Iraqi Training Helos Arrive

Five Bell Jet Ranger 206B helicopters arrived aboard a C-17 transport at Kirkuk Regional AB, Iraq, Dec. 3 for the Iraqi Air Force. These rotary-wing assets will be used to stand up the IqAF’s Squadron 2, along with five more Jet Rangers that will be moved from Camp Taji, Iraq, the current hub of IqAF helicopter operations. Kirkuk’s first class for Iraqi helicopter trainees is expected to start in mid January. The Jet Rangers will be used as instrument training aircraft, while OH-58 helicopters are utilized as the primary training platforms. “The new BJRs will provide an expanded capability for Iraqi Air Force Squadron 2 to develop their rotary wing training program,” said Lt. Col. Nathan Brauner, commander of USAF’s 52nd Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron, which supports Iraqi fixed-wing training at the base. He added, “Once the standup of Squadron 2 is complete, they will be capable of producing their own fixed-wing and rotary-wing pilots for the growing Iraqi Air Force.” (Kirkuk report by MSgt. Andrew Leonhard) (For more on IqAF’s growing training operations, read Rotary Operations, the Iraqi Way and Building a Credible Air Force, two on-the-scene reports from the Daily Report’s recent Iraq trip.)