Iraq has marked a major milestone by rebuilding the country’s air force with the arrival of four training aircraft and the construction of a new air traffic control tower.

The Iraqi air force has received the first of 15 T-6A trainer aircraft, as part of a $210m US-Iraq joint venture, which will also provide flight simulators and associated training to the air force.

The T-6A aircraft will be used to train Iraqi pilots in handling more advanced multirole fighters, which the air force will use in the future to protect Iraqi airspace.

The Beechcraft-developed T-6A, provides the highest degree of flexibility in primary aircraft training, is also capable of training beginner pilots and performing training missions in accordance with advanced training curriculum.

The new air traffic control tower, will provide the air force’s Tikrit base with critical airspace control for its pilot training environment, following its completion by the end of 2010.

The nine-storey tower will incorporate an air traffic controller simulator, which will offer on-site controller training.

The first eight T-6As purchased by the Government of Iraq will reach Tikrit by the end of January 2010, and the last seven, purchased by the US, will be delivered by the end of December 2010.