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US approves $1.9 billion weapons deal for Iraqi F-16s

January 20, 2016 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The US government approved the probable sale to Iraq of smart bombs, AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles and other munitions for use on its fleet of 36 F-16 fighter jets in a deal valued at up to $1.95 billion, the US Defense Department announced on Wednesday.

IqAF F-16C block 52 #1605 is parked under a sun shade at Tucson IAP. [Photo by Xuxinyi1000]

The Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees foreign arms sales, said it notified US lawmakers on Jan. 15 about the potential sale to Iraq, which is fighting to regain territory lost to Daesh militants.

Lawmakers have 30 days to block the sale, although such action is rare since weapons deals are carefully vetted before any formal notification.

DSCA said the proposed sale, which also includes technical support, base operations, maintenance and manpower, would require about 400 US government and contractor personnel to live in Iraq through 2020. It said the deal would contribute to US national security by giving Iraq the additional weapons, munitions, and technical services it needs to maintain the operational capabilities of its fleet of F-16 fighter jets.

"This proposed sale enables Iraq to fully maintain and employ its aircraft and sustain pilot training to effectively protect Iraq from current and future threats," it said in a statement about the proposed sale.

If approved, key contractors for the sale would include Lockheed Martin Corp, Raytheon Co, and United Technologies Corp, it said.

DSCA said Iraq had requested 20 Joint Helmet Mounting Cueing Systems, 24 AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles built by Raytheon, 150 AGM-65D Maverick missiles, also built by Raytheon, 14,120 500-pound general purpose bombs, 2,400 2,000-pound general purpose bombs and over 8,000 laser-guided tail kits to add precision targeting to those bombs.
  • 20 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS)
  • 24 AIM-9M Sidewinder missile
  • 150 AGM-65D/G/H/K Maverick missile
  • 14,120 500-lb General Purpose (GP) bombs
  • 2,400 2,000-lb GP bombs
  • 8,250 Laser Guided Bomb (LGB) Paveway II tail kits
  • 150 Paveway III tail kits
  • 4 WGU-43CD2/B Guidance Control Units
  • One M61 Vulcan Rotary 20mm cannon
  • Six MK-82 inert bombs
  • 4 MK-84 inert bombs

The agency said the value of the major defence equipment in the deal was around $550 million, with the remainder to go for logistics, training and other personnel costs.

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