Iraqi pilots have begun training on the first two F-16s purchased by their government.

The pair of fighters, delivered to Arizona this week, are among 36 that had been scheduled for delivery to Balad Air Base, Iraq. The decision was made this summer to instead send the first portion of the Iraqi-purchased jets to the U.S. after Islamic State militants took over swaths of Iraq and forced the evacuation of U.S. contractors from the base.

The two Iraqi-purchased F-16s arrived Tuesday in Tucson, where Iraqi airmen have been training on American-owned F-16s, according to an Air Combat Command news release. […]