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Iraqi Air Force Discovered!!!!!

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This is positively strange:

Iraqi officials have discovered that they may have an air force, after all.

The Defense Ministry revealed Sunday that it recently learned that Iraq owns 19 Russian-designed MIG-21 and MIG-23 jet fighters, which are in storage in Serbia. The ministry said Iraqi officials are negotiating with the Serbs to restore the aircraft.

The Serbian government has tentatively promised to make two of the aircraft available “for immediate use,” according to a press release from the ministry. The rest would be restored on a rush basis, the ministry said.

If returned (and it appears that the Iraqis want them) these planes will constitute the entirety of the fighter capability of the Iraqi Air Force, at least until projected purchase of F-16s comes to pass. MiG-21s and MiG-23s aren’t all that, of course (MiG-21 in particular was an excellent aircraft in its day), but I can see how it would be nice to have a core capability for training and organizational purposes. Iran theoretically still owes Iraq 100 aircraft (flown to Iran during the Gulf War) but the probability of recovering those jets is very low.

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