Wings of Iraq

Volume 1 - The Iraqi Air Force, 1931-1970

Tom Cooper, Milos Sipos

While virtually ‘born in battle', the Iraqi Air Force remains one of the least known and most misinterpreted military services in the Middle East.
Date Published :
October 2020
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Middle East@War
Illustration :
131 b/w photos, 7 b/w maps, 21 color profiles, numerous color insignia, 9 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781913118747
Pages : 96
Dimensions : 11.75 X 8.25 inches
Stock Status : Available


Officially established on 22 April 1931, around a core of five pilots and 32 aircraft mechanics, the Royal Iraqi Air Force was the first official native military flying service of any Arab country.

Founded to support the Iraqi armed forces and the British against revolts by local tribes, it saw extensive combat and gradually grew into a potent force. During the Anglo-Iraqi War of 1941, it became involved in its first conventional campaign in support of an anti-British coup but was destroyed as a fighting force. It was still recovering when deployed in combat again, this time against Israel in the course of the Palestine War of 1948-1949.

During the 1950s, the Royal Iraqi Air Force experienced a phase of unprecedented growth through the acquisition of several batches of modern British-built aircraft. The 14 Tammuz Revolution of 1958 toppled the British-imposed monarchy and cut the ties to London. For the next five years, the Iraqi Air Force (IrAF) maintained close links to the USSR and became the first Arab air force to operate types like the MiG-19 and MiG-21, and was the first equipped with Tupolev Tu-16 medium jet bombers.

Through the 1960s, the IrAF played a dominant role in internal Iraqi politics, determining the fate of the nation to an unprecedented degree, became involved in the June 1967 War with Israel, and were instrumental in the putsch of 1968 that brought the Ba’ath Party to power.

While virtually ‘born in battle’, the Iraqi Air Force remains one of the least known and most misinterpreted military services in the Middle East. Richly illustrated, Volume 1 of Wings of Iraq provides a uniquely compact yet comprehensive guide to its operational history, its crucial officers and aircraft, and its major operations from 1931 to 1970.

About The Author

Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and historian. Following a career in worldwide transportation business – during which he established a network of contacts in the Middle East and Africa – he moved into narrow-focus analysis and writing on small, little-known air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives. This has resulted in specialization in such Middle Eastern air forces as of those of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, plus various African and Asian air forces. Except for authoring and co-authoring more than 30 books - including about a dozen of titles for Helion’s @War series - and over 1000 articles, Cooper is a regular correspondent for multiple defense-related publications.

Milos Sipos is a Slovakian military historian. While pursuing a career in law, he has collected extensive documentation on inter-connected political, industrial, human resources and military-related affair in Iran, Iraq, and Syria. His core interest is a systematic approach to studies of their deep impacts upon combat efficiency and the general performance of local militaries. After more than 10 years of related work on the forum, he co-authored the much acclaimed book ‘Iraqi Mirages: The Dassault Mirage Family in Service with the Iraqi Air Force’. This is his second instalment for Helion.


"...excellent illustrations and abundant photographs accompany a detailed narrative on the creation of the Iraqi Air Force, its leadership, and its continual development into a well-equipped and professional service."

- Air Power History

"This book will be of great interest to aircraft modelers and military historians alike."

- AMPS Indianapolis

"Helion’s lavishly illustrated effort offers a sound launch pad to further study of Iraqi military aviation."

- Cybermodeler

"Of interest to air gamers are the air battles in 1941 between the Iraqi Air Force and the British RAF during the British invasion."

- Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

"As a modeler this book is a good history lesson of the county and how the RIrAF played an instrumental part in development. The unique paint schemes are an interesting option for modelers. The profiles are first rate and will prove inspirational. The overall book is very good. I will be adding more to my library. This volume will provide information and inspiration to the modeler."


"...a superb look into Middle East politics and why this part of the world is such a hot-bed of conflict."

- ModelingMadness.Com

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