Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DTN News - IRAQ DEFENSE NEWS: Iraq Signs Deal To Buy 18 F-16 Warplanes

DTN News - IRAQ DEFENSE NEWS: Iraq Signs Deal To Buy 18 F-16 Warplanes
(NSI News Source Info) HONG KONG - September 27, 2011: Iraq has signed a contract to buy 18 Lockheed Martin F-16 warplanes to bolster its air force, an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday.
The value of the deal was not immediately known, but a senior U.S. military official said recently the offer on the table for the Iraqi government was valued at "roughly $3 billion."
Iraqi and U.S. military officials have said strengthening its air force is one of Baghdad's top priorities as U.S. troops prepare to leave by December 31, more than eight years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.
"The contract was signed ... and a part of the contract cost was sent to the bank account of the company," said Maliki's media adviser, Ali al-Moussawi.
Lockheed said in a statement it looked forward to a partnership with Baghdad and was "pleased with the confidence Iraq places in our products." It declined to comment on the specifics of the deal, referring questions to the Iraqi and U.S. governments.
The Pentagon said it was aware of news reports that Iraq had signed the agreement but did not immediately confirm and referred questions to Baghdad.
Iraq has long sought a combat jet for its rebuilt air force. The government delayed a planned purchase of F-16s in February to divert a $900 million down payment to its national food ration program to help quell street protests.
Maliki said on July 30 Iraq would buy 36 F-16s, double the number it had originally planned, to shore up its weak air defenses. The OPEC producer has found itself flush with cash this year, reaping windfall profits as world oil prices have remained above budget projections.
The two sides have been negotiating for the F-16 Block 52 export model with sophisticated avionics and weapons in a deal that included maintenance and training, a U.S. military official said.
Iraq is relying on the U.S. military for air support as it rebuilds its forces and battles a stubborn Islamist insurgency. Washington and Baghdad are discussing whether to keep some U.S. troops or military trainers in Iraq beyond the year-end deadline for U.S. departure.
Iraq's two airborne defense units, the Air Force and Army Aviation Command, have only 158 aircraft, including 89 helicopters and 69 airplanes, and about 7,500 personnel, according to U.S. figures.
At present, it has three Cessna Caravan propeller planes equipped with Hellfire missiles but no combat jets, a U.S. military official said.
(Additional reporting and writing by Jim Loney; Editing by Tim Pearce and Todd Eastham)

Iraqi Air Force Aircraft inventory (Courtesy Wikipedia)

[edit]Current inventory

Antonov An-32B of the Iraqi Air Force in February 2011.
Members of the Iraqi Army board an Iraqi C-130 Hercules in Basra.
Bell 206B Jet Ranger
Air Force Mil Mi-17-V5
Iraqi UH-1 preparing for takeoff.
Aircraft[51]OriginTypeVersionsIn service[52]Notes
Trainer Aircraft
Aero L-159 ALCA Czech Republicjet trainer/ light fighterL-159B0Possible sale or oil trade of either 24 or 36 aircraft from Czechsurplus.[53][54]
T-50 Golden Eagle Republic of Koreajet trainer/ light fighterT-50 or T/A-500Possible sale or oil trade.
Bell 206 JetRanger United Statesutility/ training helicopter206B10
Bell 407 United Statesconversion training helicopterT-4073To be used as training helicopter for the armed versions.
Bell OH-58 Kiowa United Statesutility/ training helicopterOH-58C10[55]On loan from US Army
Cessna 172 Skyhawk United Statesutility/ basic training18Option for up to 28 total aircraft
Cessna 208 Caravan United Statesutility/ trainingTC2085
Hawker Beechcraft T-6 Texan II United StatestrainingT-6A15Option for up to 20 aircraft.
Ikarus C42 Germanyutility/ basic training ?Used by the Peshmerga.
Lasta 95 Serbiabasic training/ light attack20[56]Delivered between Dec. 2010 and Mar. 2011.
Transport Aircraft
Antonov An-32 Ukrainemedium transportAn-32B0First delivery of 3 aircraft in December 2010. They have not been accepted into service however and remain in Ukraine.[57]
Beechcraft King Air 350 United Stateslight/ VIP transport350ER24All operated by 87th sqn.
Lockheed C-130 Hercules United Statestactical airlift/ transportC-130E
ex-USAF, 6 C-130-J30 versions to be delivered.
Reconnaissance Aircraft
Beechcraft King Air 350 United Statessurveillance and reconnaissance350ISR10
Cessna 208 Caravan United Statesground surveillance/ strikeRC/AC20883 armed with Hellfire missiles.
SAMA CH2000 Jordanliaison16
Seabird SBL-360 Seeker JordanObservation/ liaisonSB7L-360A2Both aircraft upgraded with Westar reconnaissance sensors and returned to service in 2009.
Bell UH-1H Iroquois United Stateslight-lift utility helicopterHuey II16[58]2nd Squadron. Used for medivac/ search and rescue.
Bell Armed 407 United Statesreconnaissance/ light attack helicopterIA-407024 helicopters to be delivered by 2011. Option for additional 26 helicopters TBD through 2012.
Eurocopter EC 635 European Unionlight attack/ utilitiy helicopter224 helicopters to be delivered by 2011. Option for additional 26 helicopters TBD through 2012. First deliveries in January 2010.
SA 342 Gazelle Francelight attack/ utility helicopterSA 342L624 Purchased from French surplus, first deliveries in May 2010. Option for up to 50 total.
Mil Mi-17 Hip-H Russiamedium-lift transport helicopterMi-171E
14 additional helicopters not operational. One crashed with 5 KIA.[59] Mi-8T being refurbished under contract in Ukraine.
Fighter Aircraft
Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon United StatesFighter AircraftF-16IQ (Block 52+)018-36 aircraft planned for initial purchase.[60]
Dassault Mirage F1 FranceFighter Aircraft0Iraqi Government has expressed interest in 18 Mirage F1 fighters from French surplus with deliveries beginning in 2012.[61]
Total220?~529 expected total

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