The US Air Force has begun the first Iraqi air force college pilot-training course, using Iraq’s new T-6A trainer aircraft.

The T-6A, a tandem-cockpit aircraft, first arrived in Tikrit, Iraq, on16 December 2009, in preparation for the training.

Produced by Raytheon, the T-6A is a single-engine, two-seat primary trainer designed for joint primary pilot training (JPPT).

The fully aerobatic T-6A aircraft features a pressurised cockpit with an anti-g system, ejection seat and an advanced avionics package with sunlight-readable liquid crystal displays.

The first class will include 20 Iraqi Air Force pilots, some of which will continue training to become the first group of instructors at the college.

Training with T-6 aircraft will be the second step of an 18-month pilot training programme.

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Pilots selected for the training have completed 20 training hours in a Cessna 172 Skymaster, and learned basic flight and fundamentals.

The 52nd Expeditionary Flying Training Squadron (EFTS) commander Lt Col. Charles Westbrook said we’ll do contact aerobatic manoeuvres with loops and aileron rolls, instrument navigation training, low altitude and formation flying, and tactical training.

The 52nd EFTS operations officer Lt. Col. Jeff Myer said, “we’re covering the entire gamut needed to run a pilot training programme.

“Everything from simulator profiles to actual aircraft profiles, developing syllabuses – not only for primary training, but also the instructor syllabus and a senior-officer course syllabus,” he said.