An Iraqi air wing was established in 1931 with British support and assistance, hence was mainly supplied by the British equipment. It was during the late 60s and early 70s Iraq received considerable amounts of hardware from the former Soviet Union and Easter bloc countries. Although the West in the early 1980s supplied Saddam's Iraq with equipment, the Mirage F1s and Bell 212ST. But the former Iraqi Air Force relied heavily on the aircraft supplied by former Soviet Union and Easter bloc countries.
After the fall of Saddam, the re-building was initiated dubbed the "New Iraqi Air Force" IqAF. First with was the SBL7-360 Seeker, followed by sixteen SAMA CH2000 aircraft both Jordanian built. In January 2005 f three ex-USAF C-130E cargo planes were delivered. In November 2004 the United Arab Emirates donated four ex UAE Air Force Bell 206Bs and seven newly produced Comp Air 7SL aircraft. The first four UH-1H helicopters entered service in January 2005 after which these ex Royal Jordanian Air Force Huey helicopters were upgraded at Ozark (AL) to "Huey II" (UH-1H-II) standard.
By December 2006 the IqAF received 10 of 28 ordered Mi-17/171s ordered previously. Although the status of the order is not clear but it could be as high 58 Mi-17/171's is a bit unclear.
In March 2007, the USAF awarded Raytheon Aircraft Company a contract for the supply of five Beechcraft King Air 350ER Extended Range) and 350ISRs (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance). The aircraft are currently utilized by the Iraq Air Force to provide VIP/light transport and border surveillance, monitor insurgent activity, and patrol critical infrastructure assets respectively.
During April 2007, the first of total six ordered Cessna 208B Caravan transport aircraft were delivered. Some are ISR-equipped, while others will be utilized in a training role.
With the United States government drive for military capacity building of the Iraqi Armed Force. On 9 December 2008, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified the US Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of 36 Beechcraft AT-6B Texan II aircraft, including six spare PT-6 engines, ten spare ALE-47 Counter-Measure Dispensing Systems and/or ten spare AAR-60 Missile Launch Detection Systems and related equipment and services. The estimated value of this order is $ 520 million. T
On 10 December, the DSCA announced another possible FMS-order, mainly of re-engine of the 26 Bell 407 Helicopters, with 26 Rolls Royce 250-C-30 Engines, rearming of 26 M280 2.75-inch Launchers, 26 XM296 .50 Cal. Machine Guns with ammunition, 26 M299 AGM-114 Hellfire Guided Missile Launchers as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options exercised, may reach $ 366 million.
The six ordered C-130J-30 Hercules transport aircraft are expected to be delivered between 2012 and 2014.
In Sept 28th 2011: The Pentagon confirms that Iraq has an F-16 contract:
“The Iraqi government has transferred its first payment for 18 F-16C fighter aircraft, bringing Iraq closer to independently securing its airspace, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said yesterday…. The fighters are the block 50/52 variant of the aircraft…”
Other reports place that payment’s value at $1.5 billion, and Defense News says that this will extend the F-16’s production line to 2015. (source: Defense Industry Daily)
According to Jane's Sentinel Security Assessment - The Gulf States (dated: Sep 30, 2011) the Iraqi Air Force:
In November 2008, it was revealed that the primary goal for the next 18 months would entail an increase in the number of aircraft and helicopters from 95 at the end of 2008 to around 130 aircraft,
Commander of the Air Force: Lt. General Anwar Hamad Amen Ahmed
Army Aviation 2,400
Air Force Personnel Strength: 5,000
- Combat: 3 (total), 3 (in service)
- Reconnaissance 18 (total), 18 (in service)
- Transport: 4 (total), 4 (in service)
- Helicopters: 71 (total), 71 (in service)