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Amid those safety concerns, Iraq has begun a massive upgrade of its fledgling air force. This, to safeguard national security once US troops complete their departure next year.
US forces are spearheading Iraq's air force overhaul by helping with close-air support and intelligence-gathering missions.
All US troops will withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011.
Despite the uncertain future of Iraq's national security, US military officials are confident the country's air force will be able to protect its skies.
Gem. Scptt Hanson, Iraqi Air Force Training Director, said, "I would tell you today that I believe that the Iraqi air force is effective across many functions that the air force needs to provide for its country, for example, airlift. If you look back into 2008, the uprising that happened in Basra, the Iraqi air force took to their C-130 fleet of fixed air-lift craft and deployed the force down to provide security for the people."
Iraq is currently negotiating a deal with the US to purchase F-16 fighter jets to upgrade its air force.
Iraq's air force hopes to buy nearly a hundred of the jets over the next decade. Its part of Baghdad's push to spend billions of dollars in upgrading its national defense force.
As yet, Iraq's revamped air force has no offensive capability. It still relies on US aircraft to support ground troops.
US airmen will account for more than 10 percent of the country's forces left in Iraq after the official end of combat operations on August 31st.
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