The Pentagon is embarking on a new arms transfer to Iraq, this time involving a squadron of advanced versions of the Lockheed Martin F-16IQ – Block 52 fighter jets, supply of 440 refurbished Armored Presonnel Carriers and the establishment of a nationwide defense communications network. The estimated value of the entire package could reach about $4.5 billion.
The package notified to Congress by the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency includes 18 F-16IQ fighter jets, worth around $4.2 billion. The aircraft will be delivered with weapons and mission payloads for air defense, strike and reconnaissance missions. These packages will comprise AIM-9L/M 8-9 short range and AIM-7M-F1/H Sparrow Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air/air missiles, and air/ground guided weapons including various types of the AGM-65 Maverick missile and GBU-12 Paveway II and Paveway III laser guided bombs, augmented by Sniper targeting pods.
For the reconnaissance mission the F-16IQs will be equipped by the BAE Systems’ F-9120 Advanced Airborne Reconnaissance Systems (AARS) Long-Range Oblique Photographic System (LOROPS) or the tactical, DB-110 Reconnaissance Pods made by Goodrich. The aircraft will be equipped with a standard Electronic Warfare suite including the ALQ-187 countermeasure package and ALR-93 radar warning receiver comprising the Advanced Countermeasure Electronic Systems (ACES), and AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispensing Systems (CMDS).
Washington also plans to ship 440 refurbished M113A2 Armored Personnel Carriers to Iraq, to equip the Iraqi land forces. The cost of this package is estimated at $131 million. The prime contractor for this upgrade is BAE Systems, the original vehicle manufacturer.
The Pentagon is moving to set up an independent defense network for the Iraqi military, under a 150 million investment that includes design, supply of equipment and technical support. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified congress on the proposed sale, to include the fixed network to be established under a $98 million program and Mobile Communications Centers, worth approximately $57 million. The prime contractors for both systems are ITT Corporation and the Harris Corporation.