The Iraqi Air Force Command announced the participation of an Iraqi F-16 fighter aircraft for the first time with the International Air Force in a “defensive” air mission to fly over the Iraqi-Syrian border, National Iraqi News Agency (NINA) reported.
“This is the first time that an Iraqi Air Force fighter has carried out a joint defensive combat mission with a coalition fighter aircraft,” a statement from the Air Force Command said, adding that “such flights are important to build the capabilities of Iraqi forces.”
“The Iraqi air force continues to build its capabilities,” said Brigadier General Brooke Leonard, Director of Air Operations at the International Alliance, “where Air Force advisers of the international alliance work with their Iraqi partners to standardize operations against terrorist organizations.”
In September 2010, a possible Foreign Military Sale of 18 F-16IQ fighter jets with the associated equipment and services to the newly reformed Iraqi Air Force (IQAF) was made public.
The first Iraqi F-16 made its inaugural flight in May 2014. It was officially delivered to the IQAF in a ceremony at Fort Worth, Texas on 5 June 2014.