US Won’t Speed-Up F-16 Deliveries to Iraq

The US does not intend to speed-up deliveries of F-16 fighter jets to Iraq, even though the first four in that country’s air force have begun combat flights against ISIS, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said Sept 8. Iraq is still set to receive an additional 32 F-16s, with the next group slated for delivery in the “coming months,” he added. The two countries are working out the details of that transfer, but that move is not being expedited as a way to assist with flights in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. The Iraqi F-16s recently joined the fight and flew its first airstrikes against ISIS, the Iraqi Air Force announced. Iraqi pilots train with the Arizona Air National Guard on how to fly the jets. The first four landed at Balad on July 13. The additional flights from the Iraqis are “important steps forward” and help the coalition enhance its fight against ISIS, Cook said.