Iraqi Security Forces Five Year Plan: An updated projection

In August 2007, the Projected Iraqi Security Forces Five Year Plan (end-2012), a rough estimate of the end-state for Iraqi forces, was published. Additional information and details have since become available to clarify Iraqi Security Force (ISF) development and probable plans, however, the same rule applies: What follows is heavy on speculation, estimation, and extrapolations. If sixty percent proves accurate, the estimate will be considered good. Many of the decisions that affect what is being projected here have not been made yet.

Changes from previous factors and basic assumptions are underlined in this portion and should be kept in mind when reviewing this update:

1. This is an estimate of the planned state of the main forces by the end of 2012.

2. The principal role of the Iraqi Army (IA) is external security. Internal security is a secondary role for IA.

3. The primary and secondary countries posing an external threat are Iran and Syria.

4. The Iraqi Ground Forces Command (IGFC) sectors are not the basis for the Iraqi Army Corps. There are to be four active corps.

5. Iraqi Special Operations Force (ISOF) is considered a five-brigade strategic reserve with brigades assigned as needed.

6. The Iraqi Army is projected to grow to 20 divisions (including ISOF as a division equivalent).

7. The mechanization of the heavy components of the Iraqi Army and the artillery will probably be incomplete.

8. An Iraqi Army reserve probably will be based on existing Ministry of Interior paramilitary formations.

9. The principal forces for internal security belong to the Ministry of Interior (MoI).

10. The Iraqi National Police (INP) is currently inadequate for the planned primary internal security role.

11. The Iraqi National Police is expanding to a minimum of four or five divisions. In addition to police training, it is trained and operates as light infantry in wartime.

12. The Department of Border Enforcement (DBE) requires further expansion in logistics and may get artillery.

13. Kurdish Regional Guards (KRG) is being re-designated as army and police.

14. The KRG is retaining one de facto active IA (V) corps of three divisions and transferring two other divisions to the other IA active corps.

15. The Iraqi Air Force has a long-term plan for 38 squadrons in 10 years. It will be an army centric force.

16. The Operational Commands are not the basis of the four active corps, but will be used as joint corps/division headquarters for mobilization.

17. Provisional Emergency Response Units (ERU) and Brigades (ERB) would be mobilized as infantry in an emergency, and probably are planned to be incorporated into the INP/DBE.

Iraqi Special Operations Forces Command (ISOF): ISOF is forming a 2nd Brigade composed of the four independent regional battalions and a new Garrison Support Unit. These battalions are also getting a regional counter-terrorism center (RCTC) and a support detachment from the new forming GSU. They probably will expand to a total of five brigades, with each composed of a brigade special troops battalion (BSTB) formed from expanding the RCTC, two commando or counter-terrorism battalions, a Mi-17 equipped helicopter squadron, and a brigade support battalion (BSB) formed from expanding the GSU detachments. This is the same organization that the Baghdad-based 1st ISOF Brigade is transitioning to when the 15th Special Operations Squadron completes training in early 2009. ISOF will be under the Counter-Terrorism Bureau in peacetime.

Iraqi Air Force (IZAF): This is still the least clear component in the ISF. One key detail that was mentioned in December’s 9010 Quarterly Report to Congress is that there is a long-term plan for 38 squadrons. These squadrons would not be built by the end of 2012. They are probably planned for the end of 2018 timeframe. Very few details have been released, so what follows is mostly best guesses (SWAG).

Currently building, operational, and announced planned is 10 squadrons. There are seven IZAF squadrons built or building at this time, with 10 planned by the end of 2008. Most of them are helicopter, training, and reconnaissance/utility composite squadrons. The three forming by the end of 2008 are a training squadron and two utility/reconnaissance squadrons. Of note, the Mi17 has been chosen as primary helicopter for the IZAF since they have 900 pilots and engineers with experience in this helicopter – enough for 10 squadrons of 22 Mi17 each.

• Fixed wing (6):

• 23rd Transport Squadron with three C130s and planning to acquire six more. 40 C130s were mentioned as planned last fall.

• 3rd Utility/Reconnaissance Squadron with CH2000, Cessna Caravan ISR, King Air 350ISR and King Air transports. Expect to get a light attack capability in 2009-10.

• 70th Utility/Reconnaissance Squadron with CH2000, Cessna Caravan ISR, King Air 350ISR and King Air transports. Expect to get a light attack capability in 2009-10.

• ??? Utility/Reconnaissance Squadron planned. Expect to get a light attack capability in 2009-10.

• ??? Utility/Reconnaissance Squadron planned. Expect to get a light attack capability in 2009-10.

• 12th Training Squadron (Fixed Wing) with Cessna 172 basic trainers.

• Rotary wing (4):

• 2nd Utility Squadron with UH-1 Hueys. Probably will expand and be reassigned to Navy/Marine support.

• 4th Transport Squadron with Mi17s. Probably will be assigned to direct support of 6th Division in the future.

• 15th Special Operations Squadron to receive Special Ops version of Mi17 in 2009. Training with 4th Sq now. Assigned direct support to ISOF.

• ??? Training Squadron (Rotary) with Jet Rangers. Doubling the number of helicopters this year.

Probably planned by the end of 2012 is approximately 25 squadrons. Most of the assets gained will be army support and predominately Mi17s because of the availability of aircrews that require only refresher training. The following includes the above squadrons.

• Fixed wing (6-10):

• One or two C130-equipped Transport Squadrons. As the US upgrades to C130J, the older airframes will become available.

• Four Composite Squadrons providing utility transport, reconnaissance, and light attack capabilities.

• One Training Squadron.

• Zero-three jet trainer/light attack aircraft are possible but, probably planned for later.

• Rotary wing (11-20):

• One Utility Helicopter Squadron for maritime support.

• Four Mi17 equipped Squadrons assigned as direct support, one per brigade to 6th Airmobile Division.

• Five Mi17 equipped Special Operations Squadrons assigned as direct support, one per brigade to ISOF.

• Zero-nine Composite Helicopter Squadrons with transport (Mi17), scout, and attack helicopters. Assigned as corps’ support. These may be organized as three squadrons of each type for peacetime operations.

• One Training Squadron.

Possibly planned by the end of 2018 are 38 Squadrons but, the composition is more nebulous the farther out you project. Many of these squadrons may be under strength because of the cost and delivery time of aircraft.

• Fixed wing (18):

• Two C130-equipped Transport Squadrons.

• Four Composite Squadrons providing utility transport, reconnaissance, and light attack capabilities.

• Three jet trainer/light attack aircraft.

• Eight Fighter Squadrons.

• One Training Squadron.

• Rotary wing (20):

• One Utility Helicopter Squadron for maritime support.

• Four Mi17 equipped Transport Squadrons assigned as direct support, one per brigade to 6th Airmobile Division.

• Five Mi17 equipped Special Operations Squadrons assigned as direct support, one per brigade to ISOF.

• Nine Composite Helicopter Squadrons with transport (Mi17), scout, and attack helicopters. Assigned as corps’ support.

• One Training Squadron.

Iraqi Navy and Marines: The only significant change to this projection from the previous is that delivery of the new vessels has been delayed six months to a year and the Iraqi Marines have added a 2nd Battalion assigned to Umm Qasr port security. The Iraqi Marines are still likely to become a brigade by the end of 2012.

Iraqi Ground Forces Command: The principal role of the IGFC is external security and the components for that role are to be added starting 2009. The IGFC is currently announced at four corps, 10 IA divisions (growing to 14), and five Kurdish divisions plus independent brigades. Each division is to have four line brigades. Two of the Kurdish divisions are to be assigned to the IGFC’s four corps while the remaining three form the de facto fifth active corps – the Kurdish Regional Guards (KRG) Corps. The old IGFC sectors are not the basis of organization. The operational commands are not the basis for these army corps. The following corps designations and subordinations are notional – that is, one way to imagine how the IGFC units could be organized and named.

I (Strike) Corps. Acts as national strategic reserve.

• • Presidential (Armored Cavalry) Brigade – central Baghdad

• 6th Commando Division – southern Baghdad

• 9th Armored Division – northern Baghdad

• 11th Armored Division – eastern Baghdad

• 15th Airborne Division – western Baghdad

II (Central) Corps. Threat focus is the central Iranian border.

• • ? Armored Cavalry Brigade – Balad

• 4th Mechanized Division – Kirkuk

• 5th Mechanized Division – Diyala

• 12th Motorized Division – Salahadin

• ? (KRG) Mountain Division – Sulmaniyah

III (Southern) Corps. Threat focus is the southern Iranian border.

• • ? Armored Cavalry Brigade – Karbala

• 1st Mechanized Division – east Anbar/Karbala

• 8th Motorized Division – Wassit/Babil/Qadisayah/Najaf

• 10th Motorized Division – Maysan/DhiQar/Muthanna

• 14th Mechanized Division – Basrah

IV (Western) Corps. Threat focus is the Syrian border with a secondary role as a strategic reserve element.

• • ? Armored Cavalry Brigade – Ninawa

• 2nd Mechanized Division – eastern Ninawa

• 3rd Mechanized Division – western Ninawa

• 7th Mechanized Division – western Anbar

• ? (KRG) Mountain Division – Dohuk

Kurdish Regional Guards (Northern) Corps. Threat focus is the northern Iranian border.

• ? (KRG) Mountain Division – Irbil

• ? (KRG) Mountain Division – Dohuk

• ? (KRG) Mountain Division – Sulmaniyah

IA Corps: Each corps is likely to consist of a support brigade, three to four divisions, one armored cavalry brigade, one or more artillery brigades, one ISOF or 6th Division airmobile brigade (attached), a composite aviation squadron (attached), and an engineering brigade/regiment. Additional elements may be assigned to active corps for mobilization corps.

IA Divisions: Division troops consist of a special troops battalion (headquarters), probably a reconnaissance battalion, and a Base Defense Unit (battalion).

• Divisions will have a Location Command (Support Brigade) composed of a Brigade Special Troops Battalion (BSTB), a motor-transport regiment, a Base Support Unit (Support Battalion), and a maintenance battalion. The Division will also have one or two engineer battalions.

• The Divisional Field Artillery Regiment will be composed of a Headquarters and six field artillery battalions (four attached to brigades). An air defense artillery battalion will probably be assigned to the artillery regiment.

• Each Division will have four line brigades. Armored divisions will have three armored brigades and one mechanized brigade. Mechanized divisions will have four brigades — one armored, two mechanized, and one motorized. Infantry, motorized, and mountain divisions will have four type brigades. One brigade will be airmobile qualified.

IA Line Brigades: The IA line brigades will consist of a Brigade Special Troops Battalion, an attached artillery battalion, and three (four or five for independent brigades) line battalions. Armor brigades have two armor battalions and a mechanized battalion. Mechanized brigades have an armor battalion and two mechanized battalions. Motorized, infantry, and mountain brigades have three type battalions.

Iraqi National Police (INP): The current INP is three divisions. According to the Senior Deputy of the Ministry of Interior: “  we are forming brigades in each a national police brigade in each province .” There are 18 Iraqi provinces but, four rate more than one brigade:

• Baghdad rates a reinforced division due to population (6.6 million).

• Basrah rates two brigades for its high population (2 million).

• Mosul rates two brigades for its population (1.7 million).

• Anbar rates two or three brigades because of its large geographical area.

Current plans for one support brigade are insufficient for support of this sized force, and an additional support brigade for each division will be required to support deployability. Each division will probably have a mechanized brigade and three-four motorized brigades. The expansion of the INP will probably be from redesignating and retraining most of the current 26-plus emergency response brigade equivalents. The INP is increasing to a five- to nine-division structure. It is possible that the smaller four operational commands represent future INP divisional headquarters since the INP is to take over internal security eventually. Using six INP divisions of five brigades each (including one mechanized brigade) plus the expansion of the INP Emergency Response Unit, a possible total of 31 brigades is arrived at. Notional future INP organization:

• Division in Mosul with the mechanized brigade and a regular INP brigade plus a brigade each in Dohuk, Sulmaniyah, and Irbil.

• 3rd INP Division with the mechanized brigade in Tikrit and a regular INP brigade each in Bayji, Samarra, Kirkuk, and Diyala.

• Division in Baghdad (1st INP Division?) with a mechanized brigade, four regular INP brigades, plus an expanded Emergency Response Unit (brigade).

• Division in Anbar (probably Provincial Security Force converted) with a mechanized brigade and three regular INP brigades plus a regular INP brigade in Karbala. (Pilgrimages will require regular deployments from Anbar to Karbala to reinforce. Anbar and Karbala already have security coordination ongoing.)

• Division in Babil with the mechanized brigade and a regular INP brigade plus a brigade each in Wassit, Diwaniyah, and Najaf.

• Division in Basrah with the mechanized brigade and a regular INP brigade plus a brigade each in Maysan, DhiQar, and Muthanna.

Department of Border Enforcement (DBE): The five DBE Regions will add support brigades and probably field artillery, but the artillery will be in-progress at best by the end of 2012. The line brigades will probably grow to four battalions each. Some of the current emergency response brigades will probably be retrained/re-designated as DBE. DBE structure indicates eight additional brigades planned (five division headquarters, but only 12 brigades current).

Notional Mobilization Plan. Click to view.

Wartime mobilization of combined forces: The original projection in August 2007 was based on the six sectors of the Iraqi Ground Forces Command becoming corps sectors because six was the minimum number of corps necessary for covering the Iranian border frontage. The estimate of 20 Divisions and 6-12 reserve divisions was calculated as the most that could be built by the end-2012. This projection has been changed since the original projection did not factor in Ministry of Interior (MoI) formations being used as a wartime emergency reserve. The four active IA corps (with the KRG Corps) should be looked at as wartime Army Groups of two or three corps each with three to five divisions to each corps, eight or nine divisions to the army group: A total of nine wartime corps in the Iraqi Security Forces.

The five active corps are additional to the operational commands (OC). These joint headquarters commands vary in size from division to corps and would be used as mobilization headquarters. The Anbar, Baghdad, Basrah, and Ninawa OCs are corps-level headquarters while the Samarra, Karbala, Diyala, and DhiQar OCs plus the Rusafa and Karkh Area Commands are divisional level headquarters. MoI’s paramilitary elements combined with the Joint Operational Commands expand the combined Iraqi field force to approximately 36 division equivalents from the 20 active Iraqi Army divisions. The de facto IA wartime reserve is the five to nine INP Divisions, the three DBE Division equivalents with five Divisional HQs, and the five division equivalents of Emergency Response Units/Battalions (76+), which are already organized as Brigades and a Division (Anbar PSF) with the OCs filling in the current missing division and corps headquarters.

• 4 corps/15 divisions/65 brigades of Iraqi Army (including ISOF).

• 1 corps/05 divisions/20+ brigades of Kurdish Regional Guards (KRG).

• 0 corps/01 divisions/26+ brigades of known IP emergency response forces.

• 0 corps/04 divisions/20+ brigades of Iraqi National Police (INP).

• 0 corps/05 divisions/12 brigades of Department of Border Enforcement (DBE).

• 4 corps/06 divisions/00 brigades of Operational Command headquarters.

• 9 corps/36 divisions/143 brigades total

In wartime, the ISOF and 6th Division commando brigades would probably be assigned to the nine corps as corps reserve. The corps reserve would also get the independent mechanized and INP mechanized brigades as their armored cavalry (reconnaissance) brigades. The INP will probably expand the number of Light Mechanized Brigades to one per Division.

When it is announced, the artillery establishment will give away the total number of divisions/corps planned. Except for the DBE, the MoI has no requirement for field artillery so the IA will probably form extra regiments/brigades for round-out of the Iraqi Police Infantry Divisions.

This concludes my projection of the five-year plan of the ISF. Whether or not this estimation of planned forces is accurate, much of the following is still useful for analysis of the Iraqi Table of Organization and Equipment (TO/E). What follows is a working checklist and notes of current missing or deficient items in the IA TO/E:

Battalion:

_____Senior NCO Shortage. Again, only time and experience can correct this.

__/__Mortar Batteries. Battalions are in the process of receiving their mortar batteries.

__/__Heavy Weapons Sections. Battalions are still in the process of receiving heavy weapons.

__/__Motorization. Iraqi army is to be motorized by the end of 2009.

Brigade:

_____Senior NCO Shortage. Only time and experience can correct this.

__/__Brigade Combat Engineer/EOD elements. These are being trained but are a work in progress.

_____Field Artillery Battalions. IA has not formed or started training the brigades’ indirect fire-support battalions. These are scheduled for 2009.

__/__Medical. Medical personnel are still in training.

__/__Communications. Equipment and qualified personnel shortages exist. Training is ongoing.

_____Brigade Support Battalions (BSB). As the brigades become fully motorized and gain their artillery battalions, they will need to add BSBs. Only the brigades of the 9th Division and ISOF have BSBs so far.

Division:

__/__Leadership.

_____Intelligence. An intelligence and reconnaissance company (scout company) is insufficient for both roles at division level. A dedicated military intelligence company is needed.

__/__Medical. Medical shortages in equipment, facilities and personnel. In progress.

_____Communications. Equipment and qualified personnel shortages exist.

_____Engineer Battalions. The division engineering regiments’ components are partially formed. The training of engineers/EOD has been slow.

_____FA Regiments. The formation of the divisions’ fires brigades (FA) has not started. These regiments are scheduled for 2009/10.

_____Division Reconnaissance Battalion. The divisions’ special troops battalion has a scout company, but that is insufficient for division level and they are probably expanding the SOF/reconnaissance capability of the divisions.

_____Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Battalions. While there are reports of Iraqi MoD shopping for anti-aircraft missiles, no ADA battalions have been announced as planned. Standard US Army TO/E is one ADA battalion per division, while other countries have ADA brigade or regiment per division.

__/__Maintenance Battalions. Expanding.

__/__Motor Transport Regiments. Three of the 12 infantry divisions are still forming their MTRs. The 9th Division already has a maintenance battalion but does not have an MTR. Expect the 9th to add an MTR and to form a support brigade.

__/__Location Commands. Formation of a support brigade in each division composed of a BSU, MTR, and maintenance battalion is in progress.

Corps:

_____Leadership.

_____Intelligence. Forming at this level.

_____Medical. Forming at this level.

_____Communications. Forming at this level.

_____Corps Support Brigades. Unformed. The previously identified corps’ level elements have been cannibalized for the expanding divisional support.

_____Corps Independent Brigades. Normally, corps have additional field artillery, ADA, engineer, aviation, and other brigades. The Presidential Brigade is the only brigade announced forming.

Army:

_____Leadership. There is a limited pool of trustworthy senior officers and NCOs.

__/__Intelligence. Intelligence at Army/Ministry level has improved.

__/__Medical. Work in progress.

__/__Communications. Work in progress.

__/__Logistics. The National Depots are expanding and a maintenance depot is being established. Divisional Location Commands filling out. Corps and Brigade level deficient.

_____Artillery. Nonexistent. It is scheduled to start in 2009.

_____Air Defense. Nonexistent. Only ATC radars are fielded and there are reports that tactical anti-aircraft missile are being shopped for by MoD.

_____Aviation. Iraqi Air Force is an under-strength transport and reconnaissance group. The Iraqi Air Force is grossly insufficient in size and capabilities.

_____Engineers/EOD. At all levels the engineers/EOD elements are short on trained personnel and equipment.

__/__APCs/MRAPs/HMMWVs. The additional purchases of trucks and HMMWVs indicate a plan to be fully motorized by the end of 2009.

_____Armor. There are not enough tanks to fill the 9th division. That is being filled out later in 2008. The IA requires a minimum of six additional mechanized/armored divisions to counter the probable threat (Iran and its ally Syria).

_____Size. The Iraqi Army remains deficient in leadership, logistics, artillery, mortars, engineers/EOD, APCs, armor, and most of all size. Current announced force structure would require 150,000-200,000 more personnel to fill out mission components in their TO/E.

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27 Comments

  • David M says:

    The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 06/30/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Mike
    No. Old habits from 22 years as an USN IS…
    Every country and colony in the world has a two letter code in military reporting. Iraq got IZ.
    (IR was already taken by Iran.)
    Originaly they did not use Q in the codes because it was too easily confused or garbled with O.
    The pub with the list of codes is unclas and available online.
    Some require knowledge of the area from the 40s and 50s to understand. E.G. CE = Sri Lanka (Ceylon).

  • masayo says:

    DJ, would you expect Iraqi Armored/Mechanized Divisions to be built along the same structure as US Divisions? The standard US Brigage appears to be 1 Tank Battalion, 1 Mech Infantry and 1 Cavalry Squadron for Regular Army Heavy Divisions. For National Guard Heavy Brigades, 2 Tank Battalions and 1 Mech Infantry (Armored Brigade) or 1 Tank Battion and 2 Mech Infantry (Mechanized Infantry Brigade) in the National Guard. Perhaps with attached Cavalry Brigades, the National Guard structure might make more sense. I think I counted 9 Tank/Mechanized Divisions, that adds up to 2000 plus tanks…(You do mention they have a long way to go to get there).

  • DJ Elliott says:

    masayo
    DJ, would you expect Iraqi Armored/Mechanized Divisions to be built along the same structure as US Divisions?
    – Not current structure. Pre-modular with 4 Bdes each vice the US 3.
    The standard US Brigage appears to be 1 Tank Battalion, 1 Mech Infantry and 1 Cavalry Squadron for Regular Army Heavy Divisions.
    – That is the modular brigade standard.
    198 tanks per Mech Div when fully formed.
    I expect 153 per in 2012.
    One Mech Bde motorized temporarily
    7 Mech Divs. 1071 in 2012 with target of 1474 later.
    (includes training establishment)
    M48/M60 Pattons
    260 tanks per Armor Div when fully formed.
    – 9th Div with 2 armor and one mech bde with T72s and one armor bde of T55s.
    – 11th Div to get M1s eventually but to initially get pattons that are missing from the seven mech divs pending receipt of M1s…
    Bdes organized into the classic 2:1 battalion ratios for mech and armor.
    Just under 2000 tanks unless they also put tanks into the independent bdes…

  • Alex says:

    I’ve wrote to my congressmen asking them to encourage diplomacy and cooperation with our allies that are (or could be) supplying Iraq with tanks, namely Greece. So far all I’ve gotten back is generic form letters about how they welcome my comments on the Iraq War. Sigh…
    Any chance that Iraq MoD starts shopping around for German Leopards, French Leclercs or British Challengers if the M60 deal continues to go this slow, or is this just the nature of things? How would those allied tanks compare to the M1 Abrams?

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Alex
    The reason the Greeks are disposing of the pattons is because they are getting Leopards to replace and need to stay within CFE treaty limits.
    Germany will not sell weapons to Iraq. Law.
    France would have to start production. Same with the rest. 2 years to get significant numbers after a contract is signed.
    Buying new would cost twice as much as getting M60-120S. 3 million per M1, Challenger, or AMX40.
    1.5 mil for the upgraded M60s if they do a full upgrade, 200,000 if as is.
    Your sudgestion to replace the Pattons expected to be delivered with new tanks would cost 4.5 Billion USD.
    As is the Pattons cost 300 Million.
    Upgraded to M60-120S cost 2.25 Billion.

  • Trophy Wench says:

    Speaking of France, do you foresee any sort of future role in the French resupplying the ISF? I know that you are aware of the possible Gazelle deal, but do you believe that other equipment could be procured, including (but not limited to) AMX-30’s, Caesar SP howitzers, Mirage 2000’s, and support for existing French equipment? I would think that this is plausible given the fact that they not only have an history with Iraq but the fact that France is one of the largest arms suppliers in the middle east as well.
    Additionally has the IA had or currently has any inclination to procure modern Russian equipment BMP-3’s, T-80’s, etc. or are they just going to continue to use the largely ‘legacy’ equipment from eastern European stocks? It also seems that anything that is ‘modern Russian equipment’ has been gotten vicariously through their Arab allies, all the while the Ukraine and the Czech Republic are missing golden opportunities to resupply the ISF with said modern equipment. (I would say Poland too but it appears they blew their chance.)

  • Alex says:

    Wow, didn’t realize that there would have been such a big price difference.
    I am wondering, what does the OOB of the Peshmerga/Kurdish Regional Guard look like? Wikipedia has them having armored vehicles and tanks, which I am guessing is loot from captured Republican Guard/Old IA units.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Trophy Wench
    Speaking of France, do you foresee any sort of future role in the French resupplying the ISF?
    – AMX40s you mean (AMX30s are no longer in production or French inventory.)
    – I am fairly sure the French are angling for the IZAF contracts. As for ground equipment, the French do not have such a good reputation there.
    Additionally has the IA had or currently has any inclination to procure modern Russian equipment BMP-3’s, T-80’s, etc. or are they just going to continue to use the largely ‘legacy’ equipment from eastern European stocks?
    – Some of the Mi17s actually were bought from Russia as well as small arms. The fall out from the poorly serviced contracts by Russia is part of the reason they are trying to go western…
    – There are no plans to equip with Soviet equipment except in 9th Div, Mi17s, and the BMPs. They have gotten all of that equipment (except Mi17s) from salvage and NATO legacy equipment.
    – The Mi17s may or may not be the exception. They are to be the backbone of the rotary-wing establishment due to the 900 pilots and engineers already experienced with them.
    It also seems that anything that is ‘modern Russian equipment’ has been gotten vicariously through their Arab allies,
    – No. Most of the RS equipment came from NATO countries. The donations from the Arab countries have been few and much was western.
    all the while the Ukraine and the Czech Republic are missing golden opportunities to resupply the ISF with said modern equipment.
    – Again no. Ukraine is the source of the BTR80/BTR3E1.
    – Czech is the source of the SOF Mi17s to be delivered in early 2009.
    (I would say Poland too but it appears they blew their chance.)
    – Still in play. DZIK3 deal was good, (they botched Mi17 deal by subcontracting to RS).
    Sources of Soviet equipment:
    – T55s – salvage
    – T72s – NATO/Hungary
    – T72s (next batch) – NATO/Slovakia & Slovienia
    – BMP1 – Salvage and NATO/Greece (former DDR)
    – MTLB – Salvage
    – BTR80 – Ukraine
    – BTR3E1 – Ukraine
    – BTR94 – Donation from Jordan
    – Mi17s – Poland, Russia, and (currently) Czech.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Alex:
    Wow, didn’t realize that there would have been such a big price difference.
    – Used tanks originally built in the 1960s vs new.
    I am wondering, what does the OOB of the Peshmerga/Kurdish Regional Guard look like? Wikipedia has them having armored vehicles and tanks, which I am guessing is loot from captured Republican Guard/Old IA units.
    – OOB of KRG is not very clear.
    – The KRG captured armor from the old 1st and 5th Mech Divisions has not been seen operational in over three years. Some of the armor has been seen as static displays…
    – KRG terrain is not very supportive of armor.
    – Wikipedia is not a valid source…

  • Trophy Wench says:

    No DJ, I really do mean AMX-30. To my current knowledge the French army should still have some hundreds in their reserve and surplus stocks, and some Arab nations do use them currently. And because it is comparable to the M-60 I had figured that it was logical that the French government could conceivably dump them in Iraq. Or is the M-60 such a foregone conclusion at this point that any other tank at this point (other than the Abrams of course) not even on their radar right now?
    As for the missed opportunities comment, I meant to imply that they could be doing more to supply the ISF and doing it more directly too. I know that the Czech Republic and the Ukraine have delivered the Hip’s and BTR-3/80’s and that’s a good start. In following with the speculation of this report, I personally don’t find it too inconceivable that Iraq could be supplied with L-159 trainers/ light attack aircraft, KMDB upgrade packages for their tanks and new build Ukrainian T- series. But as I said originally, the willingness of the GoI to go to more genuinely western equipment rather than the modern, westernized, Soviet derived equipment that they offer that I think a nation like Iraq may (emphasis on may) be using in the future.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    TW
    To the best of my knowledge, there are no countries looking to dispose of what AMX-30s they have.
    Greece, the source of 80 percent of Iraq’s BMP1s, is disposing of 400 M48s and 671 M60s over the near future. They are replacing them with Leopards and need to stay within CFE treaty limits. And no other country has expressed a desire for them. Iraq’s second ranking officer has stated they were to get M60s…
    Plus there are 403 more M60s that the USMC has replaced with M1s that are available…
    Is it possible that Iraq might get some AMX-30s. Anything is possible, but there are no indications of such a deal. There are for the Pattons.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    TW
    I am not disregarding your input without reason.
    I started looking for potential armor for Iraq three years ago and the AMX30 was on the initial list.
    But:
    – Only 2300 AMX30s were ever built
    – France has 614 in inventory: 3 Mech Div’s worth.
    – They are also a signatory to the CFE treaty which limits the total number of MBTs they can have.
    – With the possible exception of Spain’s 299, Greece’s 130, and UAE’s 64; none of the countries are likely to dispose of them. EG Saudi is unlikely to donate their 290.
    On the other hand:
    – over 20,000 pattons were built and are used in 29 countries.
    – Most of NATO has or is in process of disposing theirs to stay within CFE while upgrading to Leopards.
    – Greece is already providing arms to Iraq and is disposing of their pattons as they upgrade to Leopards so as to stay within CFE.
    – The second ranking officer in the IA stated publically that they were to get M60s…
    If you have anything other than hypothetical, I would love to see it…

  • DJ Elliott says:

    To put the arms buys into perspective. Keep in mind that the numbers I quoted above do not include support or the other combat vehicles that work with the tanks.
    //www.iraqupdates.com/p_articles.php/article/33274
    “Iraq wants to raise its 2008 budget by 44% to a record $70bn, cashing in on record oil prices to rebuild shattered infrastructure, reported Reuters.”
    – Approximately 25 percent of the GoI budget goes to ISF. Much of that is absorbed just to pay wages.
    – US funding of ISF is steadly being cut. this year it was 3 billion. Next year is expected to be 1-2 billion…

  • Academic Man says:

    Speaking of re-equiping the Iraqi AF, is there any possibility of providing trainer jets to Iraq?
    Specifically, I remember reading numerous articles in the last year about how the Czech Republic is looking for customers for the L-159 ALCA. There were deals in the works with Nigeria and Bolivia, but for various reasons, they fell through. Given that the previous IZAF had L-39s in their inventory, it would seem to be a logical choice. Or am I wrong here?

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Academic Man:
    “Speaking of re-equiping the Iraqi AF, is there any possibility of providing trainer jets to Iraq?”
    – The Iraqis do not expect to PURCHASE jets until 2011 at the earliest.
    – They are still rebuilding infrastructure, maint, and basic COIN while fighting a war…
    – The US is reducing spending on Iraq, not increasing, Jets are expensive. And will be bought on the Iraqi dime.
    I am aware of them studying possible jet trainer/light atack aircraft, including a South Korean one. No decisions or budget yet. If they go thru FMS, we will probably hear about in the next year.

  • Trophy Wench says:

    T/A-50? no way! Guess the Iraqis are really gunning for them F-16’s.
    Getting back to your previous post DJ, Unfortunately I am being rather hypothetical but as you said yourself, it is not totally outside the realm of possibility. Regardless, do you believe that the Iraqis have/ want the chance to buy upgrade packages or upgraded tanks, T-72’s, M-60’s et al.? because the way I look at it, stock T-72’s, T-55’s and M-60’s are fine for urban pacification but for that all important EXTERNAL security, virtually all of their neighbors can steamroll their armor forces.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    TW
    The Iraqis has stated they want western arms.
    That only the 9th Division will be equipped with Soviet tanks.
    They are also already looking at M1s.
    The only reason I list pattons is because they have stated they are getting them. And there are enough to fill the TO/E for seven-eight mech divisions being disposed of.
    As to the AMX30s, the 600 in the French inventory are 60 percent of France’s tanks. I do not see them available unless the French do a radical reduction of their army or until they are replaced. Replacement will take some time (years).
    Next year is the stated timeframe for the IA to transition to external security. So I am watching them closely and examining all potential sources of decent armor.
    As to what they need, the threats are Iran and Syria. While both have T72s (and modified pattons with T72 turret), the Syrian units opposite Iraq are T54/55 and their T72 units are opposite Israel. The Iranian inventory is mostly Pattons and T55 except for the upgraded pattons. My bet is they will buy the M48s and M60s and upgrade the M60s to M60-120s. (M60-120S is a rework with 120mm gun and new suspention/engine, think underarmored M1.)

  • Grimmy says:

    Building a national army with a variety of differing armor chassis would play heck with logistical support.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Grimmy
    Only too true.
    My read is Pattons with very long term plan to upgrade to M1s.
    They are keeping all the T72/T55s in 9th Div and have stated they want to replace the T55s with T72s just for that same reason. Commonality of spares and ammo.
    But, if they are looking at building up inventory fast, they might (I put this at 30% chance) do the same thing they did with the wheeled APCs. Field them simultaniously split up by geographical sectors and unit types. E.G.:
    – Otokar APCs in 2nd thru 5th Divs.
    – DZIK3 APCs in 1st, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 10th.
    – ILAV APCs (MRAP) in all for route clearance.
    – Reva APCs in the INP.
    However, ISF experience with this hodgepogge has resulted in them stating they want to consolodate types. Which is why I doubt the AMX-30s.
    AMX-30s would add another spare parts type to the inventory and would not be able to fill the TO/E. They would still need more tanks of a different version to fill out and they are also talking M1s.
    – T55 with T72, currently trying to replace the T55s
    – probably M48, eventually replacing with M1
    – probably M60s, eventually upgraded to M60-120S
    – possibly AMX-30???
    (The M60-120S upgrade has a comonality of spares and ammo with M1s. Same with the M48/M60 series.)

  • Trophy Wench says:

    So from my understanding, the reason that you have been speculating that the Iraqis should upgrade to the M-60 120S (or the M-60 2000 as it used to be called) is more or less as a transitory program in order to eventually get the M1. I personally am not totally convinced that that may be the best system to implement. From what I have read, they basically retrofit the entire turret of an M1 to the Patton hull and add some armor skirts and reactive plates to the hull glacis. But I see that not as building a better Patton but building an inferior Abrams. By comparison, M-60T (Sabra) variant from Turkey or the AB9 Phoenix variant from Jordan might, and I stress might, be be as good of a system as the 120S. The only drawbacks between them is the Sabra originates from Israel and the Jordanians may not have the industrial capacity to overhaul a very large number of tanks. But its still something to think about.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    TW
    The reason I list the Iraqis as planning to get M60s is the second ranking IA officer said they are.
    Also, it is not the US that is buying these and Iraq’s budget has to cover rebuilding the AF and Navy too. Not to mention infrastructure.
    They cannot afford all M1s.
    The M60-120S upgrade also replaces the engine and suspension, thus improving mobility. So you get an M1s firepower and mobility with less armor protection for half the cost of an M1. The Iraqis have to stay within budget. Sabra is politicaly a no go. The Jordanian option is possible. Of note, Jordanian M48s are also upgraded with 120mm.
    I suspect the M48s as an interium until they can be replaced by M1s. Inexpensive way to quickly field tanks that are comparible to the neighbors and are parts common to the M60s that haven’t been upgraded yet.
    I doubt the AMX30 because it has inferior armor protection to the M60, has the same 105mm gun as the A3, only carries 80% of the ammo load of the A3, and has no upgrade capacity to 120mm (120S). Plus non-compatible parts. The only reason I keep an open mind on the AMX30, is the French really want in on the Iraqi arms sales and might sweeten the pot with a good (cheap) price.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    Note: The Jordanian programs for M48/M60 upgrade and the M60-120S programs are kits.
    And Taji has the facilities to do the rebuilds with those kits. The Iraqis used to assemble T72s there.
    That puts some of the cost back into their own economy.
    As for the AMX30s, no such upgrades exist. They are a dead end…

  • Trophy Wench says:

    Wow, I wasn’t aware that the Taji complex was up and running again, I just thought it was being used for storage and training. But if its capable of fully servicing their tanks then that’s a fantastic capability the ISF has regained! That may also allow for upgrade kits for their T-72 tanks as well.
    The AMX-30’s all get upgraded directly through the French (nothing major, just enough to keep up with the Leclerc) and its likley that the ones in French service are fairly modern anyway but for a 40+ year old tank that’s a relative term. Anyway I think its time to put the put the AMX-30 speculation to bed. I think we have debated it long enough and in all likelihood it wont happen but is nevertheless an interesting side note to the rearming of the IA.

  • DJ Elliott says:

    TW
    Old news:
    – How do you think the IA salvaged and rebuilt the 72x T54/55s, 62x MTLB, ~50x BMP1, etc for the 1st Mech Bde (now the 34th) back in 2004/5?
    – And more recently, rebuilt the EE9s for 37th Recon Bn?
    – Or the used HMMWVs that are being inspected, repaired, repainted, and issued to the ISF at 400 per month…
    Taji National Depot is an Army level support command:
    – IA Maintenance Brigade for Vehicles,
    – IA Maintenance Brigade for GSE, and
    – IA Sustainment Brigade.
    We never bombed Taji.
    Or Iskanderiyah which used to build BTR60s and is building busses and trucks now. (Probably where the pickups are uparmored.)
    The delay has been in getting personnel and contracts going, the facilities were and are intact.
    Getting the vehicle support on line was first priority. And the Taji National Depot support complex is to be done and manned by the end-2008…
    If they can purchase the kits, then Iraqis will do the upgrades.

  • Trophy Wench says:

    Hmmm…. embarrassing. I guess I just assumed it was the coalition. Well, I learned something today

  • Grimmy says:

    There’s also the trainer issue. Going with a US model would give the IA access to the most comprehensively experienced armor warfare trainers currently in existence.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis

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