In March 2010, Iraq requested 18 new F-16 Block 52+ aircraft from
Lockheed Martin, a 50 percent reduction of its initial request submitted in
2008. Officials said the F-16 request was approved by the administration of
President Barack Obama and would require confirmation by Congress.
"If the F-16 foreign military sale is approved by the U.S. Congress and
the two governments can reach agreement on the terms of the deal, the F-16
program would not only significantly enhance Iraq's air sovereignty
capability, but also serve as a key enabler for a long-term partnership
between the two countries," the U.S. military said.
Under the latest agreement, the U.S. Air Force would train 10 Iraqi
pilots to operate the F-16. Officials said the training course, designed to last at least
a year, would begin in the fall and include a range of advanced jet
In the first stage of training, officials said, the Iraqi pilots would
learn to fly such U.S.-origin trainers as the T-38 Talon and the T-6A Texan
II. They said the pilots would be taught English in training that would last
between 12 and 17 months.
"It has been a pleasure to work with our Iraqi partners to put this
program together," U.S. Brig. Gen. Scott Jansson, director of the Iraq
Security Assistance Mission, said. "Through this and other security
cooperation programs, we have developed a strong environment of mutual trust