Baby Come Back: Iraq is Buying, Fielding Russian Weapons Again

Mi-28N Night Hunter

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Map of Iraq

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July 1/16: Iraq has received the last external link of its ordered Mi-28 NE Night Hunter external link attack helicopters from Russia. The first of an estimated 15 Night Hunters was delivered in 2014 as part of a wider $4.2 billion defense package signed in 2012. According to Reuters, the deal external link marks the third biggest agreement for Russian arms sales since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.


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Pantsir-S1(click to view full) In October 2012, Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki signed a deal with Russia’s Rosoboronexport, variously estimated at $4.2 – $5.0 billion. The deal is characteristically murky, but it includes a combination of 43 Mi-35 (28) and Mi-28NE (15) attack helicopters, plus 42-50 mobile SA-22 Pantsir low-level air defense systems. Their combined cost […]
SA-22 Pantsyr

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In October 2012, Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki signed a deal with Russia’s Rosoboronexport, variously estimated at $4.2 – $5.0 billion. The deal is characteristically murky, but it includes a combination of 43 Mi-35 (28) and Mi-28NE (15) attack helicopters, plus 42-50 mobile SA-22 Pantsir low-level air defense systems. Their combined cost is unlikely to approach $4 billion unless very extensive long-term support arrangements are included, but Iraq’s maintenance record suggests that this would be a very good idea. There has also been discussion in the press concerning MiG-29M2 fighters or armored vehicles as follow-on options, and the recent crisis in Iraq has led to a limited sale of refurbished SU-25 close air support aircraft.

The deals fill some important military and political holes for Iraq, and the full civil war in progress

Elements of the Deal

Mi-28N Night Hunter

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It isn’t unusual for Middle Eastern countries to consciously split their weapon buys between different suppliers, in order to reduce dependence. Saudi Arabia does this very explicitly, and the same pattern can be found in Egypt and the UAE.

Air Defense: The SA-22 Pansyr/Pantsir is designed for mobile low-level air defense, combining twin 30mm guns with 12 57E6 radar-guided surface-to-air missiles that reach out to 12 km/ 10 miles, and up to 10,000m altitude. Sensors include targeting and tracking radars, with an electro-optical system for passive scanning. It’s more of a low-level air defense system than a remedy against enemies who can use precision bombing from altitude, but that would be quite enough to deal with any threats from Iran or Syria. Its weakness is its use of radio command guidance (RCG) from the launcher, which means that its attacks can be defeated with jamming, or by killing the launcher.

Iraq has barely progressed to airspace monitoring, and the Pantsir-S1s will be their first real air defense assets. Training will be required, in order to ensure that the new systems can work well with Iraq’s own emerging air force. Meanwhile, the system’s mobility allows it to be moved around for point defense as needs warrant. It’s also popular in the region. The UAE, Iran, and Syria all operate it, and Jordan has reportedly ordered some.

DJ Elliott of the Iraq Order of Battle believes the Pantsirs will serve in the same role as their Russian counterparts, acting as point defenses for more advanced air defense systems like the planned buys of American MIM-23 Hawk XXI batteries. Cruise missiles and anti-radar missiles generally don’t have jammers (though there is MALD-J…), so RCG remains effective. There are rumors that Iraq is negotiating for S-300 (SA-20) missiles; time will tell.

al-Anbar News: Iraqi Mi-35?

That went well…
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Helicopters: Confirmed rumors indicate that Iraq requested AH-64 Apaches, which they had seen up close in American hands, and which are also in use by neighbors like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, et. al. The USA reportedly offered Iraq AH-1Zs Viper attack helicopters instead, and eventually offered AH-64D/Es; by then, Iraq had already ordered Mi-28s and Mi-35s from Russia, and they eventually decided against ordering the American machines.

The Mi-28NE’s heavily-armored design is closer to the Apache than it is to the USMC’s new AH-1Zs, and the NE variant offers day/night capabilities. The Mi-35M is a more modern variant of the Mi-24s that Saddam’s air force flew, and it’s a much larger attack helicopter design, with internal space for 4-6 soldiers. That makes it an excellent choice for special forces. The Russian helicopters can’t use the AGM-114 Hellfire missiles that Iraq has been firing from AC-208 planes and IA-407 helicopters, but their 23/30mm cannons, rockets, guided missiles, and other weapon options make them a formidable force. The Mi-28’s future had been tentative until Russia finally stepped up with a 2006 order, and Iraq becomes an important early export customer.

There are other compensations for Iraq. One is political. Unlike the USA, Russia isn’t going to play politics with spares and support. If Iraq’s central government finds itself using these gunships in armed clashes with the Kurds, or other neighbors, Maliki knows that Russia won’t cut off Iraq’s access to parts, maintenance, or associated weapons. In exchange, Iraq has to accept a separate supply chain for Mi-28 and Mi-35 parts and weapons, coupled with Russia’s well-earned reputation for unresponsive support. They may have fewer attack helicopters in the air at any one time, but at least it won’t become zero.

Then What?


T-90: next?
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There have been reports of other elements to the deal, with armored vehicles mentioned most often.

Armored Vehicles: Iraq’s purchases of BTR-4s and M113s, refurbishment of older BMP-1 and MTLB tracked vehicles, and rumored deal for more MTLBs, give them a full array of armored personnel carriers and infrantry fighting vehicles. What they’re really short on, is tanks. 140 M1A1-SA Abrams form the high end of their force, supplemented by some Soviet era T-72s and old T-54/55s. If their moves toward mechanized divisions is serious. Iraq Order of Battle publisher DJ Elliott sees tanks as the biggest gap. That makes rumors of an armored vehicle buy important.

There is a request outstanding for another 140 American M1s, but Iraq will need more than that to fill in its missing battalions, and some form of Russian or Ukrainian design seemed likely. DJ Elliott is wondering whether Iraq might begin buying tracked BMP-3 Infantry Fighting Vehicles for use as “light tanks,” at about at 35 per battalion, as an interim step. Their 100mm gun and missiles give them some ability to take on other tanks, their ability to work with infantry would give them broader counterinsurgency and security uses, and the UAE is already a regional customer. The other possibility would be a buy of main battle tanks. Older T-72s could be bought and upgraded at the new Czech-built facility in country. Or, Iraq could buy Russia’s T-90S model, in order to make up those numbers. So far, the Iraqi parliament seems unenthusiastic.

Artillery is another serious weakness in the current Iraqi army, and any deal for “heavy armored vehicles” could also be looking to shore up that weakness. Russia sells the 152mm MSTA-S tracked self-propelled howitzer, and the 2S31 Vena is a 120mm self-propelled mortar on a BMP-3 chassis. 9K57 Uragan (220mm) and 9K58 Smerch (300mm) rocket launcher systems mounted on armored heavy trucks offer longer-range artillery options, if Iraq is interested.


Su-25s unveiled

Fighters: Iraq is already training to fly 18 F-16IQ fighters, which are new aircraft roughly equivalent to Egypt’s new F-16C/Ds. They’ll need about 4 times that number in order to truly control their air space, and Russia really needs to sell MiG-29s. Modernized MiG-29M2s are fully multi-role aircraft, and buying them would remove Iraq’s single reliance of the USA for this critical asset. On the other hand, they come with a need for an entirely separate set of weapons, and have a questionable maintenance record in global service. France has a number of competitive options in this area, and this may be a harder deal for Russia to close. See “The New Iraqi Air Force: F-16IQ Block 52 Fighters” for in-depth coverage of Iraq’s options.

In 2014, however, the collapse of the Iraqi government’s authority in the north and west forced an emergency buy. A shipment of 5 used Russian Su-25 Frogfoot aircraft, along with Russian advisers, arrived in June 2014. Another 7 arrived from Iran, which began using them when Iraqi Su-25s fled to Iran during the Gulf Wars. The Su-25 was the Soviet counterpart to the A-10, a heavily armored close air support jet designed to loiter over the battlefield and accurately deliver ordnance at low speed. They were used in combat during Russia’s Afghan War, and despite their rugged construction, shoulder-fired FIM-92 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles did manage to take down some jets. It will be interesting to see how they fare in Iraq.

Contracts & Key Events

Map of Iraq

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July 1/16: Iraq has received the last of its ordered Mi-28 NE Night Hunter attack helicopters from Russia. The first of an estimated 15 Night Hunters was delivered in 2014 as part of a wider $4.2 billion defense package signed in 2012. According to Reuters, the deal marks the third biggest agreement for Russian arms sales since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

February 16/16: The delivery of 24 Pantsir-S1 air defense systems and missiles to Iraq from Russia has been completed. The systems were part of a wider defense package estimated to have been worth $4.2 billion with between 42-50 of the units on order. It remains unclear whether more will be delivered in future as part of the same or future deals, after Russian officials and businessmen met with top Iraqi officials last week in Baghdad to discuss oil, gas, and defense cooperation. The previous sale was met with some controversy as former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki almost cancelled the deal over allegations of corruption.

Oct 30/14: Mi-28s. Iraq has been receiving Mi-28NEs, but it takes time and preparation before new equipment can be used. The Mi-28s appear to be ready now, and:

“Defence Minister Dr Khalid al-Obeidi and senior ministry personnel observed a flypast of the helicopters over Baghdad ahead of their deployment to their operational bases. While their planned location has not been officially revealed, Taiji just north of Baghdad would be a likely option.”

The report arrives in the shadow of a recent announcement that Iraq’s Shi’ite army is preparing a significant offensive for Spring 2015. Sources: IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, “Iraq prepares to deploy Mi-28NE attack helos against the Islamic State” | NY Times, “Iraqis Prepare ISIS Offensive, With U.S. Help”.

Oct 8/14: Shot down. ISIS proves once again that that they’re well-armed and well-trained, shooting down an Iraqi Mi-35M attack helicopter and an IA-407 armed scout this week, and killing all personnel on board. The Iraqi Army aren’t the only combatants (q.v. Oct 1/14) with shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles on hand.

Helicopters are inherently vulnerable to those kinds of measures. The Soviets discovered this in Afghanistan, losing earlier Mi-24 variants of the Mi-35M. As for the IA-407, the similar OH-58D was a key player during Operation Iraqi Freedom, but the USA had quite a few of them shot out of the sky. Sources: Defense News, “IS downs another Iraqi helicopter”.

Oct 1/14: Pantsir-S1. The Iraqi government heralds the arrival of Pantsir-S1 systems, along with “Dzighit” twin-launchers for SA-16/-18 Igla missiles. The Russian arms contract reportedly includes 1,000 of the SA-18 Igla-S missiles. They won’t help at all against ISIS, but do allow dispersed low-level air control within territories controlled by the Shi’ite government. Russia Today adds that:

“Since November 2013, Russian military suppliers have delivered to Iraq 12 Mi-35M transport-assault helicopters (16 more to be delivered) and 3 Mi-28NA ‘Night Hunter’ gunships (12 to be supplied soon)…. The Iraqi army will soon start using Russia’s Solntsepek [TOS-1 heavy tracked vehicles that fire short range 220mm ‘Sun Scorch’ rockets carrying]… fuel-air explosive munitions… RIA Novosti reported, citing Almada Press news agency. The weapons have been delivered under the contract signed in July 2014.”

TOS-1 systems are normally part of chemical/ biological defense units in Russia, but one suspects that won’t be their role in Iraq. Sources: Russia Beyond the Headlines, “Russia supplies Iraq with Pantsir-S1, Dzhigit air defense systems” | Russia Today, “Iraq military gets advanced Russian air defense, flame weapons”.

July 6/14: Shot down? The Iranian government’s INRA media arm reports that Col. Shoja’at Alamdari Mourjani was reportedly killed over Samarra, north of Baghdad, last week. The Fars media arm showed pictures of the pilot’s funeral. The National Council of Resistance of Iran claims that 2 more Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps members were also killed around Samarra: Kamal Shirkhani and Pakistani-born Javid Hossein.

The Shi’ite cleric and long-standing Iranian ally Muqtada al-Sadr has militia members deployed to protect Samarra’s golden-domed al-Askari mosque, alongside ground forces from the Iraqi government; Iran also has ground forces in theater. It’s possible that the Colonel was fighting on the ground as a Forward Air Controller. The other possibility is that The Islamic State’s Sunni guerrillas have shot down one of Iran’s Su-25s, which are acknowledged to have Iranian pilots (q.v. July 2/14). Iranian sources weren’t giving out those kinds of details, but you’d expect that the other side would be making more of any Su-25 kills. Sources: NCRI, “Third Iranian regime IRGC member killed in Iraq” | AFP via Saudi Arabia’s Arab News, “Iran pilot killed fighting in Iraq” | Voice of America, “Iranian Pilot Killed in Iraq Defending Shrine”.

July 2/14: Su-25s. The BBC reports that some of the Su-25s in Iraq are from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Air Force – which is distinct from Iran’s regular air force. The BBC backs up their contention with cooperation from the IISS, which provides photos and serial numbers. The irony is, the jets were originally Iraq’s. During the 1991 war, 7 planes defected rather than face the allied armada. Now they’re back in Iraq, and the Aviationist says that “…(three Su-25UBKM and four Su-25KM jets) will be operated by four Iraqi pilots and 10 Iranian pilots.”

Actually, they may have been back before their official unveiling. On June 21/14, unidentified Iranian planes reportedly launched heavy airstrikes around Baiji, north of Baghdad. There are also rumors that this is a trade of sorts, wherein Iran gets ex-Indian Su-30Ks from Russia in exchange. Sources: BBC, “‘Iranian attack jets deployed’ to help Iraq fight Isis” | The Aviationist, “All Iranian Su-25 Frogfoot attack planes have just deployed to Iraq”.

July 1/14: Helicopter delivery. ITAR-TASS reports that An-124 ultra-heavy transport aircraft have delivered 4 Mi-35M and 3 Mi-28NE helicopters to Iraq. They’ve previously reported Iraq’s total at 43 helicopters, to be delivered by 2016: 24 Mi-35s and 19 Mi-28s. That differs from Rostvertol’s own financial reports, however (q.v. June 12/14), which list 28 Mi-35Ms and 15 Mi-28NEs, respectively. Source: ARMS-TASS.

July 1/14: Mi-28. Rostvertol celebrates its 75th anniversary, and the displays include Iraqi Mi-28NEs. Sources: LiveJournal bmpd, “Mi-28NE for Iraq” [in Russian, incl. photos] | Russian Helicopters, “Major Russian military helicopter producer celebrates 75th anniversary” (Rostvertol is a subsidiary).


Su-25 Arrival

June 26-30/14: SU-25s. The Iraqi Ministry of Defense confirms receipt of 5 Su-25 Frogfoot close-air support jets from Russia, and Iraqi Army Lieutenant General Anwar Hamad Amen Ahmed says that they will be thrown directly into the battle against the Sunni Caliphate in Iraq & Syria, but that takes more than fighters. It takes maintenance, which Iraqis are poor at. It takes jet pilots that have been trained to operate with ground forces, and Iraq doesn’t really have those. And it takes communications and specialized ground personnel so that support requests are answered in a timely way. Also not really present, though American special forces personnel have at least the training required. Gen. Ahmed says that:

“We have experienced pilots and other professionals. Our Russian friends have also sent their own experts to assist us in preparing the aircraft. All the logistics have been planned for as well.”

Sure. Of course, you can launch a “massive attack” by just sending the aircraft on free-ranging bombing missions, to areas where your own troops have fled. It helps if civilian casualties aren’t a concern.

A June 26th report by Russia’s Interfax had pegged the aircraft at ex-Indian “Su-30MKI”, which was obviously incorrect because India had only returned less-advanced used Su-30MKs from their initial stopgap order. A “source in the Russian aviation industry” added that delivery from storage warehouses of the Russian Defense Ministry could have allowed Su-27SKM fighters or Su-25 attack aircraft. Which seems to be what has happened. Sources: Interfax, “Russia might have supplied rebuilt Sukhoi aircraft to Iraq – source” | Russia Today, “Target ISIS: First batch of Russian fighter jets arrives in Iraq” | UK’s RUSI, “Desperate for Air Support, Maliki Turns to Russia”.

July 28/14: Shot down. The guerillas’ Al-Anbar News Twitter account publishes photos of a shot down Iraqi helicopter, reportedly an Mi-35, over Saklaviya northwest of Fallujah. There isn’t much left, so it’s hard to tell, but it had a large 5-bladed rotor. Twitter, Pic 1 and Pic 2.

June 20/14: Mi-24s. The Czech Republic’s Defense Minister Martin Stropnicky says that they are in talks to sell 7 of their 17 Russian-built Mi-24V attack helicopters to the Iraqi Defense Ministry.

The Iraqi government has lost Kirkuk to the Kurds, and lost most of the northern and eastern Sunni areas to hard-line Islamist forces that are backed (for now) by local Sunni tribes. At this point, Iraq needs any flying attack platform that can be delivered quickly, and they’re very similar to the Mi-35s that Russia recently delivered. Their weapon compatibility with Iraq’s existing armed Mi-17s would also be a plus.

The Czechs, keen to push an advantage, are also pushing Iraq to buy locally-designed L-159 light attack jets. Aero Vodochody had lost that contract to Korea’s KAI (q.v. Dec 12/13), but the FA-50s won’t even begin arriving until 2015 – 2016. The Czechs have about 8 jets in storage that they could deliver fairly quickly, and that may be enough for Iraq’s immediate needs. If Iraq wants more, restarting the L-159 production line won’t solve their problem in time. If the Czechs divert L-159 planes directly from their own air force, on the other hand, they could offer nearly-immediate deliveries as part of a helicopter/jet package deal. The Czechs would then be able to choose whether to refurbish the 8 stored L-159s for their own use, and/or backfill CzAF stocks with the new L-169 that’s in development. We’ll have to see what gets negotiated, if anything. Sources: Defense News, “Iraq Eyes Czech Mi 24 helos To Combat ISIL Militants”.

June 12/14: Rostvertol report. Rosvertol’s 2013 annual report contains a number of interesting details regarding its orders. Iraq (foreign customer K-8) has apparently ordered 28 Mi-35M helicopters, and 15 Mi-28NEs. This differs from other reported figures, but DID will be using these numbers as the standard.

The report adds that Mi-28s have been having problems with increased vibration in the main gearbox. Sources: Rostvertol PLC, “Annual Report ‘Rosvertol’, ZA2013 Year.


Mi-35 delivery

May 6/14: Delivery. The Deputy Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Konstantin Biryulin, offers some clarity in an interview with Interfax-AVN:

“Russia is successfully fulfilling the contract for supply of Mi-35 and Mi-28NE helicopters to Iraq. The Mi-35 batch has already been delivered [in December 2013] and the Iraqis are happy with them. As for Mi-28NE helicopters, the first batch of these will be delivered to Iraq before the end of this year,” said Biryulin, who leads the Russian delegation at the Sofex 2014 arms show in Jordan.

Sources: Voice of Russia, “Iraq to receive first batch of Russian Night Hunter helicopters before end of 2014”.

Feb 27/14: Some pictures and unofficial updates:

“Taken at Rostov on Don plant, the photographs show Baghdad’s new [Mi-28] attack choppers in the color scheme chosen by the Iraqi Air Force…. Akram Kharief, the editor of Secret Difa 3, a blog focusing on defense topics in the Maghreb region, we can show you the first images of the brand new Mi-28 Havoc helicopter on delivery to Iraq…. 23 Russian attack choppers have been delivered to the Iraqis, the first batch of 10, in September 2013 and the second of 13 examples, in January 2014.”

Sources: The Aviationist, “First images of the new Iraqi Mi-28 Night Hunter attack helicopters”.

Jan 4/14: Delivery. The Alsumaria television channel says that a 2nd shipment of 13 Russian Mi-28NEs have arrived in Iraq, for use in Iraq’s Sunni Anbar Province west of Baghdad. The 1st shipment reportedly involved 15 Mil helicopters, though it didn’t mention whether they were Mi-28s or Mi-35s. Subsequent reports cast doubt, and suggest that these may be Mi-35 helicopters, a modernized derivative of the Mi-24 made famous by Russia’s Afghan war.

The 1st group of Iraqi pilots and technicians reportedly finished their training in Fall 2013. Sources: The Voice of Russia, “13 Russian Mi-28NE helicopters arrive in Iraq”.

June 2013: Mi-28s. At the Paris air show, Rosoboronexport deputy head Alexander Mikheyev confirms to Russian media that the deal is still on, with the first deliveries scheduled for September 2013.

May 31/13: Deal begins. Rostech CEO Sergei Chemezov tells RIA Novosti that Iraq has begun payments, and production has started for the system in the October 2012 deal. RIA Novosti says the deal involves 30 Mi-28NE attack helicopters, and 50 Pantsir S1 short-range air defense missile systems. RIA Novosti.

Deal in force

May 21/13: Investigation. The head of the Iraqi Parliament’s Integrity Committee, Bahaa al-Araji, says that Iraq’s Central Criminal Court has resumed an investigation into officials suspected of corruption related to the Russia deal. Overall verdict? “The deal remains in force, but is not being implemented yet…” RIA Novosti fills in some recent history:

“The Iraqi Parliament initiated an investigation into several officials…. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said in March 2013 that Iraq and Russia had initialed a revised deal and deliveries under the contract would start by the summer. The corruption investigation was closed shortly after.”

Nov 9-12/12: Investigation. An Iraqi government spokesman announces that accusations of corruption had led Prime Minister Maliki to review the Russian arms deal.

Within a day or 2, however, Iraq’s acting Defense Minister Sadun Al-Dulaymi tells a press conference in Baghdad that “The deal is going ahead.” He says that the only issue involves a failure to submit some papers to the anti-corruption commission in time. BBC | Al-Jazeera | RIA Novosti.

Oct 18/12: American switch? Acting Defense Minister Sadoun al-Dulaimi tells Reuters that Iraq is talking with American officials about buying air defense systems and AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. That’s an interesting comment, given the recent buys of Pantsir and Mi-28 counterparts from Russia, and the challenge of integrating the Pantsir S1s into American command systems if they want to create a unified air defense network. Reuters | Iran’s Press TV.

Oct 17/12: Testing. Russia’s RIA Novosti reports that Russia is going to test its Pansir-S1 systems against live cruise missiles for the first time, instead of target drones. Both tend to be missile-like bodies with jet engines, wings, and guidance systems. Still, some cruise missiles would offer lower radar profiles and evasive maneuvers that may not be programmed into a target drone. The question is how realistic the tests will actually be, given the natural desire to avoid hurting the SA-22’s export status.

Oct 15/12: DJ Elliott, who publishes the Iraq Order of Battle, offers his thoughts on Iraq’s recent buy:

“Iraq is reported to be buying additional long-range radars as part of the package and is rumored to be negotiating for SA20 [S300] SAMs. The 30 Mi-28s [1 Attack Sq-probably to be based at Taji] are reported to be $1 billion with the price for the Pantsir-S1s and additional air defense items is reported to be $2.3 billion according to Iraqi sources. There is also a surcharge for rapid delivery involved in those prices.

At first glance the Pantsir-S1 is a rip-off… However, it is still used for cruise-missile defense of SA20 sites because its communications/radars are compatible and cruise-missiles do not normally carry jammers… 42 Pantsir-S1s is 7 batteries of 6 firing units each in Russian structure indicating 7 initial planned Air Defense Battalions composed of 1 Battery of Pantsir-S1, 1 battery of SA20, and 1-2 batteries of anti-aircraft guns… Also, overlooked by most reporting but mentioned on Iraqi TV, the Czech deal includes establishing an Iraqi Armor rework/upgrade facility for T72 tanks. [At Taji?] This is more important than the aircraft deal and accounts for much of the price. An upgrade facility in Iraq for T72s means that the Iraqis are probably planning on buying large numbers of used T72s and [like the Russian Army] are going to use upgraded T72s as a large part of their tank force vice buying new T90s. The most likely sources for used T72s include the Ukraine and Poland – Russia is retaining its T72s and upgrading them thus is unlikely to have spares available to sell.”

Oct 9/12: The deal is “announced.” It’s clear that Iraq is buying 30 Mi-28NE attack helicopters, and 42-50 Pantsir low-level air defense systems, but the numbers don’t quite add, and other elements of the deal are likely to emerge only with time.

The first challenge the deal must overcome is Parliamentary. Maliki can sign the deal, but Iraq’s legislature has to authorize the money for the purchases in its budgets. There has already been some pushback from that quarter, and time will tell how Maliki fares.

The next challenge will involve fielding, though this an easier hurdle. Iraq never really stopped operating Russian weapons, including tanks, artillery, helicopters, and guns. Some were scavenged and restored from the Saddam-era military. Others were provided by US allies. Still others, like Iraq’s Mi-17 helicopters, were bought using the USA itself as an intermediary. What’s different about these buys is that they involve a direct relationship with a new source for support, and also involve new roles within Iraq’s reconstituted military. Working our those kinks, and training to use their equipment’s full capabilities without endangering their own forces, is going to take work and time. Russia’s Pravda | RIA Novosti || Al Jazeera (incl. video) | BBC | Bloomberg | Kyiv Post | Lebanon’s Daily Star | Voice of America.

Russian deal

Additional Readings

Readers with corrections, comments, or information to contribute are encouraged to contact DID’s Founding Editor, Joe Katzman. We understand the industry – you will only be publicly recognized if you tell us that it’s OK to do so.

Background: Weapons

Weapons are listed by designation, in alphabetical order.

* DID – AH-64E Apache Block III: The Once and Future Attack Helicopter.

* DID – Russia Improving its Mi-28 Attack Helicopter Fleet.

* Czech MoD – Mi-35 (Mi-24V) – Technical Specifications.

* Army Recognition – Pantsir-S1 / Pantsyr-S1 Air Defense missile – gun system / SA-22 Greyhound.

* GlobalSecurity – Su-25 FROGFOOT Grach (Rook) / Su-39 FROGFOOT.

* Military Today – TOS-1A Heavy flamethrower system.

Background: Other

* Wikipedia – List of Soviet aircraft losses in the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Illuminating.

* DID (July 18/13) – Iraq: Weapons – and Challenges – In the Pipeline. SIGIR confirms reports that an AH-64 export case is pending, and it has now been formally announced – but no contract has been signed.

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