Sustainable Self-Defense Capability

Rebuilding the Iraqi air arm is one of Iraq’s top military priorities, said Gen. Nasier Arkan Al-Abadi, vice chief of staff of Iraqi joint forces, during a visit March 4 to Air Education and Training Command at Randolph AFB, Tex. “The Iraqi air force is just starting its journey as an air force,” said Al-Abadi. He added that the IqAF remains short on pilots and aircraft, both of which the US Air Force is helping to alleviate with pilot training programs and guidance and support for the acquisition of fleets of training aircraft like the T-6, as well as helicopters, transports, and fighters over the next several years. “Our goal is to carry on building a long-term relationship and provide Iraq with its own sustainable self-defense capability.” said Lt. Col. Paul Bigelow, chief of AETC’s Foreign Disclosure Office. Al-Abadi’s visit came on the heels of Iraqi Minister of Defense Abdul Qadir’s stop at Randolph in February during which he received briefings on the Air Force’s F-16 training programs. (Randolph report by Capt. John Severns) (For more on the IqAF, read Building a Credible Air Force.)