Iraqi Army takes delivery of three Bell 407s

Iraqi Army takes delivery of three Bell 407s

21-Dec-2010 Source: US Army

BAGHDAD – The Iraqi Army Aviation Command showcased the arrival of three new Bell T-407 training helicopters with a ceremony and aerial display at Camp Taji Dec. 15.

“This is a landmark occasion for the Government of Iraq,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Hanson, director of Iraq Training and Advisory Mission-Air Force, and commander of the 321st Air Expeditionary Wing. “These T-407s are critical to building a modern, dependable capability in the Iraqi Army Aviation Command.”

These helicopters are to be used to train Iraqi Army pilots as a prelude to an expected delivery of Armed Scout Helicopters by the end of next year, Hanson said.

“Beginning training today with these aircraft, [Iraq’s] Army aviation will accelerate self-sufficiency and aircraft sustainment,” Hanson said.

“The United States is committed to supporting Iraq’s journey in democracy,” said Iraqi Army Gen. Babakir Zebari, commander of Iraq’s armed forces and Ministry of Defense chief of staff. “These helicopters will greatly boost our work to maintain security and fight terrorism.”

Armed Scout Helicopters are equipped with Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and data-link capabilities; and armed with a .50 caliber machinegun and 2.75-inch rockets.

“The armed scout helicopter represents a significant leap in technology for army aviation,” Hanson said. “This will greatly enhance the ability to integrate air power into joint operations.”

The Iraqi Army currently has two newly-qualified instructor pilots, who along with their United States Forces-Iraq advisor counterparts, will soon begin the process of developing a cadre of instructor pilots to establish a self-sustaining program to support Iraq’s Armed Scout Helicopter program.

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