In September 2006, “Up to $750M in Weapons & Support for Iraq” described Iraq’s order for a number of American small arms, as well as helicopters and blast resistant vehicles. About a year later, we have a follow-on order that extends a number of the trends that request started. While the temptation exists to focus on the helicopters, blast-resistant vehicles, small arms, et. al., that would be a mistake. This is an extremely important contract for Iraq’s armed forces, and none of those systems are the reason why.
On Sept 25/07, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced [PDF format] Iraq’s formal request for vehicles, small arms, ammunition, explosives, and communications equipment as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $2.257 billion. The request includes:
In September 2006, “Up to $750M in Weapons & Support for Iraq” described Iraq’s order for a number of American small arms, as well as helicopters and blast resistant vehicles. A subsequent update to that piece shed more light on the process Iraq used to select US weapons over the Soviet-derived alternatives that are so common in the country as a legacy of the Saddam era. There are some programs to refurbish those weapons, but the new direction seemed clear.
Iraq has just made a request for follow-on equipment, but US small arms manufacturers are finding that it’s hard to keep customers exclusively loyal if you can’t perform. Iraq continues to request US weapons, but the Washington Post reports that Iraq is also preparing to buy over $100 million in Soviet-derived small arms from… China. As the Post article notes:
Salt water is one of the most corrosive substances on earth. Most people don’t think of it that way because it doesn’t burn them when they touch it, but in terms of the number of substances it can dissolve, salt water has few chemical equals. Naval engineers certainly think of it that way, and they’ve been struggling with ways to protect and maintain naval equipment in that environment for several hundred years now. The recent era of metal ships has, of course, made these problems that much more acute.
Navies employ a wide range of methods to combat corrosion, but there’s always room for improvement. Hence the recent set of contracts issued in response to Naval Research Laboratory request for Proposal Number N000173-06-C-SK08…