Iraq intends to renew discussions with the United States on its plan to purchase up to 36 F-16s, reports AFP. Chief Pentagon spokesman, Marine Col. David Lapan, said an Iraqi delegation will visit the United States in August “to discuss moving forward on 18 of the jets.” He said discussions remain in the “initial phase,” emphasizing that it could take “years” before a final agreement is reached, pilots are trained, and Iraq receives the first aircraft. Manufacturer Lockheed Martin said earlier this year it was confident that the potential foreign military sale would move forward. But just last month, an Iraqi government spokesman reportedly said the Iraqi defense ministry intended to postpone talks on the F-16s for a few years due to budgetary constraints.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.