WASHINGTON, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress on Monday of a proposed foreign military sale that would provide attack helicopters to Iraq to bolster the Iraqi military's counter-extremist mission.
The Iraqi government requested the U.S. military provide twenty-four "AH-64E Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters, and associated equipment, parts, training, and logistical support." The helicopters and equipment, according to the Pentagon, will enable Iraq to better "protect itself from terrorist and conventional threats, to enhance the protection of key oil infrastructure and platforms, and to reinforce Iraqi sovereignty."
The estimated $4.8 billion contract had faced congressional opposition from Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who had questioned whether the end-use stipulated the attack helicopters would not be used against minority populations or political rivals. A Senate aide announced that Menendez removed his objection on Friday after he was "satisfied with the end-use monitoring measures that the State Department will exercise to ensure that the Apaches are used in a responsible manner."
The proposed sale is expected to proceed. According to a senior U.S. military official who spoke with The Wall Street Journal, Iraq probably won't receive any Apache helicopters before summer and that new helicopters won't be available to Iraq for another three years.
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Longbow Limited Liability Corporation, and Raytheon are listed as the primary contractors for the proposed sale.
[Wall Street Journal]