwwa al Jawwiya al Iraqiya (Iraqi Air Force [IqAF])

Iraqi Air Force
Squadron Base Aircraft
3rd Squadron Kirkuk Ce208B-ISR AC-208
23rd Squadron Ali Base C-130E
70th Squadron Ali Base CH2000 / SB7L-360
87th Squadron Baghdad IAP Beech 350ER/ISR
201st Squadron Tikrit AB Ce172S
202nd Squadron Tikrit AB LASTA 95
203rd Squadron Tikrit AB T-6A
204th Squadron Tikrit AB L-159?
Squadron
Squadron
Squadron Baghdad IAP An-32B
Squadron Q-West F-16IQ
Squadron Q-West F-16IQ
Squadron Q-West F-16IQ
Squadron Q-West F-16IQ
Squadron Q-West F-16IQ
Squadron Q-West F-16IQ

Without significant air support, in June 2014 Iraqi forces were on an equal footing with ISIS jihadi combatants. The Iraqi Ministry of Defense said 12 June 2014 that the Iraqi air force had launched 21 air strikes against groupings and camps of the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) in Ninawa and Salaheddine provinces, killing at least 100 elements.

The Iraqi military released footage every few days showing air strikes against militant targets. After mid-June, these were probably AT-2C or AT-6C Spiral ATGMs fired from Iraqi Army Air Corps Mi-24/Mi-35 Hind attack helicopters. The armys Mi-24 attack helicopters had been used in operations earlier in 2014. In December 2013, Russia began to deliver Mi-35 attack and transport helicopters to the Iraqi Army Air Corps.

ABC News reported 21 June 2014 that the Iraqi military ran out of Hellfire missiles on 15 June 2014, and had only two modified AC-208B Grand Caravans Cessna aircraft to launch them. After only a two-week battle with ISIS, the Iraqi forces had run out of the 100 Hellfire missiles the US delivered in May 2014. The original purchase included delivery of 75 Hellfire missiles in mid-December 2013, with another 100 to be ready for delivery by spring.

Iraq took delivery of the first of 36 F-16 fighter jets being built in west Fort Worth on 06 June 2014. The first two F-16s were expected to be flown to Iraq in September 2014.

On 24 June 2014 Iraqi defense sources reported that Iran had returned some of the 130 Iraqi combat aircraft that were flown to Iran during the 1991 Gulf War to protect them from US and coalition airstrikes. After more than two decades, it is unlikely that the aircraft were airworthy, and doubutful whether Iraq had the ability to maintain and arm the aircraft, and equally doubtful that Iraq had the pilots for these particular aircraft.

The Iraqi Air Force's roles include the policing of international borders and surveillance of national assets. Air capability will also allow Iraq to rapidly deploy its developing Army. The Iraqi Air Force (IQAF) is the military branch in Iraq responsible for the policing of international borders, surveillance of national assets and aerial operations. The IQAF also acts as a support force for the Iraqi Navy and the Iraqi Army and it also allows Iraq to rapidly deploy its developing Army. The two training institutions in the IqAF are the Flight Training School in Kirkuk and the IqAF Training Wing at Taji. The IqAF Training Wing at Taji Air Base is responsible for four schools (Basic Military Training school, Basic Technical Training school, Air Force Academy and the Air Force Officer Course at the Iraq Military Academy al Rustamiyah), all of which were stood-up in 2007. Flight training takes place at the Flight Training School in Kirkuk.

December 31, 2011 marked the official completion of U.S. led operations in Iraq. The airmen of the Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission (Air) have spent the last few years preparing the Iraqi Army and Air Force to take over the mission following American troop withdrawal. Many questions still loom regarding how and if that nation could operate its own air force. For example (and almost unbelievably), despite its position as one of the worlds largest oil-producing countries and despite years of US advising, observers such as Andy Hamann believed that many questions about military priorities remained unanswered: Will the IqAF be able to refuel its own aircraft? Can the Iraqi military offer adequate force protection and security for its bases? Can the IqAF provide airfield management services at its bases as they return to Iraqi control after eight years under US direction? Can the IqAF ensure simple power generation to keep facilities operating? Will the IqAF be able to develop and retain its airmen? Answers to these questions must come from the government of Iraq and the IqAF, but continued advice and training from the USAF could have benefited Iraq in arriving at those solutions.

There was heavy fighting on January 02, 2014 between Iraqi forces and al-Qaida-linked militants who had seized control of parts of two major cities. The government used fighter jets and rockets against militants in Falluja and Ramadi. Casualty numbers are unclear. Combatants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant stormed parts of Fallujah and Ramadi on Wednesday, barging into police stations, taking over military posts, and freeing prisoners. The pro-Sunni extremists were taking advantage of the ongoing violence and tension between Iraq's Shi'ite-led government and the Sunni minority.

Iraqi Air ForceThe CPA initially envisioned an Iraqi Air Force with only surveillance and reconnaissance, and a light transport capability. MNSTC-I also chose not to equip the Iraqi Air Force with fixed-wing jet fighters or attack (bomber) aircraft. In fact, it considered the assets unnecessary and incapable of influencing the counterinsurgency fight. Throughout 2005 and 2006, the Coalition Air Force Transition Team (CAF-TT) focused on establishing capabilities in two areas: intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and in fixed-wing transport.

The Iraqi Air Force squadrons tended to be atypically small. U.S. Air Force C-130 squadrons, for example, are equipped with between 12 and 16 aircraft. Iraqs fixed-wing transport squadron operated what a DOD report describes as three 1960s vintage C-130E aircraft. In its June 2007 9010 Report to Congress, the Department noted that the MOD has requested an additional three Excess Defense Article C-130s from the [U.S. Government] to bring the squadron size to a more optimal level [6 aircraft]. Each of the two ISR squadrons was equipped with four to six light tactical observation aircraft. Additionally, by 2006 the Iraqis were training and equipping three light utility helicopter squadrons with the missions of light transport and casualty evacuation.

On September 7, 2006, operational control of the Iraqi Air Force was officially transferred to the Iraqi government. The first aircraft to enter service with the newly formed Iraqi Air Force, were two Seeker SB7L-360 light surveillance aircraft which were handed over in July 2004. The new Iraqi Air Force was to be an integral part of Coalition efforts, with its activities built into Coalition air plans and working closely with ground, maritime and air units to accomplish its mission. The Iraqi Air Force's roles was to include the policing of international borders and surveillance of national assets. Air capability would allow Iraq to rapidly deploy its developing Army, and with over 3,500 miles of border, aviation is the only practical method of surveillance.

Iraq's air force, slowly taking shape after years of war, was too weak to take control of the skies and defend the country until at least 2020. Staff Lieutenant General Anwar Ahmed told Reuters on 06 October 2010 that the fighting strength of his force was too low to take over aerial control any time soon. "As for the Iraqi air force in its current state, it is not prepared to deter any foreign attack ... "In the modern military sense, the Iraqi air force cannot be completed ... before 2020, and until then we would not be able to say that the air force is ready to defend the skies." The defence ministry's 2008-2020 air force revival plan was hit by a drop in oil prices as well as the global financial crisis.

The new Iraqi Air Force flew a record number of aircraft during the annual Iraqi Army Day Parade at the International Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, 06 January 2011. Iraqi crews piloted 20 aircraft in 12 fly-overs and aerial demonstrations over a parade field filled with government officials from allied nation and Iraqi government leaders, including Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki and Pilot Lt. Gen. Ahmed Anwar, Iraqi Air Force commander. For the Iraqi Army Day parade, rated and qualified Iraqi pilots flew three CH-2000s, three Cessna-172s and two 208s, a Serbian Lasta 95, two AC-208, two King Air 350s, a C-130E and seven T-6A Texan IIs.

Iraqi Air ForceThe Iraq Training and Advisory Mission (ITAM) organization had included hundreds of USAF Airmen serving in advisory roles, charged with training and assisting the IqAF at its bases throughout Iraq. The advisory efforts emphasized transforming the IqAF into a credible twenty-first-century air force by strengthening it in several traditional roles, such as command and control; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; airlift; ground attack; combat support; and the development of airmen. USAF advisers advocated formulation of long-term strategic visions, all the while building strong relationships between our airmen. At present the IqAF operates a small fleet of transport, reconnaissance, close air support, and training aircraft. As it continues to rebuild, the IqAF made a priority of investing in air defense capabilities and adding light attack aircraft.

The Iraqi Air Forces (IqAFs) December 2011 goal was the development of a capability to support ISF COIN operations and to have an initial air sovereignty capability in place. The IqAF was on the path to achieving MEC by the end of 2011 in all mission categories except airspace control and fixed-wing airlift. USF-I assessed as of mid-2010 that the IqAF will achieve MEC in C2, ISR, rotary-wing airlift, ground attack, combat support, and personnel development by December 2011.

Airspace control is a subset of air sovereignty that has been identified by USFI as sufficient for IqAF MEC. Airspace control includes the ability to surveil the airspace, warn of an incursion, and the ability to respond. Due to delivery timelines of an appropriate platform, the IqAF will likely lack an ability to respond with force to airspace violations, and will lack sufficient fixed-wing airlift. With continued support from U.S. Air Force advisors and adequate resourcing from the GoI, improvements in accessions, airlift, flying and technical training, air staff effectiveness, ground attack, combat support, and C2 should demonstrably contribute to internal security while setting the stage for future growth to a full military capacity. In order to help the IqAF achieve this goal and to build an enduring strategic relationship, Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission-Air Force (ITAM-AF) remained engaged across Iraq.

The IqAF was on the path by mid-2010 to achieving Minimum Essential Capability (MEC) by the end of 2011 in all mission categories, except airspace control (the key to air sovereignty) and fixed-wing airlift. With continued support from U.S. advisors and adequate resourcing from the GoI, improvements in accessions, airlift, flying and technical training, air staff effectiveness, ground attack, combat support, and C2 should demonstrably contribute to internal security while setting the stage for future growth to a full military capacity. In order to help the IqAF achieve this goal and to build an enduring strategic relationship, ITAMAF remains engaged across Iraq.

ITAM-AF was working in 2010 to take advantage of partnering opportunities between operational U.S. forces and IqAF counterparts, such as the IAOC MiTT, to accelerate the capabilities development of the IqAF. In some cases, such as the King Air ISR squadron, IqAF progress would meet MEC, allowing the withdrawal of some ITAM-AF advisory forces prior to the end of the U.S.-Iraq Security Agreement (SA). However, the IqAF was expected to lack the independent capability for airspace control and fixed-wing airlift by December 31, 2011.




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