The U.S. Army Security Assistance Command (USASAC) recently facilitated the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of three Bell 407 training helicopters to the government of Iraq. The helicopters were loaded onto a cargo plane at Huntsville International Airport, AL, Dec. 5 and delivered to Camp Taji, Iraq, Dec. 11.[image align=”left” caption=”A cargo plane is loaded with one of the three Bell 407 training helicopters for their trip to Iraq Dec. 5. (U.S. Army photo.) ” linkto=”/web/wp-content/uploads/110402_photo02.jpg” linktype=”image”]”/web/wp-content/uploads/110402_photo02.jpg” height=”185″ width=”246″[/image]
The new training helicopters will help train qualified Iraqi army pilots to operate and maintain the aircraft, and will rapidly accelerate the fielding and utilization of Iraqi Armed 407 Armed Scout Helicopters, which are scheduled to be fielded by the end of 2011.
“To receive the aircraft is something like a dream that became a reality,” said LTC Shamkky Abbas, a commander and instructor pilot with the 21st Squadron, Iraqi Army Aviation Command.
The aircraft were a large part of the package, which included initial spares, ground support equipment and tools, and aircraft maintenance through contractor logistic support.
“I’d love to see their military have a great capability with these Armed Scout Helicopters so they can establish and maintain stability in their country, which is the overall intent,” said CW4 Jason Glenn, Experimental Test Pilot at Redstone Test Center, AL.[image align=”right” caption=”CW4 Jason Glenn, Experimental Test Pilot at Redstone Test Center, shows an Iraqi pilot the controls on the Bell 407 before test flying the aircraft during a partnership day in Iraq. (U.S. Army photo.)” linkto=”/web/wp-content/uploads/110402_photo03.jpg” linktype=”image”]”/web/wp-content/uploads/110402_photo03.jpg” height=”165″ width=”246″[/image]
The United States is committed to working with Iraq as a strategic partner to ensure its peace and security.
“I want to thank all of our friends from the United States, because they are always committed to supporting Iraq’s journey in democracy and helping us keep security and fight terrorism,” said Iraqi Army GEN Babakir Zebari, Commander of Iraq’s Armed Forces and Ministry of Defense Chief of Staff.
USASAC implements approved U.S. Army security assistance programs, including FMS of defense articles and services to eligible foreign governments. The command manages approximately 4,400 FMS cases valued at more than $103 billion. USASAC also manages the Army’s co-production program. For more information about USASAC, visit www.usasac.army.mil.
- BETH E. CLEMONS is the Social Media Manager for the U.S. Army Contracting Command at Redstone Arsenal, AL. At the time this article was written, she was a Public Affairs Specialist with USASAC. Clemons holds a B.S. in public relations from the University of Central Arkansas.