Forces: Iraqi Air Force Pilot Training Resumes

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October 15, 2007: The Iraqi Air Force, which currently has 51 aircraft and helicopters, and 1,200 personnel, has resumed flight training for new pilots. The training program is located 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.

The strength of the air force will probably hit 1,500 this year, and, in one or two years, 6,000. More helicopters and light (prop and jet trainer) aircraft are being bought. These will be used both for training, and ground attack.

Up until 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.

 


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