Iraqi government wants to purchase F-16s

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Unread post05 Sep 2008, 14:09

See news article posted on this site Iraqi government wants to purchase F-16s

More news from the Houston Chronicle

Houston Chronicle wrote:Lockheed F-16 sale to Iraq would be biggest in 5 years
Bloomberg News
Sept. 5, 2008, 6:26AM

A Lockheed Martin order from Iraq for 36 advanced F-16 fighters would be the biggest export purchase of the plane in five years, according to company data.

Iraq wants to buy the aircraft to reduce its reliance on U.S. airpower, the Wall Street Journal reported. Ann van Hooydonck, Lockheed's spokeswoman in Europe for aerospace issues, didn't return a call seeking comment.

More than 4,300 F-16s have been built for 24 countries, with 52 follow-on purchases by 14 customers, according to the company's Web site. Lockheed won a $3.5 billion agreement in 2003 to sell 48 F-16s to Poland and in 2000 sold 80 of the planes to the United Arab Emirates in an order valued at $6.4 billion.

The Bethesda, Md.-based company's most recent F-16 export order came from Morocco in 2007 for 24 aircraft. Morocco was the 25th country to select the plane, picking the U.S. model over the Rafale from France's Dassault Aviation SA. Other recent orders have come from Turkey and Pakistan.

Lockheed Martin has advanced 8 percent this year in New York trading. The shares traded in Germany fell 0.9 percent to the equivalent of $112.82 as of 12:05 p.m. in Frankfurt.

Production of the F-16 will probably continue beyond 2012, with major upgrades being incorporated for all F-16 versions, Lockheed Chief Executive Officer Robert Stevens said in July at the Farnborough International Air Show in England.

Morocco, Turkey

On June 6, the U.S. awarded Lockheed a contract worth $233.6 million to begin production of the 24 planes for Morocco.

In May 2007, the governments of Turkey and the U.S. signed an agreement for the sale of 30 F-16s. The total value for aircraft and equipment is about $1.8 billion. Turkey had an earlier F-16 order and also pledged to buy F-35 Joint Strike Fighters made by Lockheed Martin.

Pakistan has committed to buy 18 F-16 planes, and may purchase as many as 36.

Iraqi funds would be used to finance its purchase, which would be reviewed by the Defense Department, State Department and Congress, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people.

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Unread post05 Sep 2008, 18:48

Reuters wrote:Iraq eyes Lockheed F-16 fighter aircraft purchase
Fri Sep 5, 2008 12:13pm EDT

(Adds details on F-16, Iraqi arms purchases, Lockheed backlog)

By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON, Sept 5 (Reuters) - The Iraqi government has asked for information about buying 36 F-16 fighter aircraft built by Lockheed Martin Corp, the U.S. Defense Department said on Friday.

The request, received Aug. 27, is being reviewed "in the normal course of business" as part of the U.S. government-to-government arms sale process, said Air Force Lt. Col. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman.

Updated F-16s are among the world's most advanced multirole fighters and a powerful symbol of military ties to the United States.

Iraq's interest in the fighter jet, reported first by The Wall Street Journal, could spark concerns among neighbors worried about advanced arms in the hands of a country still facing major internal challenges.

U.S. reviews of possible arms sale can take a year or more. They involve the departments of State and Defense as well as Congress and weigh power balances, technology security and other thorny issues. If a contract were ultimately signed, deliveries could take another year or more, depending on the model in question.

The Pentagon did not specify which F-16 version Iraq was eyeing, nor whether it was new or refurbished. A Lockheed spokesman referred questions to the Pentagon.

F-16C/D Block 50/52 models are now being produced for Poland, Israel, Greece and Pakistan. The United Arab Emirates was the maiden customer for the Block 60 version, the most sophisticated F-16 produced to date.

More than 4,400 F-16s have been delivered worldwide, according to Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin. Morocco this year became the 25th and latest overseas buyer with a deal for 24 new Block 50/52 models and related gear said by the Pentagon to be worth as much as $2.4 billion.

Iraq's request for pricing and availability data might not necessarily lead to a sale. Sometimes governments seek such information for planning purposes only, the Pentagon's Ryder said.

Flush with billions of dollars from oil sales, Iraq is emerging as the biggest client for a wide range of U.S. weapons -- a shot in the arm for defense contractors such as Lockheed, Boeing Co, Northrop Grumman Corp, General Dynamics Corp and Raytheon Co.

Among other systems, Iraq is seeking more than 400 armored vehicles plus six C-130 transport planes built by Lockheed, the Pentagon's No. 1 supplier.

On July 30, the Pentagon notified Congress that Iraq also was seeking to buy 24 Textron Inc Bell Armed 407 or 24 Boeing AH-6 helicopters along with 565 120mm mortars, 665 81mm mortars, 200 AGM-114M Hellfire missiles and other arms that could be worth $2.4 billion.

Baghdad and Washington are working on a long-term security pact that calls for U.S. military forces to quit Iraq's cities by next summer as a step toward a broader withdrawal from the country that U.S.-led forces invaded in 2003 to topple President Saddam Hussein.

F-16s would let Iraqi forces conduct airstrikes of their own on insurgent positions rather than relying on U.S. forces to do so, as is now the case.

Overseas sales have kept Lockheed's F-16 production line open after the U.S. military shifted to more advanced fighters, including the radar-evading F-22 also built by Lockheed.

"The program is healthy and full of activity, with firm production through 2012 and a strong likelihood of new orders that will extend the line for several more years," John Larson, vice president for Lockheed's F-16 programs, told reporters in July at the Farnborough Air Show outside London. (Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, John Wallace, Phil Berlowitz)

source: ... 1720080905
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Unread post05 Sep 2008, 19:38

So we sell some of the world's most advanced F-16s to Pakistan, which may at any moment be overrun by Islamic radicals. Now we're considering selling same to Iraq, which may at any moment be overrun by Islamic radicals. Love how we've learned from the fall of Iran's Shah...

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Unread post05 Sep 2008, 19:42

Obamanite wrote:So we sell some of the world's most advanced F-16s to Pakistan, which may at any moment be overrun by Islamic radicals. .

You really need to do more reading about Pakistan. The likelyhood of this occuring is so slim. If this was gonna happen the army would step back in & take control. If the government is weak then it falls pray to them rather than the Mullahs!
Last edited by Asif on 05 Sep 2008, 20:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread post05 Sep 2008, 22:13

Very interesting topic!

In the past I never read any USAF news article about Iraqi pilots who are involved in any F-16 flight training... At least currently, Iraqi pilots are still very busy to learn to fly C-130s and different smaller aircraft...




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Unread post05 Sep 2008, 22:31

Obamanite wrote:Love how we've learned from the fall of Iran's Shah...
Not really. You're not selling your newest and best, as was with the F-14s back then. It's not like you're selling Raptors to them ;)


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Unread post06 Sep 2008, 07:04

Here is some interesting things for the tankers also.... ... _08-98.pdf


Should be some interesting jobs for ex-USAF types that want to contract
themselves out as maintainers etc. I doubt the Iraqis have the juice to run F-16 maintenance and sustainment by themselves.
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Unread post06 Sep 2008, 07:37

Yeah, don't forget the coveralls with the bullseye painted on the back...

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Unread post06 Sep 2008, 16:15

:: Political discussion removed by moderator ::

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Unread post07 Sep 2008, 23:15

Time wrote:How Fast Should Iraq Re-Arm?
Saturday, Sep. 06, 2008 By MARK THOMPSON/WASHINGTON

The disconnect on security between the U.S. and the government of Iraq crystallized Friday, as Washington made clear it is in no rush to pull troops out of Iraq, just as Baghdad made it clear it's shopping for 36 F-16 jet fighters that could end up costing the war-weary nation close to $4 billion. While it's easy to understand why the U.S. is leery of jeopardizing recent security gains with a hasty troop withdrawal — despite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki insisting on a timetable for ending the American military presence — the logic of Baghdad's effort to acquire a fleet of sophisticated warplanes is less clear.

Still, U.S. officials inside and out of the Pentagon were quick to say Iraq needs such high-powered weapons, and that the U.S. defense industry would be more than glad to supply them. "We sometimes roll our eyes when foreign defense ministers come here and want to buy fighters and things like that," a senior Pentagon official said, speaking privately. "But we don't feel that way about Iraq — given their history and neighborhood, they need to have a capable air force." Iraq has not committed to buying the warplanes and, if it does, it will be several years before they would be operational. But the move to acquire them certainly signals an intent to give Iraq the ability to defend itself without any direct U.S. presence.

Iraq hasn't been able to procure arms since it invaded Kuwait in 1990, and the U.S. invasion in 2003 pretty much crushed whatever military hardware Saddam Hussein had left. So Iraq is starting from scratch in rebuilding its military. "The Iraqi military is growing in strength and capability very rapidly now," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell says. "They are turning into a very formidable force that not only will be able to deal with internal threats, but also handle external threats in a very dangerous part of the world." While the deal would require reviews from the Pentagon, State Department and Congress, it would likely win approval because it could reduce the demand for U.S. warplanes and personnel in Iraq, as well as generating U.S. defense-industry employment.

The U.S. push to help re-arm Iraq — helicopter gunships are already in the pipeline, and Baghdad is looking to buy 400 armored personnel carriers and six C-130 cargo planes — suggests an Iraqi government eager to fight its own battles without U.S. help. "Given Iraq's history and its location, it's going to create regular forces that are capable of not simply dealing with an insurgency but defending the country," says Anthony Cordesman, a military scholar with the Center for Strategic and Independent Studies. "And when a country is looking for prestige — a symbol of coming back as a fully operating nation — you're going to have to have modern weapons, and among the choices Iraq has, the F-16 is a very good buy."

At the same time, however, the Pentagon is in no rush to hand over responsibility for defending the country to Iraqis. Many on Capitol Hill and in the Pentagon had expected sharp cuts in U.S. troop levels there to begin this fall, but instead, the Pentagon is urging a more gentle paring of its 146,000 troop complement in Iraq. Following the Defense Department's recommendation, President Bush is expected on Tuesday to announce an 8,000-troop cut due to occur by the time his successor is inaugurated on January 20.

General David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, wanted to maintain the current force level through next June, but agreed to the modest troop reduction under pressure from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They are eager to divert additional troops to Afghanistan, which can only happen if troops are pulled out of Iraq. Petraeus will soon inherit responsibility for overseeing both Afghanistan and Iraq when he becomes head of U.S. Central Command.

U.S. officials say the go-slow drawdown is driven by the fragility of the security gains in Iraq, where attacks by insurgents have fallen 80% since last year. But a lack of political progress in the country could trigger more violence, especially if large U.S. units pull out, Pentagon officials say. When the British pulled out of the southern city of Basra in 2007, the resulting vacuum was filled by Shi'ite militia units until the Iraqi government sent in its improving army in March and brought it under Baghdad's control. Petraeus also doesn't want to risk a security meltdown brought on by a major withdrawal just as a new U.S. President takes office.

Pentagon officials say there's no conflict between the slow withdrawal of U.S. troops and Baghdad's desire to buy warplanes. "The troop numbers are designed to stabilize Iraq in the short term," one said. "The F-16s — if they get them — are for the long term."

source: ... 06,00.html
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Unread post08 Sep 2008, 00:04


Perhaps just as there is an apparent time-table in the works for some significant sort for major withdrawls, by 2011, etc, maybe there could be a timetable designed for re-arming? Maybe by 2012 the F-16s could begin delivery to supplement USAF contingent in country, but replacing USAF units within a framework, given a stable situation on the ground for the mid-term?

At some point we need to take a gamble in the mil hardware dimension, as Iraq will probably seek such platforms from someone? Perhaps best if they were vipers? Just my conjecture anyhow.. interesting topic for sure.
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Unread post08 Sep 2008, 02:15

Well, we are the big arms dealer to the middle east. UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Israel and Oman all fly the F-16. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have 18's and 15's respectively. What worries me more is that Saudi Arabia also has AWACS and just signed a contract for new tankers from EADS this year. Granted they have a huge amount of airspace to cover, but they have really built an air force that they can use to project force. I know, I know, they are friends, but the so was Venezuela

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Unread post08 Sep 2008, 04:28

Defense Industry Daily wrote:Iraq Seeks F-16 Fighters
07-Sep-2008 15:04 EDT

Iraq’s military has made significant strides in recent months, and the country is beginning to order more advanced military equipment to match. A slew of recent requests would spend over $10 billion to buy advanced armored vehicles, strengthen its national military supply chain, build new bases and infrastructure for its army, and even buy advanced scout helicopters.

That last purchase was significant, because an Air Force that had once been one of the strongest in the region is currently reduced to few dozen planes and helicopters, with no front-line fighters or attack helicopters. The ARH order would give Iraq’s military its first real aerial combat power, though it remains far more suited to the internal anti-terrorist battle than it is to securing Iraq’s sovereignty against neighboring countries.

That level of security requires the ability to control the air over one’s own country, which is why the USAF has always planned to remain in Iraq for a number of years as a guarantor. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that Iraq is pushing to begin flying its own fighters within the next couple of years – and is looking to buy American F-16s, rather than the Soviet and French fighters that made up Saddam’s air force…

Technology Options

On Sept 5/08, the Wall Street Journal reported that Iraq is seeking 36 “advanced model” F-16s, which probably means the standard F-16 C/D Block 50/52+ models requested or bought by recent customers like Chile, Morocco, Poland, Romania, et. al.

Those back-channel requests have yet to become a formal US DSCA request. Nevertheless, if recent F-16 sales are any guide then the likely cost of that order, plus the associated spares, weapons, et. al. required to give Iraq’s air force a working fighter fleet once again, would be about $4-6 billion. Even a formal DSCA request would be just the beginning of the process, however; as DID readers know from our converage, actual signed contracts can take anywhere between 30 days and 4+ years after the official request. Fighter aircraft delivery times add another 1-3 years.

Even the DSCA request will not come to pass without technology export approvals, however; clearance for various F-16 types, equipment, and weapons sold in conjunction with the aircraft will be an issue for discussion in the USA. Fortunately for Iraq, the F-16 is already flown by a number of countries in the region, including Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. These aircraft include a number of early F-16A/B models, plus a larger set of upgraded early models and F-16C/Ds. A request within those parameters should be uncontroversial, though requests for some air to ground weapons like GPS-guided JDAMs could become a separate issue.

Other F-16 variants exist in the region. Israel flies all F-16 models including its own F-16I, which modifies the F-16D block 52+ and adds a lot of Israeli electronics, equipment, and weapons. The UAE is a another exception, flying the world’s most advanced F-16s: the Block 60 Desert Falcon with built-in infared surveillance and targeting, the AN/APG-80 AESA radar, and an engine upgrade, among other improvements. Iraq would not request F-16Is, however, and F-16 E/Fs are unlikely to receive approval at this stage in Iraq’s evolution.

Political Background

While events can always overtake even the best of plans, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki recently told reporters that he wants all American forces to be able to leave Iraq by 2011.

Iraq’s request for F-16s certainly fits with that strategy. No country can remain sovereign if it cannot control its own air space, and having its own fighter aircraft available for missions would give Iraqis far more leeway to make independent decisions about the future direction, training, and use of its military.

Even if the US agrees to the sale as expected, however, that 2011 timetable would be a tall order. The USAF currently operates about 300 aircraft of all types in Iraq, supplemented by US Navy fighters and US Army transports and helicopters. That force will not be replaced by 36 F-16s – nor would such a force provide sovereignty insurance against Iraq’s neighbors. Indeed, the need for US government sale approval, training, and logistics stand-up means that the new Iraqi Air Force is unlikely to have any operational F-16s before 2010-2011.

If Iraq wishes to go beyond air-air roles for its F-16s and perform close air support as well, its air force will find that this is a demanding task all its own, requiring practice and combined-arms training and equipment in order to be effective. The USAF has deliberately slowed Iraq’s progress in this area for various operational and political reasons, and so there is no current base of expertise or equipment for the IqAF to build upon. If the IqAF wishes to be able to replicate the crucial role performed by American and British fighter jets in the Iraqi Army’s March 2008 Battle for Basra, therefore, or to support Iraqi troops in the even of hostile incursions from its neighbors, it will need to allocate even more lead time before it can be effective.

In the end, all of the relevant decisions will be political, rather than military, choices. At present, the odds are that Iraq will fly F-16 C/D aircraft in the Block 25-50 range, beginning around 2010. Alongside a reduced but still present USAF, which will remain in Iraq beyond 2011.

source: ... ers-05057/
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Unread post12 Sep 2008, 08:36

The New York Times wrote:Iraq Seeks Fighter Jets as Gates Sees ‘Endgame’
Published: September 10, 2008

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s defense minister said Wednesday that his country was seeking to buy F-16 fighter jets from the United States, while his American counterpart, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, said he believed that the Iraq war had entered the “endgame.”

Here in Baghdad, the Iraqi defense minister, Abdel Qader Mohammed Jassim, said buying the jets would be a crucial step if Iraqi forces were to assume more responsibilities from American soldiers. Officials in Washington, however, said any possible sale was at a very preliminary stage.

Inside Iraq — a country split along sectarian and ethnic lines, with the army historically used to winning that internal power struggle — the request is already being greeted with suspicion. Two days ago Kurdish leaders warned that any sale of advanced weapons, including the F-16s, to the central government would have to include guarantees that they would not be used against the country’s semiautonomous Kurdish region in the north.

Under Saddam Hussein, the Kurds suffered greatly from air bombardment, and they are now sparring with the Shiite-dominated central government on other issues, including how to distribute Iraq’s oil wealth and where internal borders might fall.

But Mr. Jassim, the defense minister, vowed that jet fighters would be used only in the name of the entire Iraqi nation and not, as they were under Mr. Hussein, against parts of his own country. “The F-16s being ordered by the Iraqi government are for advancing the future capability of the Iraq military and to protect all of Iraq’s land, including the cherished Kurdistan region,” Mr. Jassim told reporters.

Mr. Jassim spoke at a news conference in Baghdad with Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick, the coalition official in charge of training and equipping Iraqi troops. General Helmick confirmed that Iraq had requested the price and availability of F-16s, but would not elaborate, except to say that American allies often made such requests.

The general said Iraq’s newly reconstituted air force numbered 2,000 people and had a fleet of 75 aircraft, expected to grow to 123 by next year. He also said that Iraq’s military, which stood at 206,000 service members, continued to make progress.

While Mr. Jassim expressed confidence that the Iraqi Army could keep the internal peace largely on its own by the end of 2011 or early 2012, he said that securing the country’s borders and skies required big investments in training and equipment and that such capabilities could not be attained until 2018 or 2020, if at all.

In Washington, Mr. Gates urged a cautious approach to the withdrawal of American forces. “I have cautioned that no matter what you think about the origins of the war in Iraq, we must get the endgame there right,” he told the House Armed Services Committee. “I believe we have now entered that endgame.”

Eric Lipton contributed reporting from Washington.

source: ... ref=slogin

The New York Times - The Board Blog wrote:So, Should Iraq Get F-16 Fighter Aircraft?
By The Editorial Board

Iraq’s increasingly confident military is shopping for some fancy new hardware — U.S.-made F-16 fighter aircraft, among the most technologically advanced weapons available today.

There’s a clear upside. An Iraq that is armed with F-16s and able to control its own airspace could help speed the withdrawal of American troops — a goal we and most Americans endorse.

At the same time, this F-16 request is a decision that must be carefully thought through by the Bush administration and its successor, by the Pentagon, and by Congress.

While Iraq’s post-Saddam Hussein military has become more competent in recent months, it is still a country tormented by ethnic and sectarian divisions. The central government, dominated by majority Shi’ites, provokes great suspicion in many quarters.

The government has yet to integrate many Sunnis — the ethnic group that ran the country under Saddam — into positions in the army and security forces. And it has yet to adopt laws detailing how Iraq’s oil wealth will be distributed or how provincial elections will be conducted.

Without progress on critical issues like these — and perhaps even with it — there is a looming danger that a central Iraq government armed with advanced weaponry could end up using it on its own people — or recklessly against other countries in the region.

Although the F-16 is designed to shoot down enemy aircraft, it can carry precision guided bombs and missiles that can be used to support ground forces.

Earlier this week, Kurdish leaders warned that if Baghdad bought F-16s there would have to be guarantees that the aircraft will not be used against the semiautonomous Kurdish region in the north.

That’s not surprising: Saddam’s ruthless bombing of Kurds is seared into their memory.

source: ... -aircraft/
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Unread post19 Dec 2008, 19:17

Could the news article "<a href="">Iraqi general visits Luke, flies in F-16</a>" be related to this Iraqi request?

Lt. Col. Jack Maixner, 63rd FS commander, Luke AFB and Iraqi air force Brig. Gen. Ali Al-Aaragy make final preparations before their flight together on December 15th, 2008. [USAF photo by SSgt. Richard Rose]
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