Thursday, May 19, 2016

First new ‘VIPER’ from second Iraqi batch

The two first F-16C/D Fighting Falcon of the second batch of ‘Viper’ ordered by Iraq, started tests flight at NAS Fort Worth. These two units are F-16D serial number 1619/13-0032 and F-16C serial number 1621/13-0016.

On 12 December 2011 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of the Iraqi government’s request to purchase 18 F-16C/D Block 52 fighters (12 single-seat F-16Cs and six two-seat F-16Ds) and associated equipment, parts, weapons, training and logistical support at an estimated cost of USD2.3 billion. In October 2012, 18 more F-16C/Ds (12 F-16Cs and six F-16Ds) were ordered for delivery between 2017 and 2018, to equip a second squadron.

The first unit of the second group of 18 F-16s for the Iraqi Air Force , F-16D #1619 is seen launching on a test flight at NAS Fort Worth on 25th March, 2016. (Copyright : Keith Snyder)

On 25 June 2015, F-16C serial number 1609 of the 162nd FW was lost together with its pilot, Brig Gen Rafid Mohammad Hassan. The probable cause of the loss was pilot vertigo during night air combat training, and the aircraft came down 8 km east of Douglas Municipal Airport at 20.00 local time. On 9 July two F-16Cs (serial numbers 1607 and 1610) and two F-16Ds (1601 and 1604)  took  off  from  Tucson  and  landed  at  Lajes  in  the  Azores  the  same  day.  They arrived at Balad AB on 13 July where they joined the new 9th Fighter Squadron. On 2 February 2016, two new F-16Cs (serial numbers 1612 and 1614) landed at Balad AB.

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