Iraqi F-16s and attack helicopters have joined the fight for Fallujah, flying both deliberate strikes and close air support sorties to assist ground forces as they advance on the city, Army Col. Christopher Garver, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said during a Wednesday briefing. Although Iraq does not coordinate its flights with the coalition’s air tasking orders, it has made multiple strikes and flown support for advancing brigades. The coalition also has seen the aircraft fly strikes in support of Mosul and Baiji earlier this year, Garver said. The country has six F-16s in its air force, which first arrived in July 2015, and its pilots are trained with the Arizona Air National Guard in Tucson. (See also: Iraqi Airstrikes on ISIS.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.