Frustrated by the slow process of acquiring American air power hardware, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has turned elsewhere. He told the BBC’s Arabic Service that Iraq has “bought second-hand fighters from Russia and Belarus that will arrive in a few days’ time.” Maliki’s government is trying to counter a rapid advance by The Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (Isis), whose fighters have overrun most of five Iraqi provinces.
Occupation of Iraq
In late September, the U.S. Pentagon announced that the first payment had been made concerning the supply of Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters to Iraq, ending a period of delay due to budgetary issues and speculation about whether the contract would proceed.
Almost half of the UK’s General Aviation Manufacturers & Traders Association (GAMTA) members have declared themselves to be less optimistic about business prospects than they were 12 months ago. In survey results published at the group’s annual conference on March 6, only 16 percent said they are now more optimistic than they were when the last survey was taken in March last year, six months after September 11.
Having acquired its first aircraft in 2004, the reborn Iraqi air force is now performing routine missions alongside coalition fleets in the country. Further procurement is expanding the air force inventory in key mission areas, and U.S. forces are extremely pleased with the progress that the young air arm has made in a short time.
While debate over the future of the war in Iraq rages among Congress, the White House and the populace, several organizations and individuals in the business aviation industry have been quietly providing support to servicemen wounded in the conflict. One major effort involves Richard Santulli, creator of the fractional ownership business model and the chairman and CEO of industry leader NetJets.
Recently retired U.S. Air Force chief of staff Gen. John Jumper has just lived through a tumultuous tour of duty. Little did he know where the job might take him on his first day in office, which was more than a little disrupted by the events that morning. The date was Sept. 11, 2001.