Iraq pushing to speed up purchase of L-159 fighter jets

The Iraqi government has intensified talks on the purchase of Czech-made Aero Vodochody L-159 trainer fighter jets, the ctk news agency reports. The head of the Aero company Ladislav Šimek told the ctk that after years of negotiations Iraq was pushing to acquire an unspecified number of trainer jets as soon as possible. The Iraqi military is reportedly to acquire the first batch of F-16 fighter jets from the US military in September and lacks trainer jets for its pilots. The Czech army, which acquired 72 of these planes 15 years ago, has 36 surplus aircraft which it has been trying to sell for some time. The Czech military is also close to signing a contract with the US firm Draken International.