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Iraq orders new artillery

French soldiers fire a CAESAR in support of Iraqi forces near Al-Qaim during Operation ‘Roundup' in May 2018. (Combined Joint Task Force – Operation ‘Inherent Resolve')

The Iraqi Ministry of Defence (MoD) has placed contracts with the United States and France for advanced weapons, including artillery, the state Iraqi News Agency cited Major General Abdul-Ardawi, the MoD's head of artillery, as saying on 8 May.

He did not identify the weaponry that has been ordered but noted that artillery has proved its effectiveness in the battles against the Islamic State extremist group and is considered better than aircraft.

The Iraqi Ground Forces' main artillery systems are US-supplied M198 towed howitzers and M109 tracked self-propelled howitzers.

The latest US Office of the Inspector General report on Operation ‘Inherent Resolve' against the Islamic State noted that “artillery remains absent from the [Iraqi] Ground Forces' operational planning” even though it could be used to strike some targets more easily and for longer periods than aircraft.

The previous report released in February said Iraqi artillery appeared incapable of hitting specific targets but demonstrated during an operation in October 2021 that it can lay down suppressive fire to pin down insurgents in an unpopulated area. The report added that coalition advisors were working on a plan to “re-energise the artillery directorate in order to advance artillery battalions' training, deployment, and combat employment”.

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