It would appear to be a step back to the pre-Vietnam War military “advisor” era, because US Air Force military advisors in Iraq will be in lock-step with Iraqi airmen during all manner of operations. The Air Force has sent a 100-person group comprising a variety of career fields on a yearlong deployment to Iraq to train and modernize the Iraq Air Force. Lt. Col. Robert Lindsay, a veteran helicopter pilot, says: If the Iraqi airmen “go on a rescue mission, we’ll have a guy in the back of the helicopter with them. If they want to support their ground forces on a combat mission, we’ll have someone in the pilot’s seat next to them. We go where they go.”
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.