(AGI) Baghdad, Dec. 13 - The U.S. will deliver the first F-16fighter aircraft to the Iraqi Air Force by the end of December,with a three-month delay. The end of December is also thedeadline for bringing home the first group of Iraqi pilotstrained to use the fighters in the United States. Theannouncement was made on Saturday by Saad Hadithi, thespokesman of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, specifying thatthe U.S. announced the upcoming delivery during Secretary ofDefense Chuck Hagel's visit to Baghdad. Iraq has purchased atotal of 36 F-16 fighter aircraft from the United States, aspart of a broad defence agreement worth over 10 billiondollars. While waiting for the U.S. aircraft, in the face ofthe full-blown threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) militants,Russia sent its own Sukhoi Su-24 fighter aircraft to Iraq atthe end of June, thus compensating for Washington's delay.(AGI) . .