Iraqi military plans major arms purchase
The Iraqi military has ordered equipment for its forces totaling more than $6 billion, according to sales notices sent to the US Congress. The weapons will be used to upgrade the equipment used by Iraqi Security Forces and expand their capabilities for internal and external defense.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency has sent eight Foreign Materials Sales Notices to Congress on Dec. 9 of potential arms sales to Iraq. The purchases were apparently funded by the Iraqi Supplemental Budget allocation passed this summer. The Iraqi Security Forces apparently chose to accelerate their equipment purchases with the surplus funds.
The Iraqi Navy's portion of these purchases doubles the number of patrol boats existing (5) or pending delivery (15) by adding 20 more. With the additional purchase of three support vessels, the Support Squadron grows to five vessels. While not adding a missile capability, this does double the gunboat component patrolling Iraq's coastline.
• 20x 30-35meter Coastal Patrol Boats.
• 3x 55-60 meter Offshore Support Vessels.
The Iraqi Air Force's portion of these purchases adds a training squadron and an additional armed reconnaissance helicopter squadron. It also adds two light attack squadrons or the attack component of four composite armed reconnaissance squadrons. This doubles the fixed wing training elements and almost doubles the previously reported light attack and armed reconnaissance helicopter components.
• 20 T-6A Texan trainer aircraft.
• 36 AT-6B Texan II Light Attack Aircraft.
• 26 Bell 407 Armed Helicopters, each equipped with a M280 2.75-inch Launcher, a XM296 .50 Cal. Machine Gun, and a M299 Hellfire Guided Missile Launcher.
The Iraqi Army's share of this budget was for personal arms and more M1 tanks. In addition to purchasing additional M16 rifles, M4 carbines, and grenade launchers to continue re-equipping the Iraqi Army with US-made personal weapons, the Iraqi Army is getting four more battalions worth of M1A1M Abrams Tanks for a total of eight tank battalions with support elements. This doubles the number of M1 tanks on order.
• 80,000 M16A4 Rifles
• 25,000 M4 Carbines
• 2,550 M203 40mm Grenade Launchers
• 140 M1A1 Abrams tanks modified and upgraded to the M1A1M Abrams configuration
• 8 M88A2 Tank Recovery Vehicles
• 64 M1151A1B1 Armored High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV)
• 92 M1152 Shelter Carriers
• 12 M577A2 Command Post Carriers
• 16 M548A1 Tracked Logistics Vehicles
• 8 M113A2 Armored Ambulances
• 35 M1070 Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) Truck Tractors
• 40 M978A2 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) Tankers
• 36 M985A2 HEMTT Cargo Trucks
• 4 M984A2 HEMTT Wrecker Trucks
• 140 M1085A1 5-ton Cargo Trucks
• 8 HMMWV Ambulances w/ Shelter
• 8 Contact Maintenance Trucks
• 16 2500 gal Water Tank Trucks
• 16 Motorcycles
• 16 Sedans
• 4 5,500-lb Rough Terrain Forklifts
The Iraqi National Police are getting M1126 Stryker Armored Personnel Carriers and M1117 Armored Security Vehicles. The M1117s are used exclusively by the Iraqi National Police component of the Iraqi Security Forces. The notice also specifies that the Strykers are for the Iraqi Police forces. The INP 1st Mechanized Brigade has a battalion of BTR-94s and three battalions of mixed M1117s and Reva Armored Personnel Carriers. The Iraqi National Police has reported plans to form a light mechanized division next year. This purchase combined with existing armor indicate the accelerated formation of two National Police (Stryker) light Mechanized Divisions.
• 400 M1117 Armored Security Vehicles
• 400 M1126 STRYKER Infantry Carrier Vehicles (ICVs)
• 8 Heavy Duty Recovery Trucks
The eighth notice to Congress included $485 million worth of radios and included 64 Deployable Rapid Assembly Shelters. The types of radios indicate that this is a joint service purchase as some of the radios are maritime, some are aviation, and others are ground. The inclusion of the shelters indicate that part of this order is for the communications element of the four mobile corps being formed in the Iraqi Army. Some of the remainder are probably for the additional air bases being established. The air-to-ground radios are probably for the 50 EC-635 Attack Helicopters being purchased from France.
This series of purchases accelerates the expansion of the Iraqi Army and National Police's mechanized forces. It provides the Iraqi Air Force with its first real ground attack force and an additional training squadron, while doubling the size of the Iraqi Navy. However, this is only the beginning of the upgrades needed to the Iraqi Security Forces before they can be independent. To date, there are no reported orders of howitzers, multiple rocket launchers, surface-air missiles, and naval missiles. Those are just a sampling of components still missing from the Iraqi Security Forces.
Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle