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U.S. makes sixth delivery of combat helicopters to Iraq

Special to WorldTribune.com

WASHINGTON — The United States has delivered additional combat
helicopters to Iraq.

The U.S. Army has overseen the delivery of the Bell-407 helicopter for
the Iraq Air Force. The latest batch of three Scout helicopters, designed to
fire Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, left for Iraq on Jan. 15 aboard a C-17
strategic transport.

The U.S. Army recently delivered three Bell-407 Scout helicopters to Iraq.

Officials said this marked the sixth delivery of the Bell-407s for
Baghdad. Launched in 2010, the project was meant to deliver up to 30 armed helicopters for the Iraq Air Force.

“The Iraqi Ministry of Defense also has internal requirements beyond the border security mission for the Bell-407 Scout helicopter,” Kenneth Morgan, a member of the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, said. “For example, these helicopters are also used for patrol and security operations.”

Officials said the U.S. Army was training Iraqis to fly and maintain the
Bell-407s. They said the pilot training took place in the United States
while maintenance would also be conducted in Iraq.

“We are building partner capacity, which means the Iraqi’s are building
their own capability that allows them to perform operations that the U.S. is
no longer there to provide,” Kevin Richardson, a deputy director at the U.S.
Army Security Assistance Command, said.

“We’ll fly to Germany, then to Iraq, offload and reassemble the
aircraft, test fly them and conduct a complete inventory of all the items
before signing them over to the Iraqis,” Hal Ridley, the Army’s chief
logistician in the Iraqi program, said.

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