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Iraqi Fighters: 1953–2003

Iraqi Fighters: 1953–2003 Book Review

By David L. Veres

Date of Review July 2016 Title Iraqi Fighters: 1953–2003
Author Ahmad Sadik, Tom Cooper Publisher Harpia Publishing, LLC
Published 2008 ISBN 9780615214146
Format 156 pages, softbound MSRP (USD) $64.95


If you missed this vital volume when it first appeared, grab it – now.

Available again in North America from Casemate, Iraqi Fighters: 1953–2003: Camouflage & Markings from Harpia Publishing recaps 13 major jet warplane types:

  • deHavilland Vampires & Venoms
  • Hawker Hunters
  • Mikoyan i Gurevich MiG-17s
  • Mikoyan i Gurevich MiG-19s
  • Mikoyan i Gurevich MiG-21s
  • Mikoyan i Gurevich MiG-23s
  • Mikoyan i Gurevich MiG-25s
  • Mikoyan i Gurevich MiG-29s
  • Dassault Mirage F.1s
  • Sukhoi Su-7s
  • Sukhoi Su-20/22s
  • Sukhoi Su-24s
  • Sukhoi Su-25s

Why 1953? Because, Ahmad Sadik and Tom Cooper reveal, lack authoritative “available material” precluded coverage of earlier periods – forcing authors to start “in the middle”.

Not that it really mattered. Harpia still musters metaphorical mountains of minutiae on Iraqi aircraft acquisitions, service, deployment, combat and fates.

Modelers will love it. In addition to dozens of B&W and color photos, co-author Cooper’s reliably outstanding color profiles – many with inset unit badge details – superbly sample the sumptuous swath of Iraqi warplane camouflage.

It’s stocked with surprises, too.

Did you know that Iraq employed radar-guided missiles – originally intended for MiG-21 fighters – on Mi-24 attack helicopters during the Iran-Iraq war? How about those MiG-25RBT bombers?

The old triangular Iraqi insigne design also symbolizes the country’s shape. Cooper’s profile of that No.9 Squadron MiG-21bis in “naval camouflage” nearly gave me whiplash. And some Iraqi Su-22s inexplicably sported four fuselage insignia!

Abbreviations, source notes, kit & decal list, and index complete coverage.

I can quibble about Iraqi combat claims, but I loved this incandescent effort. It remains the ideal companion to Harpia’s recently released Iraqi Air Power Reborn: The Iraqi air arms since 2004 – as well as to the publisher’s brilliant, multi-volume Arab MiGs series.

Rabidly recommended!

With thanks to Casemate for the review copy.