Iraqi Air Force Brig. Gen. Ali al-Aaragy, air force advisor to the Iraqi Minister of Defense, on a stop at Luke AFB, Ariz., part of a tour to see USAF training up close and personal, said: “I want to thank the US Air Force for how they are helping us. … We are working together as one team to rebuild the Iraqi Air Force.” During his 10-day tour, the former Mirage F1 pilot flew in the T-6 Texan II, T-38 Talon, and, at Luke, an F-16, which he described as “a dream come true” and “amazing.” In his view, the Iraqi work with the Coalition Air Force Training Teams “has led Iraq to be able to protect the infrastructure, fight terrorists and insurgents, and protect Iraq’s sovereignty.” The Iraqi Training Wing at Kirkuk Regional Air Base has just completed its 3,000th sortie, aided by USAF’s 52nd Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron. Another effort, involving Electronic Systems Center at Hanscom AFB, Mass., MITRE, the CAFTT, and IqAF, has led to development of an Iraqi Air Sovereignty Master Plan that expands initial work directed only toward rebuilding Iraq’s air traffic control infrastructure. The plan timeline stretches to 2019 to enable the IqAF the time to not only build new systems but also develop the manpower to operate them. (Luke report by 2nd Lt. Bryan Bouchard; Hanscom report by Chuck Paone; Kirkuk photo release by SrA. Randi Flaugh)
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.