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Iraqi Army Air Corps Modernization

Russia would deliver attack helicopters and mobile air-defense systems to Iraq in arms deals worth $4.2 billion signed in 2012, it was disclosed during an October 2012 visit to Moscow by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in which he met his counterpart Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Moscow will supply 30 Mil Mi-28NE night/all-weather capable attack helicopters, and 50 Pantsir-S1 gun-missile short-range air defense systems. The contracts, among the biggest ever signed between Iraq and Russia, were signed in April, July and August by Iraq's acting defense minister, according to documents released during al-Maliki's visit. The deal was Russia's largest arms deal since 2006.

The Russian daily newspaper Kommersant indicated in October 2012 that the deal included 42 short and medium range surface-to-air missiles, as well as the Pantsir-1 anti-aircraft weapons system. The United States has urged Russia in the past not to sell the Pantsir-1 to neighboring Iran and Syria. A spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki announced 10 November 2012 the suspension of a $4.2 billion arms deal between Baghdad and Moscow. The prime minister had decided to re-examine the arms deal with Russia, after discovering apparent graft and corruption. An Iraqi parliamentary committee was investigating the deal, which pointed to corruption on the part of both Russian and Iraqi officials. For that reason, Maliki decided to renegotiate the deal with Moscow, including types of weapons, prices and quantities. In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin fired both his defense minister and his top army commander in the past week for alleged, but unspecified acts of corruption.

A member of parliament, Sabah al-Saadi, told journalists a large sum could have been skimmed from the $4.2 billion deal. Al-Saadi says that none of the details of the deal have officially been released, but that the amount of corruption in the arms deal could top $190,000. He added that this scandal and other scandals could force the resignation of the government, since the prime minister himself signed the deal and should have known what was happening.

Iraq's acting defense minister Sa'adoun al Duleimi told a press conference in Baghdad that adversaries of Maliki were trying to kill the arms deal with Russia because they wanted the country to remain weak. Al Duleimi said that Iraq agreed to buy a portion of its arms from Russia to diversify its sources, and not fall under the sway of anyone. But, he claims that some Iraqi politicians do not want the Iraqi military to be strong since they have their own militias, which they want to be stronger than the government. Al Duleimi also accuses them of having ties to foreign states. Duleimi, who was part of the Iraqi delegation which concluded the arms deal in Moscow, insisted there was no corruption involved, since "no money changed hands and no contract was signed."

According to Reuters, a new contract on 6 helicopters delivery by October 2013 at $217 million ($256 million including the munitions) was awarded during the visit of Rostec Director General Sergey Chemezov and Rosneft President Igor Sechin to Iraq on April 16, 2013. "

Iraq took collection of the first four Mi-35 helicopter gunships on 08 November 2013. Iraqi officials said in November that the second shipment of around 40 Mi-35 and Mi-28NE attack helicopters was expected later. “The second batch of Russian weapons will arrive in Iraq in January,” said Muhammed al-Aqili, a deputy head of the ruling faction in the Iraqi parliament, on 15 December 2013. The arms deal had looked to be at risk earlier this year amid speculation that Iraqi authorities were considering withdrawing from the arrangement over suspicions of corruption.

Iraq's Ministry of Defense has received the third batch of Russian Mi-35M helicopters, as part of a contract signed in 2012, an official representative of the Centre for Analysis of World Arms Trade (CAWAT) told RIA Novosti 01 October 2014. 'The exact number of helicopters in the third batch is not mentioned, but, most likely, Baghdad received four Mi-35Ms, like in the first two batches,' the CAWAT representative said. 'If the accelerated pace of deliveries, which follows a request from the Iraqi side, is maintained, the contract is very likely to be fully implemented by the end of this year,' the representative added. Iraq signed a contract with Russia on the delivery of 28 Mi-35M helicopters and 15 Mi-28NE 'Night Hunter' attack helicopters in October 2012.

On 27 January 2014 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq for AH-64E APACHE LONGBOW Attack Helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $4.8 billion. The Government of Iraq has requested a possible sale of 24 AH-64E APACHE LONGBOW Attack Helicopters, 56 T700-GE-701D Engines, 27 AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight, 27 AN/AAR-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors, 12 AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars with Radar Electronics Unit (LONGBOW component), 28 AN/AAR-57(V)7 Common Missile Warning Systems, 28 AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Sets, 28 AN/APR-39A(V)4 or APR-39C(V)2 Radar Signal Detecting Sets, 28 AN/ALQ-136A(V)5 Radar Jammers, 52 AN/AVS-6, 90 Apache Aviator Integrated Helmets.

The sale sale would also include 60 HELLFIRE Missile Launchers, and 480 AGM-114R HELLFIRE Missiles. Also included are AN/APR-48 Modernized Radar Frequency Interferometers, AN/APX-117 Identification Friend-or-Foe Transponders, Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation with Multi Mode Receiver, MXF-4027 UHF/VHF Radios, 30mm Automatic Chain Guns, Aircraft Ground Power Units, 2.75 in Hydra Rockets, 30mm rounds, M211 and M212 Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munitions flares, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, site surveys, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, design and construction, and other related elements of logistics support.

To support the requirement a team of 12 personnel (one military team leader and 11 contractors) would be deployed to Iraq for approximately three years. Implementation of this proposed sale would require the assignment of three U.S. Government and two hundred contractor representatives to Iraq to support delivery of the Apache helicopters and provide support and equipment familiarization. In addition, Iraq has expressed an interest in a Technical Assistance Fielding Team for in-country pilot and maintenance training.

The US Department of Defense stated that this proposed sale supported the strategic interests of the United States by providing Iraq with a critical capability to protect itself from terrorist and conventional threats, to enhance the protection of key oil infrastructure and platforms, and to reinforce Iraqi sovereignty. This proposed sale of AH-64E APACHE helicopters will support Iraq’s efforts to establish a fleet of multi-mission attack helicopters capable of meeting its requirements for close air support, armed reconnaissance and anti-tank warfare missions.

On 27 January 2014 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq for support for APACHE lease and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $1.37 billion. The Government of Iraq has requested a possible sale of 8 AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System, 3 T-700-GE-701D engines, 3 AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight (MTADS), 3 AN/AAQ-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors (PNVS), 152 AGM-114 K-A HELLFIRE Missiles, 14 HELLFIRE M299 Launchers, 6 AN/APR-39A(V)4 Radar Warning Systems with training Universal Data Modems (UDM), 2 Embedded Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation System (EGI), 6 AN/AVR-2A/B Laser Warning Detectors, 12 M261 2.75 inch Rocket Launchers, M206 Infrared Countermeasure flares, M211 and M212 Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munitions (AIRCM) flares, Internal Auxiliary Fuel Systems (IAFS), Aviator’s Night Vision Goggles, Aviation Mission Planning System, training ammunition, helmets, transportation, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, site surveys, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, and other related elements of program and logistics support.

As of January 2014, the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations had refused to approve the sale of any AH-64 helicopters to Iraq, a possible sign that US policymakers fear the attack helicopters could be used against political opponents instead of suspected insurgents.

Explaining the decision to purchase Russian fighter jets, Iraqi ambassador to the US, Lukman Faily, told RIA Novosti 01 July 2014 that Iraq had been requesting Apache helicopters from the US for the past three years, but the deal was held up by Congress and the White House.

Russia will supply a batch of Night Hunter helicopters to Iraq, a source from the defense industry told Interfax-AVN on 18 April 2016. “A batch of about 20 Mil Mi-28NE dual-control vehicles is being prepared for shipping,” he said. According to Russian Helicopters Holding, contracts for the delivery of Mil Mi-28NE helicopters had been signed with two countries, Algeria and Iraq. Algeria has asked for the modernization of Mil Mi-28NE into a dual-control vehicle.

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Page last modified: 09-05-2016 14:57:55 ZULU