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Iraqi Air Force conducts first solo Hellfire missile launch

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An all-Iraqi Air Force crew successfully fired an AGM-114 Hellfire missile from an AC-208 Cessna Caravan over the Aziziyah Training Range, south of Baghdad March 23.

The Iraqi airmen destroyed the target with a single shot in their first-successful solo launch of a Hellfire missile.

The Iraqi Air Force crew from Squadron 3, Kirkuk Air Base, hit a specific ground target with guidance and direction from Iraqi Special Operations Forces forward air controllers on the range.

“This live fire exercise was a great example of what a strong, joint partnership between Iraqi air and ground forces can do,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Anthony Rock, director of United States Forces-Iraq’s Iraq Training and Advisory Mission-Air. “This capability is key to the Iraqi Air Force’s ability to provide internal security and external defense.”

The Iraqi aircrew’s performance improves the operational support they provide to Iraqi Security Forces on the ground and achieves a key foundational capability for a credible and enduring Iraqi Air Force, USF-I officials said.

Iraqi airmen previously launched missiles on targets at the same range in November 2009 and November 2010 with USF-I support.

The live fire prepares the Iraqi Air Force to participate in the upcoming Iraqi Ground Forces Command-led Joint Exercise “Lion’s Leap,” next month.

Article by United States Forces – Iraq, Deputy Commanding General (Advising and Training)