Forces: The New Iraqi Air Force

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March 14, 2006: The new Iraqi air force is, for the moment, strictly a non-combat support force. They have 16 small, prop drive aircraft. Ten of them (two SB7L-360 Seekers and eight CH2000 SAMAs) are two seat reconnaissance aircraft. Six are six seat Comp Air 7SLs, which can also perform recon, but are mostly used as light transports. There are three C-130E four engine transports.

There are about 32 helicopters (24 Russian Mi-17s are arriving from Poland). The helicopter force also includes 16 UH-1H, five Bell 206 and three Sokol W3s. More of the W3s are on order as well. There are no firm plans yet for obtaining combat aircraft, although many of the helicopters are armed with machine-guns. Since many Iraqis used Russian combat aircraft, they may well buy some of those. There are a lot of bargains out there at the moment. The current aircraft and helicopter force is based, along with civilian and American air units, at Baghdad, Kirkuk, Basra and al Taji. The air force has fewer than a thousand personnel at the moment and has just established their first air base of their own.

 


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