2008:The United States has given the
Iraqi Air Force eleven training aircraft (eight Cessna 172s and three Cessna
Caravan 208). The donated aircraft are worth nearly $10 million.
C172 is a single engine aircraft that costs about $600,000, and can also be
usedfor reconnaissance. C-172s are
cheaper than UAVs. Many air forces use a militarized version, as the T-41 basic
flight trainer. The C-172 is a 1.1 ton
aircraft with a max speed of 228 kilometers an hour, and can stay in the air
for about six hours per sortie. The aircraft is easy to fly, and can be
equipped with all manner of night and day video cameras. The Iraqis have lots
of unemployed pilots, who are happy to have anything to fly. But the existing
pilots are getting on in years, and the Iraqis have established a military
flight school up north, where the 172s are used for basic flight training.
Caravan 208 is a larger, single engine, aircraft that can carry nine passengers or a ton of
cargo. It can be rigged to carry Hellfire missiles, or electronic warfare gear
(for picking up transmissions from the ground, or jamming.) TheCaravan 208 costs several million dollars,
and is also used to train pilots to handle larger aircraft.
next 18 months, Iraq plans to expand its air force to over 130 aircraft and