Air Force transferring air traffic control to locals in Iraq

Monday - 9/26/2011, 7:00pm EDT

The Air Force says it is nearly ready to turn air traffic control in Iraq over to Iraqis, Air Force News Service reports.

As part of Operation New Dawn, Air Force air traffic controllers have been working side-by-side with Iraqi civilian controllers and airmen.

The goal is to transition the airspace back to Iraqi control before the last plane carrying Americans takes off.

Air Force officials say, communication is a big challenge, since most of the would-be Iraqi controllers know little English.

One Senior Airman tells the Air Force News service, the Iraqis listen for certain key words to know when they are supposed to take off or land.

The work takes place at Air Base Ali. Contractors are working on the effort along with military personnel.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.