|Iraqi unit adds four Mi-171 helicopters to inventory|
By Tech. Sgt. Jason Lake, 321st Air Expeditionary Wing
CAMP TAJI, Iraq (May 9, 2011) — Iraqi and American officials celebrated the delivery of two Mi-171E helicopters here Wednesday.
The delivery marked the ninth and tenth Mi-171E helicopter aircraft to arrive from a 14-aircraft purchase made by the Iraqi government for nearly $190 million last year. Two additional M-171Es were delivered to the base last week.
More than a dozen Iraq Training and Advisory Mission - Air and Iraq Security Assistance Mission advisors were alongside their Iraqi partners as the two new helicopters flew into Taji.
"This is a very big day for not only the Iraqi Army Aviation Command, but more importantly, it's another big step in the strengthening partnership between the United States and Iraq," said Brig. Gen. Robert McMurry Jr., whose organization, ISAM, facilitated the Iraqi government's purchase of the helicopters from Europe.
In total, the Iraqi Army Aviation Command currently has 16 Mi-17 (legacy model Mi-171s) and 18 Mi-171E helicopters in its inventory. The remaining four Mi-171 helicopters are scheduled to be delivered before this fall.
More than 30 ITAM-Air advisors from the 721st Air Expeditionary Advisory Group currently train Iraqis from IqAAC's 15 Squadron to fly, maintain and employ the Mi-171E. Five U.S. Air Force pilots are training 15 Squadron to fly the Mi-171 multi-mission aircraft using night-vision goggles and conduct joint missions with Iraq Counter-Terrorism Bureau special operations forces.