Iraq air force officials took a step closer to self-sustainment after hosting their first T-6 Texan trainer aircraft program management review at New Al Muthana Air Base just days before a historic instructor pilot flight.

The conference held March 17 brought together more than 30 representatives from various U.S. and Iraqi government agencies including the U.S. T-6 Program Office, U.S. contractors, the Air Force Security Assistance Training Program Office, the Air Force Metrology and Calibration Program Office, Iraq Security Assistance Mission, Iraq Training and Advisory Mission, and the Iraqi air force functional and squadron leadership.

“Every requirement was thoroughly discussed with a total understanding of what was required to meet the mission objectives by both the U.S. Air Force and Iraq air force,” said Maj. John Creighton, the Iraq Training and Advisory Mission – Air deputy director of aircraft maintenance. “The Iraq air force and the T-6A program are well on their way to leading the country in the fulfilling role of developing Iraqi pilots and maintenance technicians.”

Iraq air force officials planned and led the agenda to discuss the support and sustainment needed for the T-6 aircraft in Iraq. The discussion covered a myriad of training issues to include: pilot flight hours, aircraft maintenance, logistics and supply, precision measurement equipment and several other required support functions.

“We discussed Iraqi leadership expectations, future sustainment planning and operational and maintenance training requirements,” Creighton said. “Our efforts clarified plans and requirements for future Iraqi air force training and operational developments.”

Just a few days after the conference, the first Iraqi air force instructor pilot to graduate from the 52nd Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron at Tirkrit Air Base, Iraq, Lt. Col. Hamid Hussein, flew his first official training mission with an Iraqi student pilot in a T-6.

There are 18 Iraqi students enrolled in flight training, and Hussein hopes to train 30 T-6 instructor pilots. This train-the-trainer goal would enable the Iraq air force to sustain flight training long after the scheduled U.S. transition out of Iraq in December.

(Courtesy of 321st Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs)