Pentagon asks Iraqi PM to scrap Russian missile deal

Dec. 14, 2012 at 10:21 AM

MANSOURIEH, Lebanon, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The Pentagon has expressed its concerns about Iraq's intention to purchase Russian-made air defenses.

U.S. Department of Defense officials have reportedly asked Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to stop a plan to buy several Russian-made air defense missile systems, particularly the short-range Pantsir S-1, Tactical Report stated.

The request is likely related to the continuing deteriorating situation in neighboring Syria, as public opinion is that Maliki believes that a civil war is inevitable in Iraq following the collapse of the Syrian regime.

Maliki is said to be making plans for such an eventuality, while U.S. military planners say they are concerned any Iraqi advanced weaponry could fall into hostile hands.

The Pantsir-S1 is a combined short-to-medium range, surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system produced by the Konstruktorskoe Biuro Priborostroeniia defense complex in Tula in the Russian Federation.

The Pantsir-S1 air defense system is a refinement of the Russian air force's SA-19/SA-N-11 systems, using phased-array radars for both target acquisition and tracking.

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