Iraqi Student Pilot Killed In F-16 Crash In Arizona

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A Iraqi Air Force F-16 jet has crashed during a training mission in the US state of Arizona, leaving its Iraqi student pilot dead. 

The Air Force has assigned a team to investigate the crash, First Lt. Lacey Roberts of the Arizona Air National Guard’s 162nd Wing said on Wednesday.

Roberts said the US military is training Iraqi pilots to fly F-16s at the request of Iraqi government and the plane was on a routine training mission that was being conducted in conjunction with the 162nd Wing, which is based at Tucson International Airport when it crashed.

The pilot, whose identity was not released, died when his jet crashed about 80 miles (129 kilometers) northwest of Tucson on Tuesday.

His death was the second of an Iraqi pilot flying an F-16 that crashed in Arizona in recent years. In July 2015, an Iraqi brigadier general flying from the 162nd died when his F-16, a newer model recently delivered to the Iraqi air force, crashed during night training near Douglas.

In January 2016, a Taiwanese pilot on a training flight from Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix was killed when his F-16 went down in Yavapai County.

AFP file photo shows a take-off of a US Air force F-16 jet fighter.

The 162nd Wing is the Air Guard’s biggest F-16 training operation and conducts training missions across military ranges in southern and central Arizona.

In the past, the 162nd Wing has hosted training courses for pilots from Iraq, Singapore, Poland, Norway, Denmark, Oman, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

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