Iraq has received three additional F-16 “Fighting Falcon” multirole fighter jets from the United States, the country’s Ministry of Defence announced on Thursday.
The jets arrived at Balad airbase, north of the Baghdad, the ministry said in a short statement without providing further detail.
Including the newly received aircraft, Iraq is currently operating 17 F-16s since Baghdad signed a nearly $2 billion purchase-deal with Washington in 2014 for 36 fighter jets.
But, Iraq will receive only 34 since two crashed during training of Iraqi pilots in the United States.
F-16 Fighting Falcon
General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon is a single-engine supersonic multirole fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics (now Lockheed Martin) for the U.S. Air Force (USAF).
Designed as an air superiority day fighter, it evolved into a successful all-weather multirole aircraft. Over 4,500 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976.
The Fighting Falcon’s key features include a frameless bubble canopy for better visibility, side-mounted control stick to ease control while maneuvering, a seat reclined 30 degrees to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot, and the first use of a relaxed static stability/fly-by-wire flight control system which helps to make it a nimble aircraft.
The F-16 has an internal M61 Vulcancannon and 11 locations for mounting weapons and other mission equipment.
The F-16’s official name is “Fighting Falcon”, but “Viper” is commonly used by its pilots and crews, due to a perceived resemblance to a viper snake as well as the Colonial Viperstarfighter on Battlestar Galactica.
In addition to active duty for U.S. Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, and Air National Guard units, the aircraft is also used by the USAF aerial demonstration team, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and as an adversary/aggressor aircraft by the U.S. Navy.
The F-16 has also been procured to serve in the air forces of 25 other nations. As of 2015, it is the world’s second most numerous military aircraft and the most numerous airplane in service.