In a briefing on July 30, Al Maliki said the military planned to revive
negotiations for the F-16, Middle East Newsline reported. He said the number of fighters would be doubled
from the original request from the United States in 2010.
"A delegation from the Iraq Air Force along with advisers will travel to
revive the contract to include a larger number than the contract had agreed
before," Al Maliki said. "We will make it 36 instead of 18."
The Iraqis have sought to procure the latest F-16 model, the Block 52+,
ordered by Greece and Turkey. The Defense Ministry had allocated $900
million to launch the project, estimated to exceed $3 billion.
Officials said the United States has been urging Iraq to renew
negotiations for the F-16. They said Washington has asserted that the F-16
could help prevent an air attack from neighboring states, particularly Iran.
"The government will include in agreements to purchase weapons that
there should be trainers to train Iraqi forces to use these weapons," Al