Iraq has signed an agreement that will send 18 U.S. fighter jets to the country at a cost of $3 billion. The deal is seen as a way for the country to protect their airspace after years of relying on American pilots.
The F-16 fighter jets are expected to arrive in Iraq by next fall according to some estimates while other reports place their arrival in early 2013 until which time U.S. troops will continue to protect Iraq airspace.
While the jets may be delivered by 2013 Iraq’s top-ranked military officials have let it be known recently that their Air Force is not even close to being ready to protect their own air space, speculating that U.S. assistance may be required until 2020.
The U.S. military is more optimistic about Iraq’s possible self-protecting goals with US Army Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter saying the F-16 deal is “a game-changing capability” that “provides the basis for their air sovereignty.”
U.S. and Iraqi officials had hoped to complete the deal last year however Iraq needed to use their extra money to buy more food rations for their population and ultimate cut their goal of 36 F-16 fighters to just 18.
As part of the agreement Iraqi fighter pilots will receive customized training from U.S. fighter pilots.
Do you think the United States providing fighter jets to Iraq is a smart move or another example of U.S. politicians and military officials over stepping their bounds.