1-1 CAB aircraft help Iraqi Air Force expand mission capabilities
An Iraqi air crew works on their CH-2000 fixed-wing aircraft inside the 70th Squadron hangar at Contingency Operating Base Basra, Iraq, June 2.

The transition of U.S. forces out of Iraq still requires hands-on guidance for the Iraqi Security Forces. Working with the Iraqi Air Force is just one of the ongoing missions that have Task Force 12 doing just that.

Aviators with 1st Battalion, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade and 12th CAB began the next phase of mission planning and training with the Iraqi Air Force's 70th Squadron during a meeting June 15 at Contingency Operating Base Basrah, Iraq.

Col. Nazih al-Fahaed, commander of the 70th Sqdn., currently based at COB Basra, met with Capt. Alexander Tesar, 12th CAB plans officer, and Chief Warrant Officer David Reese, 12th CAB targeting officer, to help coordinate future reconnaissance flights for the 70th Sqdn. toward the aim of restarting and expanding their regular missions using their CH-2000 fixed-wing aircraft.

Pilots with Company C, 1-1 CAB will assist their Iraqi counterparts in improving their integration with ground forces, such as the 8th or 14th Iraqi Army Divisions and giving them back-up as they conduct these missions.

As Iraq has recovered from many years of war through rebuilding their infrastructure and government, they are slowly recovering their aviation and civil air capabilities. This recovery makes it temporarily necessary for them to rely on U.S. forces to get off the ground.

Iraqi CH-2000s are two seat aircraft that use digital still-imagery to collect intelligence and conduct surveillance during missions. Although CH-2000s are limited to digital still-imagery, the platform is a viable asset for point reconnaissance, lines of communication (LOC) surveillance, and wide area imagery.

Nazih requested the assistance and expressed gratitude that crews were able to come talk to him about these missions. He said he is looking forward to starting an autonomous flying schedule soon.

Tesar, Reese and crews from Co. C, 1-1 CAB are optimistic about the progress they have made with Nazih and will be scheduling more in the future to continue this trend.

"The 70th will begin flying operational missions again with minimal U.S. assistance," Tesar said. "This is a certifying step for the 70th to conduct operations with U.S. forces being able to assist them with reconnaissance and (Air Ground Integration) (Tactics, Techniques and Procedures)."

Co. C began supporting the first missions with the 70th Sqdn. on June 27.
Tesar said the success of these missions will validate the 70th's ability to continue operating without further U.S. support, particularly once they move to Ali Air Base in Tallil, Iraq.

Page last updated Mon July 5th, 2010 at 12:31