KIRKUK REGIONAL AIR BASE, Iraq– The Iraqi air force significantly enhanced its air defense capabilities recently with the arrival of a digital air surveillance radar system.

The DASR system, which includes the radar and the radar control facility, allows Iraqi air traffic controllers to monitor aircraft up to 120 nautical miles away, permitting them to detect aircraft along their borders with Syria, Turkey and Iran.

Brig. Gen. Ahmed Ghani, Iraqi air force communications director, called the arrival of the system “another historical day” for the service. “Through that system, we will identify more … aircraft entering our sovereignty,” he said at an Oct. 26 ceremony.

The radar signal eventually will be remotely accessible from Baghdad International Airport so air traffic controllers can see all the airspace in Iraq.

The system also brings the Kirkuk airfield up to international civil aviation and surveillance standards, giving it the potential for future commercial airline use.

“We started this process by installing over $53 million of air traffic control and navigation capabilities for the Iraqi air force more than three years ago,” U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Robert Kane, director of the Iraq Training and Advisory Mission Air Force, said.

“Beginning in August of 2006, our governments, air forces and civilian contractors cooperated to not only fund the purchase of this highly technical equipment, but to train the Iraqi air force personnel how to use it and maintain it,” Kane said. “I’m very proud to say that the Iraqi air force now possesses these capabilities.”

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KIRKUK REGIONAL AIR BASE, Iraq– The Iraqi air force significantly enhanced its air defense…