After delays, Iraq expects US F-16s to be delivered in summer

By REUTERS
April 14, 2015 02:00

WASHINGTON - After delays caused by the war with Islamic State, Iraq hopes to take first deliveries of its F-16 fighter jets from the United States this summer, a senior Iraqi official said.

The disclosure came ahead of a visit by Iraq's Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, who was scheduled to meet with President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday.

The Iraqi official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, described the transfer as an important development for Iraq's armed forces and cited a July-August timeframe. The precise timeline for individual deliveries was unclear.

The Pentagon had no immediate comment.

Baghdad ordered 36 of the $65 million Lockheed Martin Corp planes, but initial deliveries to Balad air base north of Baghdad last year were delayed because of security concerns after Islamic State militants overran large areas of Iraq.

Iraqi pilots have been training in the United States with the 162nd Wing Arizona Air National Guard at Tucson International Airport.


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