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Iraqi Air Force Takes Off in Building for Future
American Forces Press Service ^ | Donna Miles

Posted on 09/06/2006 6:05:18 PM PDT by SandRat

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6, 2006 – As the Iraqi army gains in numbers and capability, so too does the country’s air force, which aims to grow to 2,500 airmen by the year’s end, the commander of the Coalition Air Force Transition Team said.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Stephen L. Hoog cited impressive improvement over the past six months, noting that the Iraqi air force continues to grow and improve its ability support the counterinsurgency mission.

The Iraqi air force’s counterinsurgency mission consists primarily of aerial observation and surveillance and air transportation. Officials believe it is critical for Iraq’s long-term ability to police its international borders, protect its oil pipeline network and rapidly deploy its developing army.

“They’re making progress with leaps and bounds,” Hoog said during a roundtable with Pentagon reporters Sept. 1.

“The bottom line is, we are making progress every day in helping the Iraqis enter the COIN (counterinsurgency) fight now and lay the proper foundation for the Iraqi air force for the next five to 10 years,” he said.

Iraq’s C-130 Hercules program is the country’s most advanced program. Its three C-130s have moved 6,000 Iraqi and coalition troops and more than 460 tons of cargo since March, he said.

During the same timeframe, Iraq’s Seeker SB7L-360 light surveillance aircraft and CH-2000 military tactical surveillance aircraft have flown more than 200 intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance missions.

U.S. advisors with the Coalition Air Force Transition Team are assigned to Iraqi air force units to steer this effort forward, Hoog said. With members spread over sites around Iraq, this team serves as the coalition’s liaison with and advisors to the Iraqi air force.

“We are working together as one team,” Iraqi Maj. Gen. Jamal Barzanjy, the Iraqi air force’s chief of staff, said earlier this year. “Of course we still need support from our allies, but we are going.”

One big step forward is the relocation of the Iraqi air force headquarters to the same installation as the Iraqi army headquarters. This move will improve joint operations and coordination, Hoog said.

More growth is on the way, with the first of 16 UH-1H Iroquois aircraft to join the Iraqi air force fleet by January. The UH-1s are being upgraded in the United States to the more powerful “Huey II” configuration and “will provide a much-needed medium lift capability, as well as a CASEVAC (casualty evacuation) capability as well,” Hoog said.

Ten Mi-17 Hip helicopters also are slated to join the fleet, and Iraqi pilots are continuing their training.

Another upcoming initiative is the introduction this spring of “pipeline training,” to focus on skills ranging from basic piloting to air traffic control and aircraft maintenance. “They are building on the great training foundation already laid by the CMAT (Coalition Military Assistance Team) in their operations throughout Iraq,” Hoog said.

“This rebuilding effort will continue to increase at an accelerated pace as the Iraqi air force seeks to grow to almost 2,500 people by the end of ’07,” he said.

Barzanjy expressed optimism over progress made but acknowledged the work still ahead. “We are starting over,” he said in Baghdad earlier this year. “America has given us a lot of help, and we have already accomplished many things, but we need to keep growing.”

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: air; building; force; future; iraq; iraqi; iraqiairforce; off; oif; takes

1 posted on 09/06/2006 6:05:19 PM PDT by SandRat
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To: 91B; HiJinx; Spiff; MJY1288; xzins; Calpernia; clintonh8r; TEXOKIE; windchime; Grampa Dave; ...

A New Capable Iraqi Air Force is Born!

2 posted on 09/06/2006 6:05:58 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country. What else needs to be said?)
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To: SandRat

Better than the old one!

3 posted on 09/06/2006 6:09:21 PM PDT by msnimje (What part of-- "DEATH TO AMERICA" --do the Democrats not understand?)
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To: msnimje

Hehehehe. Wondering what has happened to the Migs. Never know they may wind up in the Iraqi Air Force.

4 posted on 09/06/2006 7:16:16 PM PDT by Parley Baer
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To: SandRat
Instead of kit planes, we could 'sell' them a real observation aircraft - the 0-2 (Cessna 337) Easy to fly, fix and maintain, right now parts are available as is training. It is a standard platform and can carry all the milcom gear needed.

The aircraft from which the O-2 sprang was originally designated the Cessna Model 336 Skymaster and was built for civilian use. The 336 had the distinctive push-pull engine layout of the O-2 and fixed landing gear. It was cheap, easy to fly, and the problem of flying a two-engine aircraft on just one engine was made easier, since asymmetrical thrust was non-existent. Early in 1965, the Model 337 entered production with retractable landing gear. After being equipped with four underwing hard-points, extra windows for the observer, and a military radio system, the Model 337 became the Cessna O-2A. A special psychological warfare version, the O-2B, was produced in limited numbers. It used three powerful directional speakers to broadcast messages, and also performed propaganda leaflet drops. The O-2 was retired from USAF service in the 1980s, but a militarized 337, marketed as the Sentry, has been supplied by the CIA to forces in Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Senegal.

During its production run, 544 O-2s were built, and some continue to serve with forestry departments across the United States. Quite a few others are flown as warbirds, including at least one in Australia
5 posted on 09/06/2006 9:41:40 PM PDT by ASOC (The phrase "What if" or "If only" are for children.)
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Yes...but...the MixMaster is one UGLY bird...

6 posted on 09/06/2006 9:47:58 PM PDT by patton (Sanctimony frequently reaps its own reward.)
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To: patton

Fast enough to get by, range enough to be useful, easy to fly (I NEVER pranged one) and easy to maintain.

The OV-10 on the other hand.....well, you would have to pay attention to fly that one, 'eh?

What they *are flying now are kit planes, each one unique in its own way, while accptable on a B-1B for example, no so good for a low tech work force.


7 posted on 09/06/2006 10:26:36 PM PDT by ASOC (The phrase "What if" or "If only" are for children.)
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