Iraq’s brand new F-16 Block 52 makes first flight in weird, exotic camouflage color scheme

Iraqi Air Force’s first F-16 Block 52 made its maiden flight from Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, assembly plant in a weird camouflaged color scheme.

On May 2, the first of 36 ordered Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 52 jets destined to the Iraqi Air Force made its first flight from Fort Worth, Texas.

Noteworthy, the aircraft sports a quite weird two-tone grey camo, much different from the desert color scheme used by the Iraqi planes prior to the 2003 invasion which destroyed what remained of the Al Quwwa al Jawwiya al Iraqiya, and the light grey paint that was used on the Hellfire-equipped Cessna 208Bs or the Mil Mi-25 gunships.

Iraq is building their Armed Forces again. Along with F-16s and T-50s trainers, Baghdad is also receiving Mi-28 Night Hawk helicopters while the procurement of 24 AH-64E Apache attack choppers in being evaluated.

F-16 Iraqi Air Force

Image credit: Lockheed Martin


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. Good! It’s easier to see for when we have to go back and shoot it down.

  2. I freaking don’t understand how US can sell this fighter jets and weapons to Iraq.
    Because as soon as these weapons touch Iraq they will be copied by Iran and even worse selling it own version of the F-16

      • For Iran that f-16 is a new technology which they don’t have and they have complete control over the Iraqi military

        • Please. I have worked with the Iraqi Air Force for the past 5 years. Please stop making statements about things of which you know nothing.

  3. The F16 delivered to any Air Force, will never have the same capacity as the USAF F16, this what we should know all of us, and not only the f16, the rafale, sukoi, mig, mirage etc,

  4. @Cencio,
    camo patterns of Iraqi MiG-21bis’ and MiG-23BN/MS/MF/MLs were ‘standard camouflage patterns for export’, usually consisting of different shades of beige and olive green, plus red-brown (on MiG-23s). Later marks of Su-22s (such like Su-22M-4K for example) were even painted in chocolate brown and olive green, and thus very dark in appearance. Overall, anything but ‘desert camouflage’.

    thanks for explaining that. The pan-Arabic tricolore was introduced following the coups of 1963 (prior to that Iraq first used a flag in black, green, white and red, then only in black, white and green). Originally it included three green stars, like Syrian flag introduced around the same time, and unlike Egyptian with two stars, and Yemeni with one star. The ‘Takbir’ title (‘Allah-u-Akbar’) was introduced in January 1991. Lately, the three stars were removed and only the Takbir title left in their place, but the photos posted by Cencio were simply not clear enough for my tired eyes, and that’s why I asked.
    Still, I find it at least ‘unusual’ that the IQAF crest is applied on wings – instead of national insignia.

    @all those ‘complaining’ about the sale of F-16s to Iraq…
    This sale was planned already as of 2002-2003, and is not more or less controversial than the sale of F-16s to Pakistan, for example (a nuclear power the intelligence and military apparatus of which have created the Taliban or trained characters that went to establish terrorist groups like Abu Sayyaf on the Philippines, and which is closely cooperating with China), F-15s to Saudi Arabia (which financed the creation of the Taliban etc.), or F-35s to Israel (a nuclear power that’s pretending to be a US ally while espionaging on it and purposedly playing a ‘mad dog’ whenever it can).

    True, the present Iraqi government was ‘crafted’ by the CO IRGC-QF, Maj Gen Suleimani, but that doesn’t mean the Iranians can get their hands on these F-16s.

    And even if: given the chaotic state of Iranian aircraft industries (where everybody is doing whatever he likes, just nothing that’s really useful for their air force[s]), I have strong doubts they could make any practical use of resulting intelligence.

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