Harpia Publishing's Iraqi Airpower Reborn

Author/Artists: Arnaud Delalande


Harpia  Publishing


$29.95 MSRP from Casemate


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 80 pages, softcover,
ISBN 978-0-9854554-7-7

After Gulf War I and II, the Iraqi Air Force pretty well ceased to exist. The nation's military aircraft that were not flown to Iran, or buried in the desert were shot down. Nations of any size need to have some sort of air power, especially in a part of the world that is as unstable as where Iraq is situated. If nothing else, the country needed some sort of airlift capabilities and the ability to patrol its air space as well as take care of local unrest. If the US accomplished anything in Gulf War II, it was to take a fairly stable, though repressive nation and turn it into a battle ground for various religious factions. It is this sort of environment that pretty well determined the types of aircraft that would be needed.

With the help of funding from the United States and other nations in the area, including Iran, which is ironic in itself, the Iraqi Air Force has been able to slowly grow into a service that is both professional and is able to handle many of its internal needs. It is a pretty impressive feat to grow from just 35 personnel of all sorts in 2004 to what it is today.

This book continues as wide series of books that look at airpower in various parts of the world. It starts by providing a brief history of the air forces in Iraq since the first one was formed in 1931, while still under the mandate of the United Kingdom. It was involved briefly in conflict during WWII then by the various Israeli wars, coming to its peak of power during the Iran-Iraq conflict and later during Gulf War I.

However, this book is about that service since 2004. There are, after the brief history section, two main parts of this book. The first one deals with the aircraft that are flown by the Iraqi Air Force. It is further divided by mission so you have sections of fighters, transports, trainers and so on. This same division is used in the part dedicated to the Iraqi Army Aviation, though the majority of aircraft in this case are helicopters. Each of the aircraft covered also has a full listing of known serial numbers, constructor numbers, delivery date and if no longer in service, a reason why that is the case. Following this, is a section on future buys and ends with a chapter on the services in combat. There has been a great deal more combat than I thought when I first started reading. The new IQAF has been even more involved in the fight against ISIS since the US pulled out most of its forces. Since the book was published in early 2016, I'm sure that even more could have been written, especially now that ISIS is fairly well gone from Iraq.

In all the sections there are a goodly number of photos and full color profiles to accompany each of the sections. The actual number of different types and their sources is quite eye opening. It seems that when an air force is fairly small (at least by NATO standards, it tends to get a fairly small number of specific types of aircraft from a variety of different nations. Probably the most common aircraft in the skies of Iraq are Mi-8/17 helicopters of different variations. This makes sense when you think about it. When fighting insurgents, it is important to be able to quickly move troops into position. These transport helos are escorted by Mi-35 and Mi-28 attack helicopters, which have proven to be very useful.

Overall, it is a fascinating look at an air arm that few people may even realize exists. Well worth picking up.

May 2019

Review book courtesy of  Casemate Publishing, where you can order your copy at this link.

If you would like your product reviewed fairly and quickly, please contact the editor or see other details in the Note to Contributors.