Bagdad, Iraq- Members of the Iraqi Air Force are beginning to finally come into their own, some of the training that they have been able to receive recently involves different types of Night Operations. In overall training, many units of the Iraqi Air Force have progressed to an advanced level, and Night Operations is the next logical step for their forces.
The first rotary wing Iraqi Air Force night mission was conducted on December 3rd by the Iraqi Air Force. This was the first time since 2003 and was a successful endeavor in the skies over Baghdad
Two separate Iraq Air Force crews using night vision equipment used their Russian Mi—17 helicopters near the Taji Air base. This was a milestone event, using night vision goggles increases the flexibility and the training operational readiness of the Iraqi helicopter forces and the Iraqi Air force at large.
This was the first Mi-17 helicopter sortie that has been performed in Iraq separate from the Taji Airfield, all of the previous training helicopter missions had been within the confines of the Taji Air Base. This sortie mission flew from the Baghdad International Airport, at the Washington Landing Zone, to Besmaya gunnery range for NVG gun training, and finanally to Libery Landing Zone also near Baghdad International Airport.
The Iraqi Air Force were issued Night Vision Goggles in June and have been working to familiarize themselves with them ever since. They also received OH-58 training Kiowa helicopters in June on loan from the Iowa National Guard at the same time.