The Iraqi Air Force is now flying over 300 sorties a week, more than ten
times what it was flying a year ago. The Iraqi Air Force currently has 56
aircraft (mostly single engine commercial types) and helicopters, and 1,350
personnel, with another 450 in training. A year ago there were only 28 aircraft
and 750 personnel. By the end of this year, about a hundred aircraft are to be
in service. Flight training for new pilots has resumed at an air base in
Kurdish controlled northern Iraq. This area has been largely free of terrorist
attacks, which will be a relief to the two hundred or so pilot trainees and
their instructors. The training course will last 2-3 years, depending on type
of aircraft. Eventually, the program hopes to turn out 130 pilots a year.
of the air force will probably 6,000 in about two years. More helicopters and
light (prop and jet trainer) aircraft are being bought. These will be used both
for training, and ground attack. Right now, most missions are transport or
now, pilots from the pre-2003 air force were used, as well as men with
commercial flying licenses. But as more aircraft are being added over the next
few years, the supply of older pilots is running out.