WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department has cleared the sale of almost $300 million worth of equipment — including 4,400 rifles, 113 Humvees and 36 howitzers — to arm two infantry brigades and two support artillery battalions for Iraqi Kurds.
The equipment, requested by the government of Iraq, will be used to help stand up forces for the Kurdistan Regional Government's Ministry of Peshmerga, according to a State Department release. The goal of these units is to combat the Islamic State group, commonly known as ISIS.
The highlights of the package include:
- 4,400 M16A4 rifles.
- 46 M2 50-caliber machine guns.
- 186 M240B machine guns.
- 36 M1151 Humvees.
- 77 M1151 up-armored Humvees.
- 12 3-kilowatt Tactical Quiet Generator sets.
- 36 refurbished M119A2 105mm howitzers; spare parts, training and associated equipment related to the mentioned vehicles; and artillery systems.
- A mixed bag of other equipment, including medical and radiological gear, ambulances, and mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles.
The primary contractors for the deal are AM General, Oshkosh Defense, Navistar Defense, Harris Radio and Colt Corporation. There is no time frame listed for when the equipment would need to be delivered. As with all foreign sales notifications, the package, worth an estimated $295.6 million, must be OK’d by the Senate before final contract details can be worked out.
This deal is the second Foreign Military Sales deal for Iraq approved under the Trump administration. Earlier this month, State approved a sale of pilot training and support for C-172, C-208 and T-6 aircraft, a deal that could net Spartan College of Tulsa, Oklahoma, more than $1 billion.
The agreement brings the total amount of foreign military sales approved by State in fiscal 2017 to $48,857,700. The record was set in 2012, at $68.6 billion.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.