31 Jul 2011

Fighter plane order doubled

7:57 am on 31 July 2011

Iraq is to purchase 36 F-16 fighter jets from the United States. This is double the initial number intended.

The initial purchase from Lockheed Martin was delayed after $US900 million in projected funding was put into a national food programme earlier this year.

Prime minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday that Iraq has to have airplanes to ''safeguard its sovereignty''.

Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq's air force was one of the largest in the region. However, the military was disbanded after the invasion in 2003.