The Iraqi Air force who has brand new F-16 Fighting Flacons have spent the last few year’s training to fly the F-16 at the Arizona ANG’s 162nd Wing. These pilot’s are trained under the watchful eye of USAF instructor pilots along with their country’s own instructor pilots. The Pilots of the Iraqi Air Force start their long journey to become pilots long before they step foot on the flight line at the Arizona ANG’s 162nd Wing. Once these pilots complete initial flight training in their home country’s they are then bought over the United states to do undergraduate pilot training in the T-6 Texan 2 and T-38’s training aircraft where they learn the basics of flying and IFF. Upon complete of UPT these airmen then move to Arizona where they will spend the next 2 years learning to fly the F-16. The Arizona ANG’s 162nd Wing is home to several foreign nations who come here to train on the Viper within the AZANG 3 Fighter Squadrons.

The F-16 B-Course

Students spend the first month of the nine-month B-course in classrooms and in simulators. A team of instructors from Lockheed Martin conducts this initial ground training phase. The instructors use simulators to teach basic flying and emergency procedures. These fundamentals are followed by tactical topics that cover operating the aircraft’s avionics and employing the F-16 as a weapon system.

After ground training, students fly the F-16 for the first time in transition training. This phase, which runs about three weeks, consists of ten F-16 sorties. Students fly their first three sorties from the front seat of a two-seat F-16 with an instructor pilot in the back seat. They fly solo beginning with their fourth sortie and lasting for most of the other sorties during the remainder of their training. Transition training covers takeoffs, landings, and instrument flying. Students also fly at night with NVGs at the end of this phase.

Transition training is followed by an air-to-air phase, which also lasts about fourteen weeks. It consists of about twenty-five flights. The first ten flights involve basic fighter maneuvers. Students fly against a single aerial adversary from offensive, defensive, and high-aspect, or head-on, positions.

These ten transition flights are followed by three flights of air combat maneuvering in which students fly as wingmen in a two-ship formation against a single adversary. The scenarios get more complex in the next ten flights to cover tactical intercept missions. During these flights, students fly in a two-ship formation against one, two, and four adversaries in addition to flying against an unknown number of adversaries. They also complete one tactical intercept flight at night with NVGs.

The air-to-air phase finishes with aerial engagements against dissimilar fighters, usually F-15s and F/A-18s that come from such varied sources as the US Air Force, Navy, and Marines and the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The last phase of the training involves air-to-ground missions in which students start with ten surface attack missions of increasing difficulty. They begin by dropping unguided bombs and advance to using targeting pods to direct guided munitions. The unit has both LITENING and LANTIRN targeting pods. The final surface attack training flight is flown at night and uses both NVGs and a targeting pod to drop guided munitions.

Surface attack training is followed by surface attack tactics. In ten flights of increasing complexity, students learn to fight to a target, drop their weapons, and then fight their way back to their home base. The final flight in this series is conducted at night with NVGs. Surface attack tactics are followed by four close air support training flights that derived from real-world scenarios conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan. The last of these close air support missions is flown at night.

Once these Pilot complete all of the F-16 training they will continue to fly and train using the Iraqi F-16’s where they take what they have learned from the Americans and apply it over the skies over Arizona. The pilot will return home fully quailed F-16 pilots and will employ the F-16 in combat mission defending their homeland.   

F-16IQ Block 52 Fighters Training in Arizona