Warplanes: Iraqi Air Force Surges

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May 23,2008: Last year, the Iraqi Air Force averaged 639 sorties a month. But that was much lower in the beginning of the year, and much larger at the end. So far this year, the average is about 1,100 sorties a month. Most of those are helicopter sorties, and most are for reconnaissance and transportation. There are about a hundred Iraqi pilots doing all this, with about sixty helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. A year ago there were only 28 aircraft. 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.

 


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