Iraq seeks air defense, communications gear

WASHINGTON, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Continuing Iraqi efforts to modernize its military forces and their capabilities has opened the door to the United States to new Foreign Military Sales deals.

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency, in separate notifications to Congress, said Iraq is seeking to purchase an integrated air defense system and Mobile Troposcatter Radio Systems in packages worth a combined $2.74 billion.


The two proposed sales would directly support "the Iraqi government and serve the interests of the Iraqi people and the United States," it said.

The first proposed sale of an integrated defense system involves 40 Avenger short-range and six Hawk XXI medium-range fire units, 681 Stinger reprogrammable micro-processor Block I 92H missiles and 13 AN/MPQ-64F1 Sentinel radars.

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Also included would be seven AN/YSQ-184D Forward Area Air Defense Command, Control and Intelligence Systems; 75 AN/VRC-92E SINCGARS radios; three HAWK XXI batteries (six fire units), which include six Battery Fire Direction Centers; six high-powered illuminator radars; 216 MIM-23P Hawk tactical missiles; and two mobile battalion operation centers.

Other items requested include a mini-certified round assembly facility, air command-and-control systems, and various surveillance, long-range and medium-range radars.

The value of the deal if approved by Congress: about $2.40 billion.

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"This proposed sale of ground-based air defense systems will help the government of Iraq to modernize its armed forces," the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency said.

"The proposed air defense system will provide the Iraqi Air Defense Command situational awareness of the country's airspace and a baseline tactical radar and threat intercept capability. This capability will provide Iraq with the ability to contribute to regional air defenses and reduce its vulnerability to air attacks and also enhance interoperability between the government of Iraq, the U.S., and other allies."

The principal contractors would be Lockheed Martin, Thales Raytheon Systems, Boeing Company and American General, Letterkenny Army Depot, Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems, Northrop Grumman, and Kratos Defense and Aerospace.

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Iraq's second FMS request -- for Mobile Troposcatter radio systems and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support is worth an estimated $339 million.

The communications package, the agency said, improving the Iraqi military's situational awareness and enhance command and control from its National Military Headquarters to major subordinate commands.

The package would include 19 Mobile Troposcatter Radio Systems; 10 Mobile Microwave Radio Systems; spare and repair parts; support equipment, publications and technical data; personnel training, and training equipment.

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Other U.S. government and contractor technical assistance and logistics support would also be included. Contractor and government personnel would need to travel to Iraq as needed for training and support, DSCA said.

Raytheon would be the principal contractor.

"The government of Iraq intends to use these defense articles and services to provide critical redundancy for national level command and control," the agency said. "This proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region."

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