New Iraqi Air Force F-16IQ Block 52 fighter jets train in Arizona

F-16IQ Block 52 Fighters shot in Arizona

Iraq has taken delivery of the first of 36 ordered Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 52 jets destined to rebuild the Iraqi Air Force.

Sporting the brand new, exotic two-tone grey camo, the first four F-16IQ Block 52 jets were delivered to Tucson, Arizona, beginning in December 2014.

The F-16IQ jets will be stationed in the U.S. until air bases are readied for the new planes and, above all, secured; in the meanwhile, the Iraqi pilots can be trained in a safe environment by the U.S. instructors of the Arizona ANG’s 162nd Wing, that already own an established experience with foreign students from the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore and Japan.

IAF 1602. F-16D-52-CF.156FS. IRAQ A-F. Tucson Int A-P. 06.02.2015

The training pipeline includes 14 Iraqi student pilots which will get qualified and combat capabable with the Fighting Falcon in about 300 flying hours. Then, they will return to their home and defend their own country with the new jet.

The Aviationist’s photographer Tony Lovelock was at Tucson at the beginning of February and took the pictures of the Iraqi F-16C and D models involved in local training sorties.

IAF 1601. F-16D-52-CF. 156FS. IRAQ Air Force. Tucson 06.02.2015

Image credit: Tony Lovelock


About David Cenciotti 4467 Articles
David Cenciotti is a freelance 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. Are the C and D models different versions (52 vs. 52+)? It looks like the D, twin seat models have the large dorsal spine which seem unique to 2-seat models or certain Israeli/UAE aircraft. Does someone with knowledge of the Viper’s block # differences have any input?

    • The FMS document back in 2010 listed avionics consistent with the B52+ version – such as the APG-68(v9) – so both C & D should technically be considered Block 52+.

      A major change was in A-A weapons – e.g. only AIM-9L/M & AIM-7M/H were being offered.

  2. Too bad the bar and grill overlooking the main apron and runways 11LR / 29 LR of TUS is closed. I would have enjoyed the irony of watching Iraqi F-16’s do pattern work while I enjoyed their excellent bacon, egg, and cheese bagel. I had months of enjoyment watching the UAE fly and taxi past in their lumpy late model F-16’s. All good things do come to an end. Let’s hope we don’t have to bomb these falcons one day or recall them home.

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