DUBAI — The US State Department has approved nearly $2 billion in sales of more than 33,000 F-16 Block-52 weapons and munitions to Iraq.

The possible Foreign Military Sale to Iraq for the Major Defense Equipment weapons, munitions, equipment and logistics support is estimated at $1.95 billion and the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on Jan. 15.

The contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin, Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training and Support, the Raytheon Company, The Marvin Group, United Technologies Aerospace Systems, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Training, the Royal Jordanian Air Academy in Amman, Jordan, Pratt and Whitney, and Michael Baker International.

According to the DSCA, the implementation of this sale will require about 400 US government and contractor personnel to reside in Iraq until 2020 as part of this sale to establish maintenance support, on-the-job maintenance training and maintenance advice.

Iraq has four Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 52 aircraft and soon expects the delivery of four to five more fighters, according to Wathaq al-Hashimi, director of the Baghdad-based Iraqi Group for Strategic Studies.

"Iraq will not immediately pay for the weapons and services due to its ongoing budget restraints," al-Hashimi told Defense News. "The Americans know this and it was discussed with their Iraqi counterparts, furthermore the agreement is that US will aid in part this deal by paying a part of it."

Al-Hashimi said that extensive discussions between Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and US President Barack Obama have focused on the rapid delivery of these weapons and planes.

"What is known is that all military sales have political conditions and the F-16 issue has been long going. Iraq is expecting the receipt of four or five planes soon while the full fleet may be delivered by November or October this year," he said.

The DSCA said in its statement that this proposed sale contributes to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner.

"Iraq previously purchased 36 F-16 aircraft. Iraq requires these additional weapons, munitions and technical services to maintain the operational capabilities of its aircraft. This proposed sale enables Iraq to fully maintain and employ its aircraft and sustain pilot training to effectively protect Iraq from current and future threats".

The Major Defense Equipment (MDE) in the pending deal includes:

  • 20 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS).
  • 24 each AIM-9M Sidewinder missile.
  • 150 AGM-65D/G/H/K Maverick missile.
  • 14,120 500-pound General Purpose (GP) bomb body/warhead for use either as unguided or guided bombs. Depending on asset availability during case execution, total quantity of the 14,120 each 500-pound warheads will comprise a mix of MK-82 500-pound warheads and/or BLU-111 500-pound warheads from stock and/or new contract procurement.
  • 2,400 2,000-pound GP bomb body/warheads for use either as unguided or guided bombs. Depending on asset availability during case execution, total quantity of the 2,400 each 2,000-pound warheads will comprise a mix of MK-84 2,000-pound warheads and/or BLU-117 2,000-pound warheads from stock and/or new contract procurement.
  • 8,000 Laser-Guided Bomb (LGB) Paveway II tail kits. Will be combined with 500-pound warheads in the above entry for MK-82 and/or BLU-111 to build GBU-12 guided bombs.
  • 250 each LGB Paveway II tail kits. Will be combined with 2,000-pound warheads in the above entry for MK-82 and/or BLU-117 to build GBU-10 guided bombs.
  • 150 LGB Paveway III tail kits. Will be combined with 2,000-pound warheads in the above entry for MK-82 and/or BLU-117 to build GBU-24 guided bombs.
  • 8,500 FMU-152 fuses. Will be used in conjunction with the LGB tail kits and warheads in the above entries to build GBU All Up Rounds (AUR). Includes provisioning for spare FMU-152 fuze units (MDE).
  • 4 WGU-43CD2/B Guidance Control Units.
  • 1 M61 Vulcan Rotary 20mm cannon.
  • 6 MK-82 inert bomb.
  • 4 MK-84 inert bomb.


Twitter: @awadz

Awad Mustafa was a Middle East and Africa correspondent for Defense News.

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