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Iraq receives final F-16s

Iraq has received all of Lockheed Martin’s F-16IQ Fighting Falcon combat aircraft, with the last of 36 aircraft delivered to Balad Airbase on 3 May.

Iraq now fields 34 F-16s, with deliveries having been completed on 3 May. (Lockheed Martin)

Iraq now fields 34 F-16s, with deliveries having been completed on 3 May. (Lockheed Martin)

The Iraqi Air Force (IqAF) procured 24 single-seat Block 50/52 F-16Cs and 12 twin-seat Block 50/52 F-16Ds, although two aircraft have been lost in training accidents in the United States and have not yet been replaced.

Having ordered its F-16IQs in two batches of 18 aircraft during 2011 and 2012, the IqAF received its first one in late 2014. However, because of the critical security situation in the country at that time, Iraqi pilots and maintainers trained on their new aircraft alongside the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing at Tucson, Arizona.

According to US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notifications of the F-16 sale, the aircraft are equipped with Joint Helmet-Mounted Cueing Systems; conformal fuel tanks; Pratt & Whitney F100PW-229 or General Electric F110-GE-129 increased-performance engines; AN/APG-68(V)9 radar sets; AN/AAQ-33 Sniper or AN/AAQ-28 Litening targeting pods; F-9120 Advanced Airborne Reconnaissance Systems (AARS) or DB-110 reconnaissance pods; AN/ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites or Advanced Countermeasures Electronic Systems (ACES); and AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing systems.

Weapon systems listed by the DSCA comprise M61 20 mm Vulcan cannons, as well as 40,000 rounds of ammunition; AIM-9L/M-8/9 Sidewinder air-to-air missiles; AIM-7M-F1/H Sparrow medium-range missiles; AGM-65D/G/H/K Maverick air-to-surface missiles; 500 lb (226.8 kg) GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bombs; 2,000 lb GBU-10 Paveway II laser-guided bombs; 2,000 lb GBU-24 Paveway III laser-guided bombs; and Mk 84 2,000 lb and Mk 82 500 lb general-purpose bombs.

The F-16IQ’s first reported combat mission came in April 2018, with a raid being flown against Islamic State targets in Syria.

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