Odierno Supports Sale of F-16s to Iraq

Army Gen. Raymond Odierno, top US general in Iraq, said Wednesday he supports the sale of F-16s to the Iraqi air force. “They are going to buy multi-role aircraft, so . . . I’d rather have them buy F-16s. That’s probably better for us if we are involved in that,” he told defense reporters during a breakfast meeting in Washington, D.C. Odierno said the Iraqis have asked to purchase 18 F-16s initially, enough to build their own fighter squadron. The new aircraft likely wouldn’t be delivered until 2018, when Iraqi oil revenue is expected to be at levels to support the purchase of the aircraft and their sustainment, he said. Air Forces Central began an air sovereignty study last year to explore the possibility of providing new-build aircraft to Iraq or excess-inventory USAF assets.