Serious problems frequently arise with Iraqi F-16s, forcing Iraq to modernize and upgrade its fighter squadron
According to Topwar magazine, Iraqi F-16s purchased from the United States, after only a few years of operation, turned out to be unable to perform combat missions and are only suitable to delight the public at military parades.
According to military experts, the main reasons for the degradation of the F-16 squadron was the result of widespread corruption, which led to a financial shortage.
Despite the vastly invested Iraqi defense budget, the Iraqi Air Force’s fighter fleets are still considered the least inefficient in the Middle East. The two types of fighters that the Iraqi Air Force is using are 34 US F-16IQ Falcon fighters and 24 T-50s from South Korea.
It is important to point out that, among these fighters, the performance and combat effectiveness of the US F-16IQ Falcon fighter is still very limited. The US F-16IQ fighter was delivered to Iraq between 2014 and 2017, under the 2011 contract (2 units lost in plane crashes).
Despite the obvious shortcomings, pressure from the US forced Iraq to buy them. According to US military analysts, the Falcon version developed exclusively for the Iraqi Air Force has extremely low technical efficiency. These are arguably the lowest performing 4th generation fighters in the Middle East.
The Iraqi Falcon fighter jets are the only version of the F-16 not equipped with the AIM-120 long-range air-to-air missile. Instead, the planes were armed with only obsolete Cold War missiles, such as the AIM-7 Sparrow medium-range missile and AIM-9 short-range missile.
Even American military experts have to admit that these American missiles are useless. The AIM-7 missile lacks active radar navigation and electronic warfare measures. Iraq’s aircraft, therefore, cannot pose a threat to modern fighters.
For the AIM-9 missile, the missile’s features such as speed, maneuverability, target seeker and anti-jamming, are clearly much inferior to the Russian R-73 missile, which Iraq’s neighbors are Syria and Iran in use.