Iraqi Air Force Continues to Expand Wings

An all-Iraqi aircrew successfully launched a Hellfire surface-attack missile from an AC-208 Cessna Caravan aircraft over the Aziziyah training range, south of Baghdad, destroying the ground target. This test was another important milestone for the fledgling air arm, which is maturing under the mentorship of US Air Force air advisors. “Today’s successful precision-guided weapon exercise marks another advancement in Iraqi air power,” said Brig. Gen. Scott Hanson, 321st Air Expeditionary Wing commander at Sather Air Base, of the Nov. 8 test. He added, “The Iraqi Air Force incorporated a complex mix of targets, overhead surveillance, plus command and control for weapons release from their air operations center.” The 321st AEW trains and advises the Iraqi airmen. This test was the second-ever Hellfire launch for the Iraqis. The first, less sophisticated test took place in November 2009. (Sather release)