Air Force

September 6, 2012

Iraqi Air Force F-16 training takes off in Arizona

Tags:
Maj. Gabe Johnson
162nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
(U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Gabe Johnson)
Col. Andrew MacDonald, 162nd Operations Group commander, shows Iraqi Air Force Brig. Gen. Abdulhussein Lafta Ali Ali how to pre-flight an F-16D Fighting Falcon before an orientation flight at Tucson International Airport Aug. 30. Abdulhussein, with a delegation of senior Iraqi officers, visited the international F-16 training wing where Iraqi pilots are learning to fly the multirole fighter.

While the Republic of Iraq anticipates an initial delivery of F-16 Fighting Falcons in September 2014, the pilots who will fly them embark on a historic partnership with the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Fighter Wing here to learn how to fly the multipurpose fighter.

Already, two Iraqis have joined aspiring fighter pilots from the United States, Singapore, Poland, Denmark, Japan and the Netherlands at the U.S. Air Force’s international F-16 schoolhouse at Tucson International Airport. A delegation of senior Iraqi Air Force officers visited the unit Aug. 30 to assess their students’ progress and reaffirm their partnership with the desert fighter wing.

“We have an opportunity to work with a critical partner in a very strategic region of world,” said Col. Mick McGuire, 162nd Fighter Wing commander. “They have an opportunity to see what a professional operation we are and as a result of their visit I think we’ll have a long-standing relationship with the Iraqi Air Force – at least through 2020 – training F-16 pilots and providing a true coalition warfighting partner for the United States and an ability for them to defend their country for years to come.”

In 1986, Iraqi Air Force Brig. Gen. Abdulhussein Lafta Ali Ali flew Soviet-era MiG-21s but said he dreamed of flying the F-16.

Now visiting Tucson as a senior officer in his air force’s operations directorate, he flew with American pilots to experience the F-16’s capabilities and the unique demands of U.S. fighter training.

“The F-16 project is most important for our two nations,” he said. “This is the first time Iraqis have flown F-16s. It’s important for us to understand the training schedule and syllabus for our student pilots because the first pilots who train here will one day be examples for our other pilots.”

After his orientation flight, Abdulhussein noted the F-16’s high thrust to weight ratio, maneuverability, aerodynamic shape, avionics, load capacity, and its design which allows pilots to better endure G forces.

“We reached more than 7 Gs during our flight, and the [tilt-back] angle of the seat made it easy. In the MiG-21 the seat is more vertical making G forces difficult,” he said. “This is the best aircraft for us and this is the best place for our pilots to train.”

Air Guardsmen here train more than 70 international student pilots per year, offering several training programs that range from initial F-16 training to qualify new pilots to an advanced weapons course. Under the current contract between the U.S. and Iraq, the 162nd will train a total of 27 Iraqi pilots.

Until they receive their own fighters, the initial cadre of pilots will remain in Tucson. After they complete the six-to-eight month basic course they will continue through flight lead upgrade training, additional seasoning and instructor pilot certification.

According to McGuire, a tailored syllabus is among several factors that make the wing an attractive option for international fighter pilot training.

“First and foremost, the 162nd has an unparalleled safety record because our maintainers average 18 years of experience specializing on the F-16,” said the colonel. “That instills confidence in the nations we train.”

Adding to the secure feeling of flying aircraft from one of the safest F-16 fleets in the world is the freedom afforded by Arizona’s plentiful ranges, he said.

The Barry Goldwater Range in southwest Arizona consists of 2.7 million acres of relatively undisturbed Sonoran desert. Overhead are 57,000 cubic miles of airspace where fighter pilots can practice air-to-air maneuvers and engage simulated battlefield targets on the ground.

“Finally, we average 17,000 flying hours per year, and we’re able to do that because of Arizona’s year-round flying weather. Less than 3 percent of scheduled sorties here are canceled due to weather,” he said.

The elements add up to optimal flight-training conditions which allow the wing’s cadre of 80 instructor pilots to execute an aggressive training schedule.

“The students get the best possible flight education when they come here,” said McGuire, “and our Airmen take great pride in their mission – they see the big picture.”

“Partnership building it’s about flying together, operating together and training together, so if we have to, we can fight together. On a deeper level, it’s about friendships. With F-16s in operation around the world, creating the foundation of a relationship is absolutely invaluable.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

This Memorial Day, honor those who gave all

Memorial Day. A long weekend, barbeques, parades, door busting sales at the mall, and the un-official start of summer . . . With all the excitement of warmer weather and fun in the sun that come with Memorial Day, the true meaning of the day is often over looked. Memorial Day is about remembering the...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski)

Memorial Day weekend safety tips

Memorial Day weekend is coming up, for most service members that means getting on the road and traveling for the first long weekend of the summer. During this holiday weekend more people will be traveling, which makes it import...
 
 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Drzazgowski)

D-M law enforcement recognizes National Police Week

Law enforcement agencies at Davis-Monthan celebrated National Police Week here during the week of May 11-15. National Police Week focuses on remembering law enforcement officials who have lost their lives in the line of duty. T...
 

 

Final Total Force Training Environmental Assessment released

The final Environmental Assessment for Total Force Training, released here today by Air Combat Command, concludes a “Finding of No Significant Impact.” The Air Force will implement the proposed action alternative which places a cap on Total Force Training (formerly Operation Snowbird) flights at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base at 2,326 annual flights.  Officials state that...
 
 

Commissaries continue rolling out in-store Wi-Fi

FORT LEE, Va. – Sixteen more stores will offer Wi-Fi access for commissary patrons between June and September, according to the Defense Commissary Agency’s follow-up schedule. Through the Commissary Patron Internet Mobile System, DeCA is gradually opening customer Wi-Fi access at all stateside commissaries to include Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. The latest schedule covers the...
 
 

The difference between Memorial and Veterans Day

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) — There are lots of reminders out there that Memorial Day is about more than a day off or barbecue. It’s also about more than thanking everyone who served or waving flags. The truth is, many people confuse this day with Veterans Day. This day is about one thing...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin