WASHINGTON — Iraq was said to have relayed a formal request for the
F-16 multi-role fighter from the United States.
Industry sources said the Iraqi Defense Ministry has submitted a request
for 24 F-16s from Washington. They said the request was relayed in March
2010 and called for delivery of the aircraft over the next two years.
"Iraq has finally and formally requested 24 F-16s from the United
States," D.J. Elliot, author of the blog "Iraqi Security Forces Order of
Battle," said. "Delivery could start as early as next year, but likely in
2012/13 time frame."
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Industry sources confirmed the Iraqi request. They said the Baghdad
government, which seeks 96 combat aircraft by 2020, was expecting to receive
surplus U.S. Air Force F-16A/Bs in the first stage of procurement.
Elliot said Iraq and the Defense Department could sign a Letter of Offer
and Acceptance for the F-16s by the end of 2010. He said Baghdad has not yet
reached the order stage.
Over the next few months, the Defense Department and State Department
plan to review the Iraqi request. The sources said the Pentagon has approved
the request in principle.
In 2008, Iraq submitted a formal request for availability and price for
up to 36 F-16s from the United States. The Pentagon has never released its
"In 2012, the Iraqi Air Force will not have any fighters unless they are
provided with used aircraft," Elliot said. "Even in that case, they will be
three years at minimum training personnel to make those aircraft a
functional and effective air defense force."