Air Platforms

Iraq requests military equipment to bolster counter-terrorism capabilities

12 May 2014
Iraq is looking to buy 24 AT-6C light strike and ISR aircraft (pictured) as part of a wider counter-terrorism package being requested from the United States. Source: US Air Force

The Iraqi government has requested the sale of military equipment from the United States valued at USD981 million, the Defense Security and Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 13 May.

Under three separate requests, valued at USD790 million, USD101 million, and USD90 million respectively, Iraq has asked for the sale of 24 Beechcraft AT-6C Texan II light attack aircraft, 200 armoured Humvee ground vehicles, and 14 Aerostat tower systems (including seven Aerostats). These are being made to enhance Iraq's counter-terrorism capabilities and to protect key infrastructure.

The proposed sale of 24 AT-6C twin-seat turboprop light-attack and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, also covers spare engines, navigation equipment, AN/AAR-47 missile launch detectionm, and AN/ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing systems, as well as parts, training, contractor support, and other ancillary services.

The second proposed sale of 200 M1151A1 Up-Armored High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) also comprises M2 12.7 mm (.50 calibre) machine gun mounts, commercial radios, communication equipment, repair and spare parts, and other support and items.

The third and final proposed sale comprises seven Aerostats (17 meter) and 14 Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (RAID) Tower Systems, installation, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, as well as site surveys.

The requests must first be approved by Congress before contracts can be finalised. No timelines were disclosed.

COMMENT

Of the three requests, the proposed sale of 24 AT-6C light strike and ISR aircraft is arguably the most significant.

Based on the T-6 trainer aircraft, 15 of which have been operated by the Iraqi Air Force (IqAF) since 2009, the AT-6C comes with a more powerful engine and is equipped with a variety of air-to-surface munitions and missiles for the light-strike role. It is also equipped with an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret for ISR duties.

While the DSCA notification makes no mention of possible weapons fit, the AT-6C is configured to carry precision munitions, such as laser-guided bombs and laser-guided rockets. It can also carry unguided bombs, rockets, and podded machine gun/cannon systems on its six underwing hardpoints (three per wing), as well as short-range air-to-air missiles for self-defence.

Given Iraq's particular security situation with regard to ongoing terrorist activities, the AT-6C would make a perfect addition to the IqAF's fixed-wing light-strike and ISR inventory, alongside the armed Cessna C208 Grand Caravans.

The AT-6C would fulfil a niche role within the Iraqi armed forces between the low-end armed Bell 407 helicopters of the army, and T-6A and Utva Lasta 95 trainers of the air force; and the IqAF's high-end KAI FA-50 Golden Eagle and Lockheed Martin F-16 multirole fighters. Armed helicopters do not have the payload or endurance of fixed-wing types such as the AT-6B and can be more vulnerable to ground fire, and while trainers can carry bombs, they do not have the systems to deliver precision-guided munitions.

Further to the limitations of low-end helicopters and trainers, high-performance fighters such as the F-16, and FA-50 are very costly to procure and operate and do not necessarily have the flexibility of the lower and slower turboprop in terms of persistence, sustainability, and responsiveness.

Iraq has previously requested 36 AT-6B light strike platforms, but no contract was signed. It is not clear what the difference is between the AT-6B and AT-6C, and it could just be that AT-6B is the Beechcraft designation while AT-6C is the US Department of Defense designation for the same AT-6 platform.

If this sale is realised, Iraq will become the first customer for the light-attack variant of the Texan II trainer aircraft.



(585 words)
By posting a comment you confirm that you have read and accept our Posting Rules and our Terms of Use of this site.

RELEVANT PROFILE LISTINGS

  • DRDO Abhyas

    Type Expendable aerial target. Development Abhyas is an expendable high speed unmanned aerial target being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to meet the requirements of the Indian Armed Forces. Description Airframe High-wing monoplane with cropped-delta

  • Meggitt BTT-1 Imp

    Type Training and all-arms air defence target. Development More than 500 Imps have been produced since 1983 for a variety of customers. They are used as targets for a variety of light air defence weapons, including 0.50 in general purpose machine guns and a range of visually controlled gun

  • Orbital Sciences GQM-163A Coyote

    Type Supersonic Sea-Skimming Target (SSST). Development The Orbital Sciences Corporation's (Chandler, Arizona) GQM-163A Coyote is an analogue for supersonic, sea-skimming anti-ship cruise missiles such as the Raduga 3M80 (NATO Reporting Name 'Sunburn') and is designed to support ship defence

  • Adcom Systems Yabhon-GRN 1 and 2

    Type Advanced high performance jet turbine and long endurance airframe target. Development Designed as enhanced performance targets for air-to-air or ground-to-air missile systems, these new generation high-speed targets were displayed at the Dubai air show in November 2011. The Yabhon-GRN 2 is

  • Adcom Systems Yabhon-HMD

    Type Recoverable aerial target. Development The Yabhon-HMD is designed as a high performance, high manoeuvrability and high altitude jet engine target; specifically for use with anti-aircraft guns, surface-to-air missiles and air-to-air missiles. It is a derivative of Adcom System's earlier

ADVERTISEMENT

Industry Links

IHS Jane's is not responsible for the content within or linking from Industry Links pages.
ADVERTISEMENT