On June 27, a House Armed Services subcommittee report asserted that the
Iraq Air Force was limited to surveillance, reconnaissance and light
transport capability. The report said the U.S. military decided not to equip
Iraq with fixed-wing fighter-jets.
"In fact, it considers the assets unnecessary and incapable of
influencing the counterinsurgency fight," the report said.
Each Iraq Air Force ISR squadron has been equipped with four to six
light tactical observation aircraft, Middle East Newsline reported. The air force was also training and
three light utility helicopter squadrons for transport and casualty
Over the last two years, the report said, the U.S.-led Coalition Air
Force Transition Team focused on efforts to establish capabilities in two
intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance [ISR], and fixed-wing
transport. Such an effort required additional assets, the report said, and
the Iraqi Defense Ministry has requested three surplus U.S. military C-130s.
At the same time, the U.S. military has agreed to facilitate offensive
operations by the Iraq Air Force. House members asserted that the U.S. plan
"For 2008, MNSTC-I has tasked the CAF-TT with assisting the Iraqis in
developing a light attack capability," the report said. "MNSTC-I plans on
filling this requirement with light turbo-prop aircraft. The mission for the
post-Objective counterinsurgency air force points toward external defense,
but does not yet identify the resources in terms of fighter and interceptor
aircraft to carry it out."