ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Baghdad announced on Tuesday that they had received two T-50 jet fighters from South Korea as part of the deal signed in 2013 between the two countries.
The first two-jet batch arrived in a military airbase in Baghdad and “additional T-50 jet fighters are to arrive in batches in the near future as part of the agreement,” Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesperson Tahseen al-Khafaji said in a statement.
He mentioned that a team of Iraqi pilots had been trained in South Korea and that they are ready to operate the T-50 jets.
In 2017, Baghdad stated that it would receive 24 jets from Seoul as part of the 2013 Iraqi-Korean agreement.
The 24 jets, including training, are valued at $1.1 billion, but Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) announced that it will also provide support for the aircraft for over 20 years, pushing the total value of the deal as high as $2 billion.
In addition to military agreements with South Korea, Baghdad has signed deals with the US and Russia to buy tanks, armored vehicles, helicopters, fighter jets, and other heavy equipment. Iraqi officials say they are building up their military arsenal to combat terrorists and insurgent groups in the country.
Iraqi security forces were among those who fought the Islamic State (IS) to liberate large swaths of territories which were controlled by the jihadist group since mid-2014. In December, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced victory the jihadist group.
Editing by John J. Catherine