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This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during January 2014. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 January 2014.
- MoD: Only one site is official for IMoD; 3 part plan reiterated; Working to establish Corps and Area Commands; Supply Directorate improving; Logistics and Transport; JOC; Romanian and Indonesian buys possible.
- Army: Divisional Intel Battalions; Armor, Mech and Engineering focus; new artillery buy?; 4 Commando Battalions built up; 16/4 Brigade Re-equipped; 33 Infantry Regiments trained; New tank deal?; all brigades equipped with 120mm Mortar Battalions; 2 new Brigades identified in west Baghdad; new tanks in 5th Mech Division?
- Aviation: Italian helos and UAVs?; preparing for new aircraft; Mi-35s delivered/Mi-28s have not; ADC status – building from bottom-up; 500 Hellfire and 24 AH64 to be bought – 6 AH64 to be leased for training pending delivery.
- Navy: More Italian vessels?
- MoI: Basrah FP Brigade in Baghdad.
- KRG: 14 helicopters for the KRG MoI.
A new survey is to the right concerning a possible reorganization of the ISF pages similar to the KRG Page. I.E. Each page being an Operational Command with currently subordinate IA, ISOF, FP/EP, DBE, and Oil Police listed. There are pros and cons to this. I am looking for comments more than votes as I weight comments more than just votes. If you do not wish to publically comment – e-mail me.
Iraqi Ministry of Defense
In the 2 January Khaima, the Iraqi MOD reiterated that it does not have any official twitter, face book or website other than MOD.MIL.IQ. The 9 January edition repeated this and stated: “To all TV channels and media sources. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain official videos and media from the only official MOD source.”
The 2 January Khaima also provided additional items of interest:
- According to the Chief of Staff: In 2007 we established a committee with the US allies and NATO to build a complete 3 stage plan for the buildup of the Iraqi Armed Forces in three stages through to 2020. We managed to beat our plan for the first stage of the development plan (2008-2012). But the security situation has forced the MOD to build new units outside the scope of the original plan. But in the future we will stick to the original plan.
- Assistant to the Chief of Staff for Operations: The “Joint Operations Command” has become effective in bringing together large units. Right now we are in the process of building up our organizations to reach the levels of corps or regional commands. We are building specialized wireless, troposcatter, and fiber optic network with the Korean contract.
- Assistant to the Chief of Staff for Supply: Recent progress has been the creation of the munitions directorate and linking the old military industrial companies (from pre 2003 era) to it to enable the resumption of the production of parts, munitions and weapons. We have expanded the import of weapons from multiple sources instead of one, as well as induct a large number of women to the support units in line with the development in developed militaries. We opened 5 strategic reserve fuel depots spread around the country. For the future we are looking to build up our central depot, regain our lands and build the necessary housing units for soldiers.
The 9 January Khaima provided data on the Directorate of Logistics and Transport, JOC, and hinted at future Romanian and Indonesian arms deals.
- Director of Logistics and Transport. Consists of the following regiments: HQ Transport Regiment, Tank Transporter Regiment, Fuel Transporter Regiment, Light Vehicle Depot [battalion], Recycled [salvaged] Vehicle Depot [battalion], Main Life Support [sustainment] Depot [battalion], Military Bakeries Command, Military Fire Fighting Command, and a Heavy Transport Company (as part of the HQ regiment) – recently established. In addition: In every brigade there is a transport and logistics company. Every operations command has a transport and logistics unit. We are planning on returning to service all the transport and logistics units we had before 2003. The Transport Command brings all the weapons purchases from the ports to the distribution centers including the Korean and Serbian contracts.
- Commander of the Jazira and Badiya Operations Command [JOC]. The unit started in Rabia area on the Syrian border last year. 428km of border area is secured by the unit, and that has since expanded to 1600km. In Ninawa it covers Sinjar, Rabia and the area towards Ba’aj plus all the way down to Hafr al Batin in the south. The depth of the OC is about 90km officially. But in reality we cover areas beyond that 90km, and in reality cover about 200km depth along the border. WE have borders with Ninawa Operations Command [NiOC], 4th Division, 7th Division north of Rutba, and in the south with the Border Police [DBE] and the V Border Region. In reality there are 2 border commands there [in JOC], the II and V Border Divisions. We have additional units attached to us, equivalent to about a division including the 37/9 Brigade, 38/10 Mech Brigade, some units from the 11th Division including the 3-44/11 Battalion, and most of the 9th [Armor] Division with about 17 battalions is operating under our command. The command is split into north of Euphrates and south of Euphrates. The mobile HQs setup include Rabia HQ, Al Qaim HQ, 2nd Division from south of Khansa’a to Arar, and from there the V Border Division with a depth of operation of 90km. All the units fall under a single command structure including Army, Police, and Border Guards.
- General Directorate for Defense Development and Needs. Collaborating with a number of international partners on the plans including the US, Indonesia, Romania. [Note: Probably a buy of wheeled APCs planned for motorized forces.]
The 2 January Khaima had some IA specific items:
- We are now working on closing the gaps in the reconnaissance and intelligence battalions for the divisions as well as working on an integrated data system.
- We are working on filling the equipment gaps in our armored and mechanized units, both in equipment and support facilities and staff. We are doing constant monitoring and maintenance for the armor units, their equipment and training readiness. We are also developing the engineering and chemical defense forces. We are constantly training on improving the training and capabilities of all the engineering, EOD units.
- We are working on filling the equipment gaps in the artillery units, improving their training, tracking their readiness and constant maintenance of the equipment. As part of our third phase of the armed forces build up we looked at the latest organizational, weapon and training developments in armies around the world and incorporated best practice into our plans. We also signed contracts to buy the latest in weapons and equipment for our forces as part of phase 3. [What contract?]
- We have built up the commando battalions of the 2nd, 4th, 10th, and 14th Divisions.
- Equipped the 16/4 Brigade at Kirkush. [With what? Rumors of its desertion to KRG appear to be exaggerated.]
- Sent through training 33 infantry regiments.
- The armor corps. We are about to import modern tanks to equip our armored and mechanized divisions. They will be supplied from high quality international suppliers. [What tank deal?]
- The artillery directorate. Prepared more than 90 artillery weapons for the army. Every brigade has 120mm mortar unit.
The 59/6 Brigade is reported operating north of Baghdad and the 60/17 Brigade is reported operating in the Arsan area of Abu Ghraib. There are 3 Brigades over strength reported in 6th and 17th Divisions indicating a minimum of 1 and probably 2 new divisions being formed in western Baghdad.
The 22 January Khaima mentioned “Pre-emptive operation by the tank regiments of the 5th Mechanized Division.” Where these new tanks are from has not been mentioned. The only tank type they have been training on is T72s.
The 2 January Khaima had some details concerning Aviation and Air Defense:
- General Secretary of the MOD welcomed the Italian Defense Attaché. They finalized details of the upcoming signing of a deal for Italian companies to help Iraq in helicopter construction and unmanned aerial vehicle technology. [Coproduction of Italian helicopters and UAVs?]
- Commander of the Air Force. Our three main airbases: Assad, Balad, Imam Ali and the Air Academy are undergoing expansion and upgrading in preparation for receiving the new aircraft in 2014. 600 staff is being prepared to operate and maintain the F16 aircraft alone. We are planning on opening a new air college near Baghdad soon. We have also bought top training aircraft which will see the light of day soon. We are also working on building up an electronic warfare capability.
- Mi35s have arrived and Mi28s will arrive. [Both Russian and Iraqi official sources state that no Mi28s have been delivered yet. Rumors and claims in the press appear to be false. According to an aviation source: "I asked a well-informed Russian contact: Mi-28 has not even entered testing! 6 new Mi-35M are already in Iraq and the war. So apparently the Mi-35Ms have been delivered, the Mi-28N not."]
- Air Defense Command. We are evaluating a large number of air defense systems from different countries. The current units are: 1st Unguided Surface to Air [AAA] Battalion, 2nd Unguided Surface to Air Battalion, 3rd Unguided Surface to Air Battalion, 1st Early Warning and Control Battalion, 5th Early Warning and Control Battalion, Avenger SAM Battalion, IGLA SAM Battalion, PANTSIR SAM Battalion, and Southern Operations Center. We received from Egypt 23mm guns for the 1st Unguided Surface to Air Battalion. We also evaluated systems from the US, France, China, and Russia. In 2013 we obtained an Avenger Battery from the US as well as 2 radars for medium-high altitude coverage of 90% of Iraq’s airspace. We will soon receive modern weapons from the Russian contract. Our plan for the development of the ADC start with providing basic early warning, then short range air defense coverage followed by wider air defense system. [This confirms that the ADC is being built from the bottom up and will not be a true IADS for probably another decade.]
Three DSCA Notices to Congress concerning possible aviation arms sales have posted in January. It should be kept in mind that the sales have not been contracted and the prices quoted are life-span amounts with all the bells and whistles included. Sales might not occur and prices are invariably lower.
- Jan23: Possible sale of 500 AGM-114K/R Hellfire missiles.
- Jan27: Possible sale of 8 AN/AAR-57 Common Missile Warning System, 3 T-700-GE-701D engines, 3 AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight (MTADS), 3 AN/AAQ-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors (PNVS), 152 AGM-114 K-A HELLFIRE Missiles, 14 HELLFIRE M299 Launchers, 6 AN/APR-39A(V)4 Radar Warning Systems with training Universal Data Modems (UDM), 2 Embedded Global Positioning System Inertial Navigation System (EGI), 6 AN/AVR-2A/B Laser Warning Detectors, 12 M261 2.75 inch Rocket Launchers, M206 Infrared Countermeasure flares, M211 and M212 Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munitions (AIRCM) flares, Internal Auxiliary Fuel Systems (IAFS), Aviator’s Night Vision Goggles, Aviation Mission Planning System, training ammunition, helmets, transportation, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, site surveys, U.S. Government and contractor technical assistance, and other related elements of program and logistics support. This will allow Iraqi Security Forces to begin training on the operation and maintenance of six leased U.S. APACHE helicopters in preparation of their receipt of new-build aircraft.
- Jan27: Possible sale of 24 AH-64E APACHE LONGBOW Attack Helicopters, 56 T700-GE-701D Engines, 27 AN/ASQ-170 Modernized Target Acquisition and Designation Sight, 27 AN/AAR-11 Modernized Pilot Night Vision Sensors, 12 AN/APG-78 Fire Control Radars with Radar Electronics Unit (LONGBOW component), 28 AN/AAR-57(V)7 Common Missile Warning Systems, 28 AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Sets, 28 AN/APR-39A(V)4 or APR-39C(V)2 Radar Signal Detecting Sets, 28 AN/ALQ-136A(V)5 Radar Jammers, 52 AN/AVS-6, 90 Apache Aviator Integrated Helmets, 60 HELLFIRE Missile Launchers, and 480 AGM-114R HELLFIRE Missiles. Also included are AN/APR-48 Modernized Radar Frequency Interferometers, AN/APX-117 Identification Friend-or-Foe Transponders, Embedded Global Positioning Systems with Inertial Navigation with Multi Mode Receiver, MXF-4027 UHF/VHF Radios, 30mm Automatic Chain Guns, Aircraft Ground Power Units, 2.75 in Hydra Rockets, 30mm rounds, M211 and M212 Advanced Infrared Countermeasure Munitions flares, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, site surveys, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, design and construction, and other related elements of logistics support.
The 2 January Khaima mentioned that: The General Secretary of the MOD welcomes the Italian Defense Attaché. In addition they discussed the offers for the construction, maintenance and preparation of navy vessels for the Iraqi Navy. [More Italian vessels for the IqN? Rumors of more US vessels remain unconfirmed.]
Ministry of Interior
The Basrah Federal Police Brigade has been reported operating in Baghdad. Most of the FP training establishment is in Baghdad which has made rotating FP units through there for training common. However, this could be backfill for other Baghdad ISF forces deployed to Anbar.
Kurdish Regional Government
On 3 January it was reported that 14 helicopters are being delivered to the Kurdistan Regional Government. MD Helicopters Inc. will officially hand over the helicopters Friday. They will be used for law enforcement, firefighting and medical purposes, according to representatives of the company. The Arizona-produced helicopters will be used by the KRG’s Ministry of the Interior. [Previous reporting indicates these are 12 MD530F and 2 MD902.]
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during December 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 December 2013.
- Army: New EPD to be Lt Infantry Division and 4th Infantry Division probably moving to Anbar; New SP Artillery Battalion activated in 9th Armor Division.
- Aviation: New Transport Squadron in IqAF; 6 Mi-35s delivered – no other Russian helos; 3 ARH407 delivered; 24 T50IQ ordered.
- ISOF: Joint Special Operations Command?
- MoI: 10th DBE Brigade shifts to III Region.
The sixth course in light artillery [120mm mortars] graduated for the new forming Iraqi Army Energy Protection Division [EPD]. This indicates this division will not be a security division but will be a light infantry division. Previous reporting placed the EPD’s HQ in Salahadin province which could mean it is to replace the 4th Infantry Division. In the same edition of Khaima was a report on the communications network for 4th Infantry Division which indicated they have shifted subordination from Tigris Operational Command [TOC] to Jazirah Operational Command [JOC]. This probably means 4th Infantry Division will be replaced by the EPD in Salahadin and will redeploy to JOC [Anbar/Ninawa].
A second Self Propelled Howitzer Battalion has activated in 9th Armor Division. It is probably designated 309th Field Artillery Regiment. This leaves 1 more artillery regiment to form to fill out the 9th Divisional Artillery Command. This is the only IA Division to have more than 2 Divisional Artillery Battalions – 4 are planned per division.
The An-32s have their own squadron. The 27 November Khaima reported on air ambulance training with the 23rd and 33rd Squadrons using C130s and An-32s. Prior to this the C130s and An-32s were reported to all be part of 23rd Squadron.
The first batch of 4 Mi-35 helicopters were flown to Iraq in late November and flight tested/accepted on 2 December. An additional 2 Mi-35s are also reported to have arrived and are operational. Only 6 Mi-35s have been delivered. No Squadron number has been mentioned for these Mi-35s. Iraqi press is full of wild and inaccurate speculation as to numbers and types of helicopters delivered by Russia. According to a Russian Aviation source, 6 Mi-35s have delivered and are operational, the Mi-28s have yet to be flight tested in Russia, and no Ka-52s were ever ordered. [Comment: “The first casualty in war is the truth.” Most mainstream press do not know or care about the difference between fact or fiction in their propaganda.]
An additional 3 US ARH-407s have delivered to Iraq bringing those total numbers to 30.
The 11 December Khaima confirmed the order for 24 Korean T50 Jet Trainers. These jet trainers are to deliver starting April 2016 and complete delivery within 12 months [April 2017]. Discussions were held with representatives of Lockheed Martin for the training of F16 pilots using the T6 and T50 aircraft through 2018. Also mentioned was that Ali [Tallil] and Balad Air Bases will be the first 2 bases to receive F16s. While the T50 Jet Trainers are being called the T50IQ, the description of those aircraft and their Role/Mission indicates they are TA50 versions. The 18 December Khaima stated that “The purchase of the Korean aircraft will offer a protective power to defend Iraq. The aircraft will be used for training and medium military activities. The commander in chief said that the T50 contract is not the only weapons contract between the two sides and more advanced equipment and weapons to support the Iraqi military will be acquired.” What other South Korean weapons are to be bought was not specified.
Iraqi Special Operations Command
There has been repeated reporting of a "Joint Special Operations Command” in the Iraqi press. This is probably a renaming of the Counter-Terrorism Command as former MoI Emergency Response Units [SWAT Battalions] are added to the force to expand it to 3 divisions.
Ministry of Interior
The 10th DBE Brigade and its area of northern Maysan has shifted to the DBE III Region vice IV Region. IV Region [Maysan/Basrah] was over strength [5 Brigades] and III Region [Diyala/Wasit] was under strength [2 Brigades] which makes this a practical shift of forces and AORs. A fourth brigade is also probably formed or forming in III Region. This would leave the V Region [Saudi Border] as the only under strength DBE Region [1 Brigade].
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during November 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 November 2013; however it remains by request only due to copyright infringement. Requests are by e-mail.
The 6 November Khaima provided some additional data and locations on Iraqi Depots:
In 2003, all our facilities were destroyed. 35 ammunition complexes were completely destroyed and from the remaining 10 ammunition complexes 25% was destroyed. When the new army was re-established, Baiji Depot was re-established as the primary depot as well as depots in Kasik, Taji, Habaniya, Kirkush, Nu’mania, Ur with the help of the US forces. These consisted of basic containers or disused aircraft shelters. These did not meet the standards for the safe storage of munitions and have driven us to establish proper facilities for munitions storage which are no less than 5km away from the main bases. In addition, we have begun to implement proper procedures for accounting, maintaining and distributing munitions. We begun in 2007, planning the reconstruction of the munitions depot system by visiting the old depots. IN 2008 we took possession of Baiji depot, and after discussing with the coalition forces they returned some bullets and 23mm ammunition that was stored there. We also then took possession of Najaf depot and the munitions stored there. We started off training our officers and staff in 2009, 50 officers and 50 enlisted men at a time. And soon we had enough staff to reopen 4 more depots including Adhaim, Basra, Habaniya, Mosul. In taji we had a show of the munitions for the light weapons including the eastern and western rifles and Pakistani rifles.
The 13 November Khaima indicated that there is a possible Romanian arms buy in negotiations:
The General of the Chief of Staff welcomes a visit by the Romanian Military Attaché. Ibrahim Mohammed welcomed Colonel Florin Disbo. They discussed the signing of the upcoming military cooperation agreement between the two countries which includes training and arming.
There continue to be indications of a new IA Division forming in Baghdad. There are also indications that 6th Division is to be converted to an armor or mechanized division vice converting 2nd Motorized Division.
There were reports that an Apache buy had been approved and that 4 Mi-35s had been received early in November. The 13 Novomber Khaima indicated that there are budget problems with buying Apaches and that the Mi-35s were arriving later in November:
The Apache helicopters need a massive budget that the MODs current budget can’t support. The pentagon and state department had agreed to the sale some months ago. At the same time new helicopters will arrive at the end of this month from Russia with an attacking power equivalent to the apache. The munitions for the Russian helicopters have been bought and will be supplied for 4 years, and have arrived already.
IMoD officially announced receipt of the Mi-35s on 2 December.
Ministry of Interior
The 5-6/II Commando Battalion was reported operating near Qaim in November. This is the first report of a 5th Battalion in 6/II Brigade [presumably a 4th Battalion as well.] This also points to an emphasis on the Qaim area as the 6/II Brigade’s HQ is at Sinjar [Ninawa].
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during October 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 October 2013, however it remains by request only due to copyright infringement. Requests are by e-mail. Changes reported include:
- Training underutilized due to operational commitments; Under strength Artillery Brigades have been established in all IA Divisions; Division Intelligence expanding to Battalion; HET Transport Battalion reported in 9th Armor Division for first time.
- Southern SOC Exercise; Unconfirmed reports of initial Russian Mi-35 deliveries in October.
- Ten 7 meter RHIBs produced for Iraq.
- New Mech Brigade in 4th Federal Police Division?
The 2 October Khaima includes an article on training. Only half the training availability has been used this year due to operational commitments which indicates the Iraqi army is overextended and need to add 2-3 divisions to fulfill its commitments. Key items mentioned in that article were:
- The biggest complaint received is that not the correct personnel were sent on training programs in the past. We aim to change this by sending the soldiers for the specialist training programs.
- We are supposed to train 79 battalions, but in reality only 36 battalions were freed from operations to be trained. Also 80 companies were trained, spread across 9 locations.
- With the current locations and capacity we can train the entire Iraqi army in 4 years. [If utilized.]
The 9 October Khaima confirmed that all of the Iraqi Divisions now have an Artillery Command [Field Artillery Brigade]. However, these brigades only have 2 of the planned 4 Artillery Battalions per Division. The Artillery Command HQ also has an Artillery Brigade with 3 Artillery Battalions that acts as a strategic reserve to strengthen units on a need basis. This Brigade has 2 roles – it is the Artillery Training Brigade and is the first of 8-12 planned Army-/Corps-level Artillery Brigades.
The 9 October Khaima also mentioned 12th Division’s Intelligence Battalion. Only 3 IA Divisions have been identified as having expanded their divisional Intelligence to Battalions.
The 23 October Khaima reported that 9th Armor Division’s Transport and Logistics Command has established a Heavy Transport Battalion. They have specialist repair teams with the units in the field to ensure that all vehicles are able to complete their transport duties. It consists of 4 transport companies and the HQ in Taji. Every company has 11 heavy tank transporters.
The 30 October Khaima reported on the Southern Sector Operations Center Air Defense Command exercise in October. Participants included the ADC commander, Chief of Central Operations of the ADC, Commander of Ali Air Base [Tallil], Commander of the Ali Flying Wing, and a number of pilots from 70th Squadron. Aircraft made approaches from multiple directions and altitudes to test the radar systems. Also tested were the communications systems of the ground controls. 70th Squadron also launched Hornet 71 targets in the direction west of Samawa. Targets were detected at altitudes from 100m-350m.
While there have been conflicting reports of initial deliveries of Russian helicopters in October, as of 31 October, no new helicopters have arrived in Iraq. [This may indicate the initial 4 Mi-35s have completed construction in Russia but have not been transported to Iraq during October. Delivery has different meanings depending on who is talking. The manufacturer considers delivery to be when they are built and locally accepted. The receiving country defines delivery as when they are accepted in their own country.]
The Iraqi Navy is accepting delivery of ten 7-meter aluminum RIBs. They will be serving as patrol boats and as tenders for larger vessels. [See above paragraph comment on delivery.]
Ministry of Interior
A Mech Brigade has been reported as assigned to 4th Federal Police Division. This could mean the 1st FP Mech Brigade has been attached to 4th FP Division or that a new FP Mech Brigade has been formed in 4th FP Division. Each FP Division is expected to have a light Mech Brigade eventually but only 1 has been confirmed existing in the Federal Police at this time.
Fair Use is not carte blanch to steal others work. You have to have permission to do more than quote bits of a copyrighted work. Giving credit to the author does not let you off the hook. Especially when you are selling that work.
Effective immediately, the Battalion-level ISF OOB is no longer available to the public. I have not seen a Battalion-level ISF OOB that was not a copy of my work in 5 years. Yet there are only 6 organizations that have asked permission to use/copy my work:
- US Department of Defense
- Center for Strategic and International Studies
- The Long War Journal [previously The Fourth Rail]
- Olive Group
- Scramble Magazine
- Defense Industry Daily
The rest are pirates.
If you are going to argue against this, be forewarned that I'm PO'd - so your ducks better be in a row.
I will entertain requests for current copies of the ISF OOB from reputable organizations.
I will continue to publish monthly updates of changes or significant events as well as service specific updates.
I'm done feeding pirates. The irritation is not worth the 80-120 hours I've been spending per month sorting through the chaff, propaganda, and pure BS...
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during September 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 September 2013. The Article “ISOF Expansion September 2013” was published 23 September and will not be addressed here. Key changes reported include:
- Army: Observation balloons/towers received; EPD Established; Numaniyah Base home to a Corps Logistics Depot?; Commando Battalions in the Area and Operational Commands?; Another Augment Battalion on the Syrian Border identified; Ordering BTR82s to replace BTR4s; IA plans 2 armored and 5 mechanized Divisions.
- Aviation: First F16 deliveries in spring 2014; First SAMs delivered; unconfirmed report of Mi35 delivery in October; KRG contracts for 12 MD500F.
- Navy: Shopping for missile boats, Russia not interested in selling.
Iraqi MoD celebrated the commissioning of observation balloons in August. Three 17m observation balloons and six 107 feet observation towers were received as part of the Strategic Framework Agreement with the US. US Personnel trained the Iraqi crews in Iraq during an 8 week course.
The Iraqi Minister of Defense visited the Samara Operations Command accompanied by the commander of the 4th Division and the commander of the newly established Energy Protection Division. [Machine translator translates as Corps]. This is the first report of the new EPD being already established. If IMoD is taking over security for oil then they are probably also taking over the 4 Oil Police Divisions – eventually a Security Corps of 5 Divisions.
Numaniyah Base includes: the Numaniyah Logistics Depot, Defense Battalion, Numaniyah Works [maintenance], Medical Center, and the Wasit Training Center. The main units at the site are the 8th Transport and Logistics Brigade [8th Mechanized Division], Center for Military Disciplinary School [MP School], Numaniyah Medium Factory [Maintenance Brigade], National Police School, and Numaniyah depot. This build up of support elements is an army-/corps-level support base second in size only to Taji National Depot.
The 28 August Khaima mentioned a “Commando Battalion of the Baghdad Operations Command.” This is the third Operational or Area Command reported to have a Commando Battalion and indicates all the Operational and Area Commands are to have Commando Battalions - maybe brigades.
A Youtube video of BMP1s operating near Al Waleed on the Syrian border was identified as a 3rd Battalion of 11th Division. The only BMP1s assigned to the east Baghdad based 11th Division are in the 3-44/11 Mechanized Battalion. The IA continues to increase its augment of the Syrian border.
Iraq is in negotiations for BTR82 ICVs and an upgrade of Russian APCs from the 1980s. One of the reasons given for this purchase is to replace the problematic Ukrainian BTR4s being used to mechanize the 5th Division in Diyala.
On page 7 of the 25 September Khaima was an article on the 85th Anniversary of the establishment of the armored corps. Key items included in that article were:
- The re-established armored corps managed to commission the 9th Armored and 8th and 10th Mechanized Divisions with little resources via the refurbishment of old Iraqi army stocks as well importing some weapons, they managed to equip these divisions with tanks, apcs and fighting vehicles.
- We are importing other quantities of tanks to close the shortage in the armored, mechanized and infantry divisions.
- The Ministry has issued orders for the establishment of an armored division, mechanized division, mechanized brigade and mechanized battalion.
- Our order, from the commander in chief is to achieve: 2 armored divisions and 5 mechanized divisions.
- The speech by the Engineer Talal Hussain Salman, Director of the Ibn Al Walid state enterprise (a part of the ministry of industry and mining) said in his speech: The Ibn Al Walid company was established in 1987 to produce T72 tanks after an agreement with the soviet union. Now it is being re-established and is collaborating with companies in Germany, England, Italy, Spain and Russia to rebuild its capabilities.
- Ali Ghaidan, ground Forces commander said: “We hope in the next year we see a development of the armored corps so the armored and mechanized divisions can receive their full complement of equipment.”
Notice the status breakdown:
- Current planned target is for 7 Armor/Mech Divisions: 2 Armor and 5 Mech.
- 9th Armor, 8th Mech, and 10th Mech are existing Divisions but are short tanks that are to be imported. The mention of tanks for the infantry divisions indicates the plan is to have a mech or armor brigade in each infantry or motorized division like the 12th Division's 47/12 Armor Brigade. This would indicate an IA target of 46-53 Tank Battalions [Regiments] - 1,610-1,845 total tanks needed. The 245 variance is due to the difference between a mech or armor brigade in each ID. The IA currently has ~350 tanks.
- Now building: U/I Armored Div, 5th Mech Div, U/I Mech Bde, and U/I Mech Bn. 5th Div was already announced Mechanizing but may replace the problematic BTR4s with BTR82. The preponderance of armor vehicles/training in 2nd, 7th, and 14th Divisions [multi-Brigades in each division] indicates one of those as being the new Armored Division is converting [probably 7th]. The Mech Brigade is probably the 56th Brigade.
- Also notice the plan to build their own armor with Germany, England, Italy, Spain and Russia assistance.
The first IqAF F16 deliveries are to be in Q2 2014 [Apr-Jun 2014] according to an RFI responsel from Mark D. Johnson, F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group Communications, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company.
The Iraqi Air Force has contracted for two F-16 Block 52 Weapon Tactics Trainers (WTTs), two brief/debrief systems and one mission observation centre. This contract modification follows a November 2012 award to build two F-16 Block 52 Full Mission Trainers (FMTs) for the IqAF. Plans call for the first F-16 Block 52 FMT to become ready during the first quarter of 2015 with the remaining training devices, brief/debrief systems and mission observation center scheduled to achieve readiness milestones during late 2015.
The first Avenger air defense systems were received by the Air Defense Command. “ADC receives a modern SAM system. This is the first SAM system inducted into the new ADC, and the ADC is now working hard on inducting new radars and new SAMs which are on their way to Iraq. In addition the operations commands are being rebuilt as well as AAA being reconstituted from the remains of the old army and installed onto vehicles.” ADC is conducting command post exercises (CPX) to prepare for further improvements. “Air Defense Command carried out Exercise Shining Star, using the command elements (without active units), to test the organizational capability of the ADC. The aim is to hone and revise the procedures, improve target prioritization.”
The Security and Defense Committee on Monday claimed "the imminent arrival of four helicopters, Russian-made during the current month," and indicated that "these aircraft are from the model (Mi 35) offensive," asserting that "other meal of these aircraft will arrive in November next year." The Security and Defense Committee is known for erroneous claims - a report from them is almost always wrong.
The Kurdistan Regional Government is reported to have contracted for 12 MD 530F helicopters equipped with the latest state of the art technology, including NVG compatible cockpit, high powered searchlight and advanced avionics, and will be delivered by the end of this year. “The KRG said the aircraft will help the Ministry of Interior Affairs in monitoring the region’s airspace, surveying the mountainous regions, and taking part in firefighting missions.” According to another source, "The 7th Group (current operator of all the KRG helicopters) is recruiting new aviators."
Iraq is shopping for 3 missile patrol boats. Apparently the Russians are not interested in selling them.
After five years the plans for expanding the Counter Terrorism Service appear to be implementing. ISOF is to expand from 1 to 3 Divisions with a total strength of 30,000-40,000 personnel: Approximately 50 percent the size of US Special Operations Command supported by a population base of only 10 percent of the US. This will require the absorption of the Ministry of Interior’s SOF to be effective.
Reporting of the expansion
The 14 August Khaima magazine mentioned that:
“The Commander in Chief commanded the execution of the order for the volunteer special forces, and the latest ministerial decree on the forming of two divisions for Special Forces. An electronic site was opened for volunteers to register for both the Special Forces as well as the energy protection division. With regards to the 2 Special Forces divisions, a special request was sent out to soldiers, officers in the Iraqi army and from the old Iraqi special forces to volunteer for the induction tests for the special force.”
This was followed by an interview with the ISOF commander where he discussed expanding to 30-40,000 personnel [from 10,000]. A Regiment [battalion] is to be added in each province except Baghdad will have 4 regiments and Mosul/Basrah will each have 2 regiments added for 20-22 additional Regiments. Further information has indicated that 1st Commando Division will have its headquarters in Mosul, 2nd Commando Division in Baghdad, and 3rd Commando Division in Basrah.
The variance of 20 to 22 additional regiments probably reflects an additional brigade for the Kurdish Region. It is 20 battalions without the KRG Brigade and 22 with this additional independent brigade. These numbers are of planned additional Commando and ICTF Battalions only and do not include support the necessary support battalions.
The variance of 30-40,000 personnel could be because of:
- The possible presence/absence of a Commando Brigade in the KRG [~2,000 personnel],
- The size of the engineering support [~1,500] and
- Whether or not the dedicated Army Air Corps elements are counted [~4,500] as ISOF.
Counter Terrorism Service Absorbing MoI’s SWAT Battalions?
This increase in ISOF could not be done in less than a decade using just volunteers from the old IA, current IA, and new recruits unless ISOF absorbs the MoI ERBs. ISOF’s existing training program only graduates the equivalent of 5 companies per year: 1 ICTF, 2 Commando, and 2 Recon. The training pipeline does not support this expansion without reducing the quality of the force unless the ERBs are being taken over. Effectively, they are improving/expanding C4I, Supply, Maintenance, and air support for the MoD/MoI SOF forces by consolidating them into 1 Corps sized command and adding the missing components.
The only high-end light infantry available to rapidly expand ISOF is MoI’s SWAT Battalions. If the better half of the Ministry of Interior’s Emergency Response Battalions [SWAT] is being converted to ISOF Commando Battalions and the remaining half of the SWATs become Reconnaissance or support – this could be done in 2-3 years. This would provide the C4I, Maintenance, and Logistics that the SWATs lack and coordinate the 2 separate COIN forces as one Corps. This was suggested in 2008 but MoI resisted losing their Special Operations Forces and was going to administratively attach the SWAT Brigades as a fifth brigade in each Federal Police Division. However, the MoI has insufficient C4I, Logistics, and Maintenance for their own forces in the FP. It appears MoI’s failure to provide support to the ERBs has resulted in a return to the original plan of consolidating the Iraqi MoD/MoI Special Operations Forces into a separate service under the Minister of National Security. The third leg of the Troika finally is forming.
This absorption of the ERBs is also inferred by the plan for at least a battalion per province – that is right out of the ERB/FP basing plan and not ISOF’s regional approach to garrisoning. While the addition of the 17,000+ ERB personnel to ISOF’s 10-12,000 existing personnel does not reach 30-40,000 total personnel – it does provide for the additional commandos and recon personnel needed, the remainder of the expansion would be support elements.
The reason that ISOF could absorb the Emergency Response Battalions as commandos without a reduction in quality of troops is based on the similarities in training. The personnel for MoI’s 30-42 ERBs* were selected by taking the 98+ Battalions of provincial Emergency Response Units [SWAT] and running them through a 3 month Selection Course based on ISOF’s Operator Selection Course. The top 50% of the graduates of the MoI Selection Course went to the National ERBs. In ISOF, the top 50% of OSC are also accepted except they are further broken down into:
- 91-100 percentiles go to ICTF,
- 71-90 percentiles to Commandos, and
- 51-70 percentiles to support such as Recon or Security.
[*30 ERBs identified in open source reporting out of a planned target of 42 battalions. 17,000+ personnel indicate they have approximately 34 ERBs.]
It would normally take 3-4 years to fill a third ICTF Battalion since there will need to be a new selection from the new personnel but, they can immediately form three 70% strength ICTF Battalions out of the 2 existing ICTF Battalions and fill those battalions to 100% with personnel from the SWATs that pass OSC over the next 3-4 years. Normally only ~3 percent of initial volunteers graduate into the top 10% of OSC and thus into ICTF. However, these ERB/SWAT personnel have already been through the MoI version of OSC and made the top 50% - Indicating that 10-20 percent of MoI’s 17,000 ERB personnel could be absorbed into the ICTF Battalions. This could mean the eventual target strength of 1 ICTF Battalion per Commando Brigade is intended vice the currently estimated 1 ICTF Battalion per Division. Until then the existing ERBs can be quickly sorted, reorganized and used in Commando, Recon, and Security Battalions. Additional support personnel will be required.
This expansion also puts a new light on IMoD’s Indonesian shopping trip last fall. Their interest in the Anoa Armored Personnel Carrier did not fit with IMoD’s focus – it is more the type of APC that COIN units would use. Planning for the new Commando Divisions would have been in progress a year ago if the actual order to execute was this year. This would not be the first indication of wheeled APCs being added to ISOF. In 2009 training of ISOF maintenance personnel on BTR80s was reported but the BTR80s never transferred. This could mean that the Commando Battalions are to be partially or wholly wheeled APC mounted like the old IA’s Commandos were. Traditionally, Iraqi Commandos are mounted light infantry…
Commando Division Organization and Support elements
The above illustration and organization listed in the ISF OOB is based on the number of personnel and battalions being added, the stated distribution of battalions and with a modified IA Infantry Division Organizational structure as listed in Appendix B. The modification to the standard Divisional TOE was to strip out the field artillery, mortar, ADA, AT and other battalions that ISOF does not use and does not require for its roles and missions while adding an AAC Aviation Brigade to support each Division.
The support structure reflects existing ISOF C4I, Logistics, Maintenance, and Training structures expanded to Corps size. Of the Iraqi Security Forces, ISOF has the best support structure while MoI’s ERBs have one of the worst support structures. Expanding the support structure as part of this reorganization will be the greatest difficulties faced.
One thing to remember concerning these administrative structures: In practice SOF troops rarely operate above Company strength detachments – most operations are squad or platoon strength. All Corps and Divisional Troops will normally operate in detachments supporting or augmenting the Commando Battalions. This is especially true of the ICTF Battalions and the ISOF AAC Air support - Both of those elements regularly operate in small detachments where and when needed. Effectively, the ISOF organization above battalion is administrative and support as SOF normally conducts small unit light infantry operations…
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during August 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 August 2013.
Possible Foreign Material Sales to Iraq announced this month included:
Iraq has requested a possible sale of 19 Mobile Troposcatter Radio Systems, 10 Mobile Microwave Radio Systems, spare and repair parts, support equipment, [etc].
Iraq has also requested a possible sale of
- 40 AVENGER Fire Units,
- 681 STINGER Reprogrammable Micro-Processor (RMP) Block I 92H Missiles,
- 13 AN/MPQ-64F1 SENTINEL Radars,
- 7 AN/YSQ-184D Forward Area Air Defense Command, Control, and Intelligence (FAAD C2I) Systems,
- 75 AN/VRC-92E SINCGARS Radios,
- 3 HAWK XXI Batteries (6 Fire Units) which include
- 6 Battery Fire Direction Centers,
- 6 High Powered Illuminator Radars,
- 216 MIM-23P HAWK Tactical Missiles,
- 2 Mobile Battalion Operation Centers (BOC),
- 3 HAWK XXI BOC Air Defense Consoles (ADCs),
- 1DS/GS Shop 20,
- 1 DS/GS Shop 21,
- 1 Mini-Certified Round Assembly Facility (MCRAF),
- Air Command and Control (C2) systems and surveillance radars for the Integrated Air Defense Systems that includes TPS-77 Long-Range Radars (LRR) and Omnyx-I0 Air Command and Control System, and
- 10 Medium Range Radars. Also included:
- Ground Air Transmit Receive Ultra High Frequency/Very High Frequency radio capability, facilities and construction for one (1) underground Air Defense Operations Center and two (2) Air Defense Sector Operations Centers, [etc]
A Russian report of a planned delivery of 800 Kornet-E ATGW in Sep 2013 and 12 Pantsir S1 in Dec 2013 also appeared in August. No details on what version of launcher system or vehicle platform for these ATGWs.
The 14 August Khaima magazine mentioned that
“The Commander in Chief commanded the execution of the order for the volunteers special forces, and the latest ministerial decree on the forming of two divisions for special forces. An electronic site was opened for volunteers to register for both the special forces as well as the energy protection division. With regards to the 2 special forces divisions, a special request was sent out to soldiers, officers in the Iraqi army and from the old iraqi special forces to volunteer for the induction tests for the special force.”
This was followed by an interview with the ISOF commander where he discussed expanding to 30-40,000 personnel [from 10,000]. A Regiment [battalion] added per province except Baghdad will have 4 and Mosul/Basrah each will have 2 regiments added for 20-22 additional Regiments.
Further information indicated that 1st Commando Division will have its headquarters in Mosul, 2nd Commando Division in Baghdad, and 3rd Commando Division in Basrah. A possible 4th Division was also mentioned but does not fit the number of battalions or personnel mentioned and may be confusion with the Energy Protection Division.
Some thoughts on how this ISOF expansion might be done:
- This increase in ISOF could not be done in less than a decade using just retreads from the old IA and new recruits. ISOF’s existing training program only graduates 5 companies per year: 1 ICTF, 2 Cdo, and 2 Recon.
- The only high-end light infantry available to rapidly expand with is MoI’s SWAT Battalions. If the better half of the Ministry of Interior’s Emergency Response Battalions [SWAT] is being converted to ISOF Commando Battalions and the remaining half of the SWATs become Reconnaissance or support – this could be done in 2-3 years. This would provide the C4I and logistics that the SWATs lack and coordinate the 2 COIN forces as one corps.
- This absorption of the ERBs is inferred by the plan for at least a battalion per province – that is right out of MoI’s ERB/FP basing plan and not ISOF’s regional approach to garrisoning.
- While the addition of the 17,000+ ERB personnel to ISOF’s 10-12,000 existing personnel does not reach 30-40,000 total personnel – it does provide for the additional commandos and recon needed, the remainder would be support elements.
- It will take 3-4 years to fill a third ICTF Battalion. But, they can form three 75% strength ICTF Battalions out of the 2 existing ICTF Battalions and fill those out with personnel from the SWATs that pass their course over the next 3-4 years [Only ~3 percent make it into ICTF].
- This also puts a new light on IMoD’s Indonesian shopping trip last fall. Their interest in the Anoa APC did not fit with IMoD’s focus at the time – it is more the type of APC that SWAT or COIN units would use. Planning for the new Commando Divisions would have been in progress a year ago even if the actual order to execute was this year. This could mean that the Commando Battalions are to be wheeled APC mounted like the old IA’s Commandos were.
While the initial indications for the new Energy Protection Division was that it would be in Anbar, further comments might hint as to why it was announced with the new Commando Divisions.
Major General Hamid Abdullah Ibrahim, chief of energy police directorate stated that they have plans to follow and investigate the smuggling with Iraqi oil by the formation of oil patrol teams in Kirkuk, Basra, Anbar and Baghdad.
This could mean the new IA Energy Protection Division is to be an IA Quick Reaction Force supporting the Oil and Electricity Police with motorized brigades based in Kirkuk, Basra, Anbar and Baghdad. This force might be formed from personnel that do not make the cut to join the ISOF Commando Divisions.
[Possible structures for the Commando Divisions and the Energy Protection Division in the OOB are based on IA standard Divisional Structure with Artillery and other ancillary units not used by ISOF or a Security Division omitted. However, I did keep 1 Engineer Battalion per Division for route clearance support to the QRFs. IMoD, ISOF, and the IA might disagree with my projected structure. If they disagree – please make it public so I can update the OOB.]
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during July 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 July 2013. Key points include:
- Army: Shifting Army Divisions?; Division Artillery Commands; 5-year maintenance support for vehicles provided under US EDA; 50 CBR vehicles for a CBR Rgt; EDA Bulletin Board updated to May 2013.
- Aviation: Russian arms sale reporting still confused; Bell 412 SAR Helicopters for IqAF?; Hawk SAMs provided to Iraq via EDA FY13.
- Navy/Marines: 12th PB delivered.
- Interior: MoI SWAT over 17,000?; 2 FP Brigades identified; 6th attempt to fix the OPD?
- KRG: An Arab Brigade in the Kurdish Regional Guards?
It was reported on 23 July that “The independent MP, from Babil province, Iskandar Witwit said that the central government has a plan to transfer the Army eighth Division, based in Babil and the tenth Division, based in Maysan province to the western and Diyala provinces to control the security situation there.” There have been previous claims of plans to shift IA Divisions but they have not occurred due to political reasons. If those 2 divisions are transferred north, it would be to replace 2nd and 5th Divisions so they could upgrade/train as mechanized in the south. It is also possible that 14th Division could swap with 7th Division after the 14th has finished upgrading to facilitate the upgrade/training of 7th Division. Of note, 2 brigades of the 10th Mechanized Division and its Commando Battalion are already reported in the northern provinces. Additionally, a battalion of 14th Division [1-50/14] is reported in Ninawa Province. The 2-26/7 Battalion is also reported at Taji and being called Mech – indicating it is in upgrade training out of 7th Division’s area.
The 10 July Khaima reported on the Artillery Directorate carrying out “summer training” on US artillery guns. Training included firing of 32 shells by each gun, maneuvers and aiming, target acquisition, surveying and planning. The “comprehensive training” program included the following units:
- 2nd Division Artillery Command and 102nd Medium Artillery Battalion [155mm].
- 5th Division Artillery Command and 105th Medium Artillery Battalion [155mm].
- 12th Division Artillery Command and 112th Medium Artillery Battalion [155mm].
This is the first report of “Division Artillery Commands” which indicates the stand up of at least 3 Divisional Artillery Brigade Headquarters.
Iraq has requested a possible sale to provide for a five year follow-on maintenance support for the following vehicles:
- M88A1 Recovery Vehicle,
- M88A2 Hercules,
- M113 Family of Vehicles,
- M109A5 Howitzers,
- M198 Howitzers,
- M1070 Heavy Equipment Trailer and Truck (HETT),
- M977 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT),
- High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), and the
- Tactical Floating River Bridge System (TFRBS).
Effectively every piece of ground combat/support equipment provided through US EDA since 2008 is covered under this proposed contract.
Iraq has requested a possible sale of:
- 50 M1135 Stryker Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicles,
- DECON 3000 Decontamination Systems,
- M26 Commercial Joint Service Transportable Decontamination Systems (JSTDS),
- AN/VRC-89 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS) with Global Positioning System (GPS),
- AN/VRC-90 SINCGARS with GPS, M40A1 Protective Masks,
- Lightweight Personal Chemical Detectors LCD-3,
- Portable Chemical Warfare Agent Detectors GID-3,
- MultiRAE PLUS Gas Detectors,
- AN/VDR-2 Radiac Sets,
- M256 Chemical Agent Detector Kits,
- Decontamination Kits,
- Chemical Biological Mask Canisters,
- M8 Chemical Paper Agent Detector Kits, etc
While the Iraqi Army was reported starting to stand up Chemical Defense Regiments [Battalions] 2 years ago, this is the first serious CBR defense buy since 2003.
The US Excess Defense Articles Bulletin Board was updated from early FY2011 to May 2013. In FY2011 a large amount of computer gear and 9 Armored Vehicle Launch Bridges was added to the already reported OH-58 spares and ribbon bridges. For FY2012, the following items were provided to Iraq: [FY13 is listed under Aviation.]
- 51 Z Backscatter Vans [interesting],
- 57 Armored Suburbans [2 entries for 48 and 9],
- 173 Armored Utility Trucks,
- 99 Uparmored Volvo Semi Tractors,
- 336 Mercedes 384 Armored Semi Tractors.
Reporting on the Russian arms deal remains confused with a report of 30 Mi-28NE, plus an U/I number of Mig-29M/M2 and KA52s. [At this point, I will not believe any numbers or types until the equipment shows up in Iraq. The reported numbers and types are all over the place.]
Iraq has requested a possible sale of 12 Bell 412 EP helicopters equipped with Star SAFIRE III EO/IR systems, PT6T-3DF engines, KDM-706 Distance Measuring Equipment, KNR 634 VOR/LOC with MB/HSI, MST67A Transponder, Artex C406-1HM Emergency Locator Transmitter, Wulfsberg FlexComm II C5000 System with Synthesized Guard, KTR-908 Very High Frequency Radios, NAT AA-95 Audio System, 660 Weather Radar, AAI Radome, Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) Compatible Cockpit Lighting, SX-16 Nightsun, spare and repair parts, etc. “This equipment will provide the Iraqi Air Force with a search and rescue capability critical to developing a mature Air Force.”
[Not Army Air Corps – IqAF. In 2010 it was mentioned that IqAF Search and Rescue helicopters were to be collocated at the F16 bases. This fits for 4 detachments of 3 helicopters for the 4 planned F16 Bases at Balad, Al Asad, Q-West, and Tallil.]
The report of HAWK SAMs for Iraq was confirmed when the US EDA Bulletin Board updated to May 2013. Listed under FY13 is what appears to be equipment for 4 ADA Batteries and a Spares/Training Battery.
- 16 XM304 Hawk Transporter-Launchers;
- 3 M192 Hawk Towed Launcher;
- 7 AN/MPQ-61 High-powered Illumination Radars;
- 8 AN/MSW-19 Platoon Command Posts;
- 3 M501E3 Loader/Transporter;
- 2 Hawk Loader;
- 11 M501L1 Hawk Loader;
- 26 M1E2 Missile loading and storage pallets;
- 21 MTM-23 Hawk Training Missiles;
- 225 MIM-23E Hawk Missiles.
Ministry of Interior
MoI’s SWAT is claimed to "...exceeds 17,000" in a demand to disband Emergency Response Brigades [the MoI’s Special Operations Force]. If correct, this indicates a minimum of 8 Brigades formed – probably more like 10. MoI has been absorbing the better half of the provincial SWAT battalions by running them through MoI’s SWAT training and accepting the better 50% in each unit into the National ERBs. An estimated 14 Brigades are planned – they are intended to be administratively the fifth brigade in each Federal Police Division. Operationally these forces answer directly to the National Operational Center.
The 10 July Khaima mentioned an operation involving 2 previously unreported Federal Police forces operating in Ninawa: The Al Jazira Brigade and the Tal Afar Defense Force had not been previously reported. The Federal Police continue to retrain and absorb the Emergency Police but, have not reported forming any new Divisions despite having nationalized enough brigades for 8 FP Divisions. 14 FP Divisions are projected based on the combined size of the FP/EP [Not including KRG].
The 17 July Khaima reported on a new program to “reform the battalions of the oil police to make them effective in their role of protecting the assets.” This would be the sixth attempt to fix the Oil Police since their formation. Apparently the 10th Mechanized Division’s Commando Battalion is coordinating with the Oil Police while deployed to Bayji and may be involved in retraining and improving the logistical support for the Oil Police.
Kurdish Regional Guards
It is rare that a KRG Brigade is identified and located in the press: “The Brayati Brigade is camping near the Zab sub-district, located 105 kilometers to the southwest of Kirkuk, as the Kurdistan Ministry of Peshmarga has formed the brigade from the Arabs of the area.” An Arab Brigade in the Kurdish Regional Guards?
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during June 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 June 2013. Key points include:
- Final SIGIR Report – collapse of ISF Logistics/Maintenance after US withdrawal; F-16s to deliver at 2 per month starting September; M1A1s/M2s/AH64/IADS all in works; ISF capabilities.
- Airborne Brigade Mutiny?
- Ground/Air Brigade TF deployed to JO/SY tri-border.
- Air Defense Command.
- Russian Attack helicopter sale.
The last Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction report was released on 30 April and included several key items in an interview with the Chief of the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq on pages 8-10:
- "That’s right. When the U.S. forces left, no one was left to provide the fuel. The U.S. forces were the ones who made sure the generators operated. They were the ones who made sure that the systems were operating. They were the ones looking over the shoulders of Iraqis to make sure they knew what buttons on the computer to press to make sure the parts were ordered. When we left, it all crumbled, and the institutional base of the Iraqi Security Forces started crumbling too—because the U.S. forces had been holding it up." [If Iraq can’t get its logistics/maintenance house in order then it will fail. All the toys in the world mean nothing if they do not work or do not have fuel and ammo. I've been hearing stories of M1A1s imobilized due to maintenance for months now.]
- "The two F-16 cases are designed to bring 18 aircraft each, with the first delivery of two planes scheduled for September 2014. Two will arrive every month thereafter, completing delivery by the end of 2015. Iraq would like them all today. They have given me a letter requesting acceleration, but they understand that we are accelerating as fast as we can. We were in the process of building the airbase infrastructure at al-Assad, and then they switched to Balad. That slowed things down. The F-16 cases, from a production standpoint, are on track. Pilot training is on track. We had some hiccups on pilot training—a couple of guys washed out—but we’re on track now."
- “ The tank case involved the purchase of 140 M1A1 Abrams at just under a billion. They want to buy another 175 at about $1.2 billion. [5 more Tank Regiments at 35/Rgt.]
- “The C130J case is halfway complete, with three delivered and three more to come, at a cost of less than a billion.” [Last 3 have delivered since 30 April.]
- “The Integrated Air Defense System case is under development and could cost about $2.3 billion, but it will require congressional notification (meaning the Congress could veto it).“ [A US IADS to go with the Russian IADS? Integration of both countries’ systems will be difficult.]
- “Also under development is a $3 billion case to purchase 24 Apache helicopters. Iraq is getting six delivered in about nine months, under a lease arrangement, to use until the full Apache case is completed. That case also involves congressional notification.” [1 Squadron with first deliveries 9 months from 30 April - 30 January 2014. No public release of Congressional Notification noted to date.]
- “They want 250 Bradley Fighting Vehicles at a cost of about $800 million, and the case is under development.” [ICV component for an Armor Division under IA structure. 5 Mech Battalions (180) and 7 Mech Companies (70) for the 7 Tank Regiments.]
- “Iraq also wants UAVs (drones), but it is also dependent on congressional notification.”
- “On the naval front, we have delivered 11 patrol boats, will deliver 1 more this year, are working contracts for 3 more, and have already delivered 2 OSVs (large transport ships)."
- “The Navy is capable of providing some degree of defense against threats to the offshore oil-delivery platforms (such as al-Basrah Oil Terminal).”
- “The Iraqi Army’s Aviation is a very capable organization, and they are getting better, principally through the purchase of the IA-407 light attack helicopter and the instruction and training that is a part of that case.”
- “The Iraqi Air Force is improving daily. They remain on track for receipt of their first F-16s at Balad in September 2014. And this year they received three C130J aircraft and recently flew a nighttime operational mission to Damascus, repatriating the 50-some slain Syrians who were killed in the Anbar ambush a couple of weeks ago. It was a tough mission under combat conditions, and they did well. They are flying limited RC-208 ISR imagery intelligence missions, yet their targeting and intelligence collection and analysis, other than human intelligence, remains rudimentary at best.”
- “The Iraq Air Defense is a good professional force with good leadership, yet other than the two U.S.-provided radars and the three air-traffic-control radars; their defense capability is limited to Saddam-era Russian cannon artillery. The integrated-air-defense-system case with us is near offer, but currently held up by congressional notification procedures.”
- “The Counter Terrorism Service is probably the most effective element in the Iraqi Security Forces for countering the one threat that is its most existential, and that is al-Qaeda terrorist affiliates. The dilemma is that the Counter Terrorism Service is not part of the Ministry of Defense (MOD); thus, OSC-I needs special authorities to provide it with training and equipment. We have received that authority for FY 2013 in the National Defense Authorization Act, and will need to request it each year. The governing U.S. laws are the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act, but unfortunately they were designed for security cooperation during the Cold War, rather than threats that exist within today’s security environments. So OSC-I finds itself in a Catch-22 dilemma of trying to provide support for the most effective organization fighting the existential threats against the government out here in Iraq."
- "What about the Iraqi Army? They have one division that deals with external threats. The other divisions are all employed against interior threats. There are not a lot of external threats right now, other than what’s spilling across from Syria. Iraq’s chief objective, thus, is to defeat internal threats, and most of their ground forces are inside cities trying to deal with them. Now, that creates a dilemma for a number of reasons. One is you have central government forces working in provincial government jurisdictions, where they are competing not only with the provincial government but also with another ministry, the Ministry of Interior (MOI), which has jurisdiction over Iraq’s police forces."
- "Iraq just went to Russia and, according to open sources, preliminarily signed a $4.2 billion arms purchase agreement for air and air defense (MIG-35s and SA-22s). Strategically, this is an important message for all of their partners—that they are going to remain autonomous and independent and not going to be tied to any one particular strategic partner."
According to Iraqi Press: “More than half of an Iraqi Army brigade stationed in the heart of Iraq's disputed territories has defected and could be incorporated into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region's Peshmerga security forces. Beginning in early May, the 16th Brigade, which is based in Tuz Khurmatu, began defying direct orders to leave that volatile town, and also refused to accept an Iraqi Army decision to replace its Kurdish commander with a Shiite Arab.”[This is the Iraqi Army's only reported Airborne Brigade. Originally raised as the 3-4 Brigade in Sulaymaniyah, this brigade participated in the Baghdad surge before being relocated to the Tuz district of Salahadin.]
Iraqi Press reports that a combined ground/air brigade Task Force of 4 battalions/squadrons deployed to the Syrian/Jordanian/Iraqi tri-border region. An Iraqi official said "This is intended to secure the elections" in Nineveh and Anbar on 20 June.
According to the 19 June Khaima magazine:
- The Air Defense Command can detect any aircraft entering Iraqi Airspace. [Yeah Rrrrriiiiiggggghhhhhttttt. Read further for where this is contradicted in the same article.]
- The ADC is one of the pillars of the Iraqi Armed forces, multiple sources of supply in weapons will be sought and no reliance on a single supplier will happen.
- The ADC is not simply about SAMs and AAA, its early warning, command and control and effective communications and decision making methods. We have inspected many advanced air defense systems in Russia, USA, Korea and France.
- Iraq now has [only] 2 early warning radars in Baghdad and Nassiriya and a third one under construction in Kirkuk. We are constructing an air defense system to rival that of the advanced nations and neighboring states. However right now we only have early warning radars and some AAA batteries. [AAA means anti-aircraft artillery – guns. They do not have full coverage of Iraqi airspace with only 2 functional sites.]
- The AAA batteries and the 1st Unguided Air Defense Battalion have been used to defend religious processions, the Arab League summit in Baghdad and Baghdad International Airport as well as a number of strategic locations around Baghdad. We aim to build a complete air defense system with SAMs, aircraft interceptors and modern AAA. [First identified ADA Battalion.]
Reporting of the Russian Attack Helicopter sale has gone from confusion to total confusion. On 17 June, it was reported that Russia had contracted to supply Iraq with Ka-52 helicopters. This was initially believed to be confusion with the Azerbaijan sale. Reporting on 21 June confirmed that both Ka-52s and Mi28NEs are being acquired from Russia. Reporting from 26 June indicated that the first Mi-28s and Pantsir-S1s (SA22s) were to arrive this month. Then on 28 June, it was reported that over 10 fully armed and equipped Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopters were delivering to Iraq.
What does all this mean?
- This is too soon to be new built aircraft and SAM systems delivering - Which means these systems are being provided from existing used stocks or from cancelled arms deals to other nations.
- For some crazy reason, Iraq has decided to buy 2 differing attack helicopter types [Ka-52/Mi-28] from the same country thus confusing its failed logistics even further. Buying differing systems from separate countries can be justified to prevent any 1 country’s embargo crippling you but 2 different attack helicopter types from the same country at the same time as you are buying another from the US [AH-64]?
- Then there is the mention of MiG-35 or MiG-29 buys. MiG-35 is a modernized export version of the MiG-29 but, few countries have been buying MiGs since the attempt to rip-off Algeria by selling used MiG-29s as new.
For my US readers – Happy 237th Independence Day and 150th Anniversary of Gettysburg.
For my Commonwealth and Southern readers - My commensurations.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during May 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 May 2013. Key points include:
- 2nd IA Division Mechanizing; Sorting out Operational Commands; 8th Mech Division moving HQ.
- Funding authorized for F16 buy; Last 3 C130Js delivered; New squadron for the An-32s?; Mi-171 crashed; 24 IA-407s delivered; ADC developments; MiGs?; Army Aviation College-new Sqs ID’d; ROK TA50 competition stalling L159 deal?; Russian deal funded and implementing.
- 2nd FP Division being replaced in Baghdad by 4th FP Division and moving to Mosul?
- Speculation on Operational Commands.
The 8 May Khaima mentioned a visit to “the 2nd Battalion, 7th Mechanized Infantry Brigade in Al Baaj area of south-western Ninawa. This is the second Brigade of 2nd IA Division reported to be Mech [6/2 is the other] and this is normally an area between 3rd and 7th IA Divisions on the Syrian border. Apparently, 2nd IA Division is shifting from Mosul to the Syrian border while mechanizing.
The 14 May Khaima discussed is the cooperation between the Jazira Operations Command and Anbar Operations Command along their borders where terrorists cross the two adjacent areas and into Syria. Ninawa OC and Anbar OC are internally focused while Jazira OC is externally focused on the borders with Syria in Anbar and Ninawa. JOC may be a precursor to an IA Corps command while NiOC/AOC may be retained as MoI/FP Task Force/Corps commands.
The 8th Mechanized Division HQ may be moving to Babil province.
Aviation and Air Defense
Funding for the F16 buy has been confirmed available by GoI.
The last 3 of the 6 ordered C130Js has been confirmed delivered to Iraq.
A new Squadron for An-32s has been established. What happened to original 3rd Squadron?
An AAC helo crashed in Wasit. Photos indicate it was a Mi-171.
The 30 March Khaima mentioned the following:
- Air Defense Batteries opened in Baghdad.
- Air Defense Batteries opened in Salahadin.
- Southern Air Defense operations command opened in Dhi Qar.
- Air Defense Technical College opened at Taji.
- Early Warning Battalions opened (visual observers).
- Site surveying in Karbala and Najaf for future air defense radars and systems.
- The rest of the regions of Iraq will also be covered by air defense systems soon.
The 8 May Khaima mentioned the following:
- The Air Force receives three C130J-30 aircraft completing the contract for 6 aircraft. (Confirmation.)
- The Air Defense Technical College inaugurates its first Surface to Air Missile course.
- Full page interview with commander of the Air force. "From the plane of Hafdhi Aziz which first flew over the skies of Iraq in April 1931 to the MiGs or F16s that will fly over our skies by the middle of next year, Defense of Iraq's sky has once again fallen to the Iraqi pilots". (MiGs being bought?)
- The F16 pilots are training in the US and will return in September 2014 to begin flying the F16s over Iraq's skies.
- First F16s will arrive in September 2014 and final aircraft delivered in 2017.
- Now there are 6 Iraqi pilots flying F16s in the US and one is already a professional. More pilots are on the way.
The 14 May Khaima had a full page article on the Army Aviation College:
- So far 63 students have graduated.
- Because it’s now an Army Aviation College as opposed to a flight school as it was in the past, it issues its graduates with Bachelor’s Degrees.
- Recruits are high school graduates with a minimum of 65% grades, after physical and academic testing about 20% are chosen to attend the college. They spend the first year at the Military College (general military). In the past the second year was spent doing basic flight training at the Air Force Academy, but this has now been cancelled and pilots undergo basic training at Taji (part of the Army Aviation Academy) without going to the Air Force Academy. The third stage consists of both theoretical and flying courses. The pilot must achieve 120-140 hours. This flight training is in Habbaniyah.
- The flying instructors have visited aviation schools in the US, Italy, Australia to observe the training methods there.
- The college has 5 training squadrons: 200 Squadron – basic flight training (60 hours Bell 206); 300 Squadron (OH58) – basic flight training. 16 Squadron – advanced flight training (60 flight hours Mi17); 500 Squadron – advanced flight training (UH-1); and 95 Squadron – fixed wing training.
- Student starts with 60 hours on 200 Squadron, then another 60 hours on 16 Squadron before moving to the operational squadrons.
- 95th fixed wing Squadron will become active when the aircraft are received in the future.
The Czech deal is still in negotiations. Aero Vodochody continues to negotiate with the Iraqi government over the potential sale of 28 L-159 light attack and training aircraft. Senior management has stated that talks with the Iraqi government have stalled due to fierce competition faced by the L-159 from the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) TA-50 Golden Eagle.
Russia has started fulfilling its recent arms exports contract with Iraq after receiving an advance payment from Baghdad, Russian Technologies (Rostech) CEO Sergei Chemezov said. “The contract is being implemented, the production [of ordered equipment] has started,” Chemezov told RIA Novosti on Thursday. No details as to when delivering and the numbers and types of equipment continue to be all over the place: 28-42 Mi28NE, 42-50 Pantsir S1, 6 Mi35, and now MiG-29s have been mentioned in this buy.
Iraqi Ministry of Interior
The 8 May Khaima included an article on the IGFC commander visiting NiOC. The meeting was attended by the commanders of 2nd and 3rd Federal Police Divisions. 2nd FP Division is Baghdad based – this could mean 2nd FP Division is moving to Ninawa and replacing 2nd IA Division. On 20 May an Iraqi press report referred to a "4th Police Area" in West Baghdad. This area is normally a 2nd FP Division area - this could mean the 4th FP Division is taking replacing 2nd FP Division in west Baghdad. The 1-5/4 FP Battalion has been reported in Bayaa District of Baghdad – 5/4 FP Brigade was previously identified as Maysan Province based.
Speculation on Operational Commands
The ISF is reorganizing its de facto Corps-level commands. Some of the older commands have been eliminated while others have been retained. The 4 new Operational Commands have several things in common that indicate they are future IA Corps:
- Not named for province or city – these are regional commands. Tigris, Jazira, Rafidain, and Furat Awsat.
- Focus is on External security vice Internal security.
- 2-3 IA Divisions in each area – factoring in the planned IA division moves: 3 IA Divisions each.
The retained older Operational Commands are all focused on internal security and appear to have 2 division-equivalents each of Emergency and Federal Police. Ninawa, Anbar, Samarra, Maysan, and Basrah could each be becoming Police Task Forces/Corps. [Keep in mind that they command more police than just the 2 paramilitary divisions in their areas.]
Baghdad Operational Command and its subordinate Rusafa and Karkh Area Commands could also be splitting as the Federal Police take the lead in the cities. BOC could be becoming the IA Central Reserve while RAC/KAC becomes Police Task Forces/Corps.
A similar split is appearing in the Kurdish Region. KRG’s Task Force Police has been established with 2 divisions of paramilitary police. Hamirin and an unidentified Operational Command have been reported forming with each commanding 3 divisional equivalents of Regional Guards Brigades.
If this is the plan, then the ISF appears to be splitting into 4-5 IA 3 division Corps and 6-7 Police 2 division Task Forces plus the KRGs 2 Corps and a Police Task Force. Reorganization and re-tasking is in progress – this may be what is planned.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during April 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 April 2013. Key points include:
- IA salvaging vehicles; Artillery Training Brigade confirmed; Crew swapping M1A1s?
- Last 3 C-130Js delivered; Second batch of 18 F-16s contracted; Russian Arms Deal reporting still confused; Kut Army Air Base soon to be mission capable.
- Dhi Qar Police Special Operations Regiment reported.
The 10 April Khaima Magazine had a full page article about the mechanical and electrical engineers beginning the 6th campaign to refurbish military equipment for the army. The article included pictures of BMP1 IFVs and Type 69-II tanks being refurbished. Equipment reported in the current batch included 16 T55 tanks, 10 BMP1 IFVs, 10 MTLB APCs, and 12 MRLs that were brought from a scrap yard in Mosul. There are multiple lines in the Taji Joint Factory that deal with separate vehicles including T72s, HMMWVs, BMP1, MTLB, M113, M109, BTR4, M1A1, and BTR80. 33 maintenance sheds have been rehabilitated to increase the repair capacity of the Taji facility.
Taji Base Factory may be expanding.
The 24 April Khaima Magazine reported on the Director of Artillery visit to the 2nd Medium Artillery Battalion, which is one of the artillery battalions of the Artillery (Training) Brigade based at the Artillery Directorate. Also observed was the Counter Battery Battalion (MRL) carrying out a live fire exercise.
First confirmation of the IGFC Artillery Brigade actually being the Artillery Directorate’s Training Brigade.
Also reported was the visit of the Commander of the 9th Armored Division to the 35th Armored Brigade in Rustimiyah where he inspected the new tank shelters, repair yard and training grounds. The troops of the 35th are also undergoing training on the Abrams tanks at Besmaya. The higher state of readiness for the 35th Brigade is in anticipation of deployment in support of Dijla [Tigris] Operations Command to relieve the 36th Armor Brigade.
While 35/9 Brigade has had previous training on M1A1s in 2012, this brigade has never been equipped with M1A1s. The brigade has 1 battalion of T72s while the 2-35/9 Battalion’s T-72s were transferred to another division. What appears to be happening here is a crew swap situation with the 36/9 Armored Brigade’s M1A1s being left in the field for the 35/9 Brigade to man.
Aviation and Air Defense
In late April, the last 3 C-130J’s for the IqAF were turned over and began their flight to Iraq.
Independent reporting indicated these 3 aircraft refueled at Shannon, Ireland on 1 May.
The contract for the second order of F-16 fighters was finally announced on 30 April. This brings the signed contracts for fighters to 36 F-16s with none delivered.
The first 4 F-16s are to deliver by 2014 with 36 delivered by 2017. Factoring in training time after delivery, these 2 squadrons will not be combat effective until 2015 and 2017. Even then, the CoS of the IqAF considers 96 fighters to be the minimum needed to provide a basic air defense. This indicates Iraq will not have an effective air defense until 2024-2027, given current rate of purchases and training.
Reporting on the Russian Arms deal is still confusing with numbers being all over the place. What is agreed is 40-50 Pantsir-S1 SHORADs and 24-40 Mi-28NE Attack Helicopters plus maybe 6 Mi-35 Attack Helicopters. Just as a sampling of the reporting:
- On 1 April, Baghdad and Moscow have agreed to renew an arms deal worth $4.2 billion that was put on ice in 2012 amid corruption allegations. Russia reportedly agreed to send four extra assault helicopters as part of the renegotiations. Russia agreed to supply Iraq with 48 Pantsir-S1 short-to-medium-range air defense systems and 28 Mil Mi-28NE strike helicopters, among other arms. The first batch of arms under the contract is expected to be delivered shortly after the agreement is signed later this year. Iraq is reportedly seeking to purchase other advanced Russian hardware, including Mikoyan Mig-29 fighter jets.
- Another report on the same day said that 40 Mi-28NE were being provided vice original order of 36.
- On 18 April, The Russian military equipment exporter Rosoboronexport, the state corporation incoming Rostekhnadzor, put into Iraq has six Mi-35 helicopters for $ 256 million in addition to defense contracts for $ 4.2 billion, according to Reuters, a source close to Rosoboronexport. The representative of Rosoboronexport declined to comment. The authorities of Russia and Iraq agreed to supply arms to the amount of $ 4.2 billion, including 36 helicopters Mi-28, in October last year. In November, the Iraqi government refused to contract on suspicion of corruption, but then supplies were resumed. New contract for 6 cars for $ 217 million ($ 256 million with ammunition) for delivery in October 2013 was signed during a visit to Iraq, the head of Rostekhnadzor Chemezov together with the head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, on Tuesday, the source said. "In the sphere of military-technical cooperation with Russia in Iraq is now being implemented contracts totaling $ 4.2 billion, mainly on the supply of Russian helicopters," - said in a statement Rostekhnadzor reported on Wednesday. The report also says the plans localization service support equipment supplied as part of the strategy for the development of Rostekhnadzor global aftermarket. "There are other prospects in the area, which are currently being considered by the parties at the expert level," - said in a statement. With the Iraqi authorities also discussed the expansion of contracts for the supply of military equipment to $ 8 billion from the current $ 4 billion, but no final agreement, the source said.
The Pantsir-S1 is still a rip-off. Its missile command guidance is very susceptible to comms jamming equipment owned by every neighboring country – which reduces it to a very expensive 30mm gun system against any opponent. There is good reason why every Western Country dropped Radio Command Guidance for terminal phase 4 decades ago. Iraq is about to become the largest owner of this junk. Iraqi ADC plans for 7-12 batteries based on 4-6 weapons per battery.
Depending on how many Mi-28NEs are to be delivered – 1 or 2 squadrons are to be formed. If the Mi-35 report is correct, those helicopters could be used as conversion trainers similar to how the 6 SA342s are used for training future EC635 aircrew.
All articles agree with deliveries starting this summer which means the Russians are selling already built equipment – either undeliverable/cancelled Libyan/Syrian sales or used Russian inventory.
The 24 April Khaima reported on a visit by the Commander of the Army Aviation Command to Kut Air Base to inspect the progress in the preparation of the airbase life support facilities and HQs of the squadrons. Also visiting the base were heads of the Special Forces and the military intelligence.
Previous reporting on Kut indicated it was to house a Mi-17 Squadron and was a downlink point for IqAF reconnaissance aircraft. Contracts for completion of infrastructure indicate completion planned this summer.
Iraqi Ministry of Interior
A report published by Iraqi MoI’s website referred to a “Special Operations Regiment in Dhi Qar Police.”
This is the first indication of expanding MoI National Emergency Response Battalions in Dhi Qar.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during March 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 March 2013. Key points include:
- SIPRI Arms Register updated - Bulgarian MTLB deal confirmed; Indications of planned additional M1A1 buys; Wasit confirmed in RaOC; Number of armor vehicles provided to 8th Division; IA received more T-72s from unknown source?; More evidence of 4th Division training to be Airborne; JOC HQ reported standing up in Sinjar.
- SIPRI Arms Register updated – Numbers of Ingwe and Stingers listed; Russian deal resumes – numbers of Mi-28NE Attack Helicopters and Pantsir SAMs still in question; Diverse air and air defense shopping/training by Iraq.
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has updated their arms register as of the end of 2012. The below list is declared exports to Iraq with deliveries noted where made as of 31 December 2012 [All previously reported – only new data is numbers of R-2 ATGW and confirmation of Bulgarian MTLB APC export deal.]:
- USA: 140 M-1A1 Abrams Tank (140 delivered) Ex-US M-1A1 rebuilt to M-1A1AIM version; option on 140 more.
- USA: 6 M-1A1 Abrams Tank Ex-US M-1A1 rebuilt to M-1A1AIM version.
- USA: 8 M-88A2 HERCULES ARV; delivery 2014.
- Bulgaria: 500 MT-LB APC; Ex-Bulgarian; modernized before delivery.
- Ukraine: 270 BTR-4 IFV (60 delivered); delivery probably 2011-2014.
- Ukraine: 2700 R-2 Anti-tank missile; (795 delivered) For BTR-4E IFV.
- Ukraine: 150 BTR-4K APC (28 delivered); incl BTR-4K and BTR-4KSh command post, ambulance and BREM-4 ARV version; delivery probably 2011-2014.
- USA: 834 M-113 APC (834 delivered) Ex-US; M-113A2 version; modernized before delivery; incl command post, mortar-carrier, ambulance and other versions.
- USA: 9 Cougar APC (9 delivered) ILAV version.
- USA: 120 M-198 155mm Towed gun (120 delivered) Ex-US; aid.
- USA: 565 K-6 120mm Mortar; (565 delivered) M-120 version.
Given that 2nd Division received the existing Iraqi MTLBs  and 14th Division has received "Armor training" while all other armor has been accounted for, the Bulgarian MTLBs probably are planned as the APC component for mechanizing those 2 divisions.
The 27 February Khaima had a full page article about the graduation of the 12th batch of M1A1SA "foundation course" students. This is the 12th and final course for the 9th Armored Division. The number of trainees were 47 from the 3rd Company, 5-36/9 Armored Battalion. The training lasted for 3 months with 590 total trainees in the entire program - 140 tanks and 12 tank companies as well as 36 tank recovery vehicles. The next stage is the training of a "training cadre" for the Abrams tanks for the future which will include 40 trainees to be trained as trainers.
This indicates plans for additional M1A1 buys.
The 6 March Khaima had an interview with the Commander of the 8th Division General Hasen Mohammed Mahus. Key items mentioned included that: The change from Infantry to Mechanized Infantry increases the war fighting capability of the unit for external defense purposes especially since our border areas are good geographically for mechanized units to operate in. We have been provided with 470 armored vehicles by the armor directorate of various types, all of these were imported from the US. The troops are undergoing training at Besmaya for their conversion. Wasit province has been moved from the Central Euphrates Command to the Rafidain Command which has reduced the geographical area that the unit has to cover.
This confirms the transfer of Wasit to RaOC. The 470 armored vehicles includes more than just M113 APCs and is the same amount of armor provided to 10th Division when it was mechanized. Both divisions are still short or do not have tanks.
The 13 March Khaima reported on the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces visit to the Transport and Logistics Command. They discussed the standing up of the fire fighting units and improvements to the capability of the fuel delivery units. Iraq now has enough tank transporters to meet its logistical needs. Each unit of the Transport and Logistics Command consists of a Fuel Truck Battalion, Truck Battalion, Tank Transport Battalion and a Fire Fighting Unit.
This indicates that the Taji General Transport Regiment has been expanded to a Transport Brigade and that the Corps-level support will include a National Depot [Brigade] and a Transport Brigade.
Additionally, the 1-35/9 Armored Battalion at Rustumiya received its T72 tanks.
Where are the additional T-72s from? There have been no reports of additional buys of T-72s by Iraq. Nine IA battalions have been reported training on T-72s and 5 have been reported equipped but, only 4 battalions worth of T-72s are known to be in the IA’s possession…
The 20 March Khaima reported that the Rapid Reaction Battalion of the 4th Division completed training on airborne operations in cooperation with Army Aviation Command.
4th Division has been expected to be the IA’s airborne force due to its extensive airmobile experience and reported paratroop training. This also probably means the division is probably planning to relocate in or adjacent to New Al Muthanna AB [BIAP] – home of the IqAF Transport Wing.
The new Jazeera Operational Command HQ is reported to be establishing at Rabiyah in the Sinjar District of Ninawa.
Aviation and Air Defense
Mar20: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has updated their arms register as of the end of 2012. The below list is declared exports to Iraq with deliveries noted where made as of 31 December 2012 [all previously reported – only new data is the numbers of Ingwe ATGW and Stinger SAMs being provided]:
- USA: 18 F-16C Block-50/52 FGA aircraft; F-16C Block-52 or F-16IQ version; incl 6 F-16D; delivery from 2014.
- USA: 20 AAQ-33 Sniper Aircraft EO system; delivery by 2015.
- USA: 4 DB-110 Aircraft recce system; for use on F-16 combat aircraft; delivery probably by 2018.
- USA: 4 AN/APG-68 Combat ac radar AN/APG-68(V)9 version; spares for F-16 combat aircraft.
- USA: 18 F-16C Block-50/52 FGA aircraft F-16C Block-52 or F-16IQ version; delivery 2018; selected but contract possibly not yet signed.
- Czech Republic: 24 L-159B Trainer/combat ac; delivery possibly from 2015.
- Czech Republic 4 L-159B Trainer/combat ac; Ex-Czech; delivery 2013.
- USA: 24 F-124 Turbofan for 24 L-159B trainer/combat aircraft from Czech Republic.
- Ukraine: 6 An-32/Cline Transport aircraft; (6 delivered) An-32B version.
- USA: 6 C-130J-30 Hercules Transport aircraft (3 delivered); delivery 2012-2013.
- Germany (FRG): 24 EC-135/EC-635 Light helicopter; (24 delivered); armed EC-635 version; ordered via France.
- South Africa: 300 Ingwe Anti-tank missile; (300 delivered) For EC-635 helicopters.
- USA: 24 Bell-407 Light helicopter (15 Armed version delivered); option on 26 more; delivery 2012-2013.
- USA: 1 AN/TPS-77 Air search radar; designation uncertain.
- USA: 8 Avenger Mobile SAM system; 'ISFF' aid; selected but contract probably not yet signed.
- USA: 200 FIM-92 Stinger Portable SAM for Avenger SAM systems.
The Russian deal was not in the SIPRI database since it was suspended prior to the end of 2012. However: “As far as the signed contracts go that deal with the acquisition of weapons in Russia, they have not been cancelled. However, we have not started executing them yet. When will the first supply commence? As soon as the financial issue is resolved. I believe that the first shipments of weapons from Russia to Iraq will start before the summer, as the latest term. What kind of equipment will it be? Military aircraft were discussed. No, we are not talking about aircraft so far. It will be helicopters of a specific kind and missile defense batteries.”
- Deal is for 28-40 Mi-28NE Attack Helicopters and 42-50 Pantsir S1 SAM systems.
- Deal is for 4.2 billion dollars which is more than the worth of the highest numbers of systems reported.
- 4 additional Mi-28NEs were added to replace the initial kickback corruption in the original deal.
- Now that the renewed deal is signed, deliveries are to start this summer.
The 27 March Khaima points to more diverse air and air defense weapons shopping and training:
- Commander of the Air Defense Command meets with the representatives of French companies at the HQ of the ADC. They discussed the plans for building the Iraqi ADC and the fact finding trips by the technical committees of the ADC to observe the testing of new air defense systems in Europe. The French stated their willingness to train and equip the ADC with French weapons.
- Commander of the Air Force meets with US, Chinese and Pakistani defense representatives.
- US rep, General Martin: discussed training courses.
- Pakistani rep, Mohammed Rashed: discussed training courses in Pakistan for Iraqi officers / pilots.
- Chinese rep head of CATIC: The manufacturer of the JF17 fighter, k8 trainer and UAVs. Iraqi AF commander indicated that they are prepared to test and evaluate aircraft that CATIC offers to Iraq.
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has updated their arms register as of the end of 2012. The below list is declared exports to Iraq with deliveries noted where made as of 31 December 2012 [all previously reported]:
- USA: 9 Swiftships-35 Patrol craft (9 delivered).
- USA: 3 Swiftships-35 Patrol craft (3 delivered); option on 3 more.
- USA: 2 AMP-137 OPV (2 delivered).
Iraqi Ministry of Interior
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has updated their arms register as of the end of 2012. The below list is declared exports to Iraq with deliveries noted where made as of 31 December 2012 [previously reported]:
- USA: 80 ASV-150/M-1117 APC (60 delivered); including 8 command post versions; delivery 2011-2013. [Federal Police]
The consolidation of Operational Commands point toward 7 total ISF Corps in Wartime [5 Frontal/2 Reserve] being the basis of the Wartime Army structure. Additionally, Kurdish elements are not being integrated – instead the KRG is building its own 2 corps army structure. [ISF planned Wartime Structure appears to reflect late Iran-Iraq War Corps/Army Structure.]
The primary external focus is towards Iran. Jordan, Turkey, and the GCC are only a threat if they have US support and Iraq cannot win a war with the US. The reduction of Joint Corps opposite Syria is a reflection of Syria’s reduced conventional threat and the likelihood of the future Syrian Government not being allied with Iran. Iran becomes the biggest regional threat by default – Iran’s 48 divisions on mobilization, 7 of them mech/armor, is the 800 pound gorilla next door.
Forward defense is Iraq’s only real option. Too many key areas are close to the Iranian border. However, Iraq does not currently have the force to successfully defend Iraq against a conventional invasion. While the ISF is training and re-equipping for external security – it is at least a decade from being ready. Iran could occupy Iraq in less than 3 weeks at this point.
As depicted on the map, the forward defense planned by the Iraqi Security Forces utilizes the Total Mobilization Concept. The Department of Border Enforcement provides the forward screen with a mix of Iraqi Federal Police, Emergency Police, and Kurdish Regional Guards providing the primary infantry line. The Iraqi Army provides the heavy reserve.
The Iraqi Army plans to add significant armor to its force so that it’s mechanized and armor divisions [plus select IA motorized and airmobile] can operate as corps/army/strategic reserve to react to any enemy breakthrough. Supporting those reserve IA divisions will be Army Aviation Brigades paired with the Iraqi Special Operations Force Brigades as part of the quick reaction forces.
However, all of these forces are not ready for external defense. Most divisions would be only a speed-bump to the Iranian forces at this point. To put it into perspective, the 3-phase Iraqi Ministry of Defense plan is:
- Tactical Independence (2006-2010) – Internal security, effectively done.
- Operational Independence (2011-2015) – Will not meet the schedule. The IA needs to be out of internal security operations by then and the FP will not be ready to take over in time. Also, the FP needs to train and equip for its secondary role as infantry in external defense.
- Strategic Independence (2016-2020) – Will not meet the schedule. This requires a functional and credible air defense, at least 6 fully equipped heavy IA divisions, and the FP trained/equipped for its secondary role of external security. The first fighter squadron will not be operational until 2015-2016 and Iraq needs a minimum of 5 squadrons to provide a minimum air defense. Iraqi officers are talking 2024-2027 for completion of this plan.
The ISF is developing but, budget issues and politics continues to delay many key components. The planned upgrade schedules have slid to 2017-2018 for Phase 2 [Operational Independence] and 2024-2027 for Phase 3 [Strategic Independence].
ISF OOB [Updated monthly]
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during February 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 28 February 2013.
- Arms deals delayed due to Parliament fight over budget.
- Fourth batch of BTR-4s accepted.
- More French and US helicopters?; AAC re-designates 3 squadrons.
- New ISOF Battalion forming?
- 2 PBs delivered; IqN/IqM Brigade organizations; Diver School.
- OPD Brigade forming in Kirkuk.
The Czech and Russian Deals remain suspended. While reporting claims they are “failed” deals, official reporting from Iraqi, Czech, and Russian Governments call them delayed or suspended due to the Iraqi Budget fight in Parliament. The Czech deal is for 28 L159 Jet Trainers and an Iraqi refit facility for T72s. The Russian negotiations covered seven weapons systems [Mi17v5, Mi28NE, BMP-3E, SU-30MK2, MiG29M2, Pantsir and TOR-M2] but, Russian reporting indicates only the contracts for 30 Mi28 Attack Helicopters and 42 Pantsir S1 Short Range SAMs are actually signed and that they can start delivering from existing stocks when payment is received.
On 7 February, representatives of IMoD and Ukrspecexport signed the document confirming the acceptance of another batch of BTR-4 armored personnel carriers. This batch consists of 40 vehicles. Reporting is that this delivery makes over 200 delivered out of 420 contracted. While most reporting refers to this as the third delivery – it is actually the fourth. The third delivery of 94 BTR-4 variants was in December and went largely unreported. A total of 222 vehicles have been accepted in 4 batches – 26, 62, 94, and now the accepted 40 more. These BTR-4 variants are being used to mechanize the 5th Mechanized Division.
A team from Eurocopter visited the Army Aviation Command where they discussed existing and future contracts. This indicates that the AAC is planning to exercise the options for additional French helicopters.
The AAC has renumbered some of its squadrons. The 200th Training Squadron at Habbaniyah operates the Bell 206s. The 300th Training Squadron at Habbaniyah operates the OH-58s. 22nd Squadron at Habbaniyah now has no helicopters but in few months will operate ARH407s. Effectively the AAC is establishing an Aviation Training Brigade at Habbaniyah’s AAC College and standing up a second Armed Reconnaissance Squadron. This indicates the option for more ARH407s is also being exercised.
Iraqi Special Operations Force
A “Special Operations Unit" has been reported operating in Maysan. This is the first report of an ISOF element operating in RaOC. While this may be just a detachment from 6th Regional Commando Battalion [Basrah], it could also be the beginning of a dedicated RCB for RaOC.
The 10th and 11th Swiftship PBs delivered. The 12th and last in the current contract is to deliver later this year. There are options for 6 more.
According to the 6 February Khaima the 1st Naval Brigade has been formed:
- 1st Patrol Squadron with Swiftship PBs.
- 2nd Patrol Squadron consisting of the 4 Saettia Patrol Ships.
- 3rd Patrol Squadron which consists of the Iraqi made Al Fao PBs used to send troops to the offshore oil terminals.
- 4th Transport and Logistics Squadron consists of the 2 OSVs and AOR.
- 5th Patrol Squadron with the Chinese made Predator PBs by the naval infantry to board vessels.
The 1st Naval Infantry Brigade has three battalions:
- 1st Marine Battalion defends the Basra and Amaya offshore terminals, including protection of vessels and boarding of ships.
- 2nd Marine Battalion defends all the shore port facilities as well as Umm Qasr and Khor al Zubair towns in collaboration with the other security forces.
- 3rd Marine Battalion acts as a mobile defense placing checkpoints along the roads between Umm Qasr and Khor al Zubair as well as protection for Haj visitors during their journey from Basra to Saudi Arabia.
The numbering of these brigades plus the additional elements, expanding responsibilities [New Al Fao Port] and excess bases indicate additional Naval and Marine Brigades are to be formed.
The 13 February Khaima reported on Navy run courses for divers that will be repeated annually at the Marine School. This supports the Frogman Squadron which is expected to expand to battalion strength.
Ministry of Interior
A Sahwa brigade is to be formed into an Oil Police Brigade in Kirkuk under the command of the Tigris Operational Command.
The Iraqi Security Forces are still a work in progress. While they are capable of internal security, the ISF is not capable of a successful external defense against any neighbors. Iraqi Ministry of Defense (IMoD) continues to officially claim they will meet the 2020 target date for completing external defense upgrades but, unofficial IMoD estimates are 2024-2027.
Joint Command Structure: Most of the various ISF Services and service headquarters do not direct the combat forces in the field. The Operational and Area Commands fill the role of Joint Army/Corps commands operating under the National Operations Command. These headquarters are mostly complete except for a proposed merger of Ninawa and Anbar Operational Commands into Jazeera Operational Command. All subordinate units to these Joint Operational and Area Commands are trained, equipped, and provided by the service component commands.
Iraqi Army (IA) Ground Forces: The IA is in the process of converting to external defense. While all Battalions and Brigades are structurally complete – most combat Battalions/Brigades are planned to convert. The IA has only 10 Tank Regiments [Battalions] of the 61 needed to fill out the planned 3 Armor and 8 Mechanized Divisions. Discounting the light APCs, the IA has 35 of 71 planned Mechanized Battalions. At Division-level the IA is still missing 50 percent of its planned artillery and Engineers plus their logistics support units. Division Anti-Tank elements are planned but not formed. The IA Corps-level combat support units and augment units to the FP for external defense have only started forming [Artillery, Mortars, Anti-Aircraft, Anti-Tank, etc].
Air Defense Command (ADC): The IA ADC was only established in 2011. At this point ADC only has 2 of 4 planned Sector Operations Centers operational, no surface to air missiles, and has only started fielding salvaged anti-aircraft guns. Iraq has no real air defense.
Army Air Corps (AAC): The AAC is the rotary-wing force supporting the ground forces. The AAC is currently composed of 10 Squadrons of a planned 23-24. Only 1 Combat Aviation Brigade has been reported of 7 planned. Each Combat Aviation Brigade is to have 1 Scout, 1 Attack, and 1 Transport Squadron. The AAC College at Habbaniyah includes an Aviation Training Brigade(-).
Iraqi Air Force (IqAF): The IqAF is still in its infancy - Only 7 of 24-25 Squadrons planned. Effectively the IqAF is a training, transport, and reconnaissance force with little to no air defense or ground attack capability. Over the next 2 years the IA is expected to add a Jet Training Squadron and a Fighter Squadron with another Fighter squadron to follow 2 years later. A minimum of 5 Fighter Squadrons are required for the air defense of Iraq – which means the IqAF is 10-12 years from having a minimum air defense at this rate of fighter purchases.
Iraqi Navy/Marines (IqN/IqM): The Iraqi Navy and Marines is organized into a Naval Brigade and a Marine Brigade with signs of additional Naval and Marine Brigades being formed. Probable planned end force is a Naval Division and a Marine Division.
Iraqi General Depot Command (IGDC): The IGDC provides the Army-/Corps-level logistic support to the Operational Forces and trains/equips the divisional/brigade level IA logistics brigades/battalions. 4 of 6 planned National Depots [Corps Sustainment Brigades] are formed or forming. [The seventh is provided by the FP.] At the Army-Level the Taji Joint Base Factory Complex [2 Brigades] provides the Maintenance support – might expand further.
Iraqi Training and Doctrine Command (ITDC): ITDC is structurally complete. Provides training from Basic to Advanced.
Counter Terrorism Service (CTS): The CTS is the parent service for the Iraqi Special Operations Force. Normally ISOF is under NOC and has dedicated AAC aviation support from the 32nd Aviation Brigade. ISOF would provide Commando Brigades to the Corps in wartime for recon and airmobile special operations support. 8-9 of 21 planned combat Battalions are operational – 2 of 7 planned Combat Brigades.
Federal Police (FP): The FP is absorbing the province paramilitary Emergency Police and reorganizing into 14 Divisions each with 4 FP and 1 administratively attached Emergency Response Brigade. ERBs are normally under direct command of NOC while the FP Divisions are under the Operational and Area Commands. While enough EP Brigades have been “nationalized” to provide line forces for 6 FP Divisions, only 4 of 14 planned FP [Motorized Infantry] Divisions have been reported commissioned. [16 Divisions if the KRG Task Force Police were added.] Divisional Support Brigades are well under strength in the 4 existing FP Divisions. The FP also has enough elements to form 2 Security Divisions. The FP Sustainment Brigade provides the 7th Corps-level logistic support and the FP Divisions provide Infantry forces [augmented by IA FA, AAA, AT and support] in wartime. The IA provides the heavies and the FP provides the infantry line in the Frontal Corps during an external war.
Department of Border Enforcement (DBE): Even in peacetime, the DBE focus is on border security. Most DBE is static security operating out of border forts but there are some motorized and maritime forces. DBE Regions I, II, and IV are each divisional in strength while seriously short logistics support. Regions III and V are only a division in strength when combined. [Of note, Region I is under de facto control of the KRG.]
Oil Police Directorate (OPD) and Facilities Protection Service (FPS): Organized into 4 OPD and 3 FPS Divisions, these forces are static internal security forces and not under the Operational Commands. These services are unlikely to be used in external defense. Structure of these forces and current status has not been reported.
Kurdish Forces: Effectively an IA Frontal-Army equivalent force. Still in training and short armor compared to the IA, the Kurdish Regional Guard is a Mountain Infantry Army of 2 forming Corps – 5 active and 2 reserve Division-equivalents. [The only authorized reserve military in Iraq.] The 2 Task Force Police Divisions are equivalent to FP and were to become FP Divisions at one time – cadre elements received Carabiniere training at FP Schools in Baghdad. Iraqi DBE Region I is de facto under Kurdish Regional Government control. The KRG even operates its own Oil Police and Facilities Protection Service.
The ISF is a work in progress – at least 1, probably 2 decades from completion.
The problem with this update is that there are few confirmed reports of additional armor buys since the last update. Most of this update is extrapolation of what will be acquired and what may be contracted but has not been reported.
A factor that most overlook in analyzing the future IA is that they look at the IA in isolation. To analyze the planned IA force you have to look at all of the service components and their functions. The IA is just 1 of the services that provide ground forces in event of an external war:
- The Iraq Army provides the heavy armor/mechanized, airborne/airmobile, and fire-support forces. Currently the IA is 14 divisions of which 3 are designated mechanized and 1 is designated armor despite being 12 tank regiments short. 11 divisions have tracked armor/mechanized battalions indicating plans to become heavy and 1 division has elements designated airborne and airmobile. These forces and ISOF would be the attack/counterattack forces in an external fight.
- The Department of Border Enforcement provides the fortified forward infantry screen. The DBE is 5 regions [divisions] however, I Region is de facto Kurdish Region controlled and V Region [Saudi Border] is grossly under strength. Effectively 3 infantry divisions minus artillery. Static defense.
- The Federal Police provide infantry forces in wartime. While the FP is only 4 divisions now – the FP is absorbing the provincial Emergency Police. Building to 13-14 infantry divisions. Defensive forces.
- The Iraqi Marines are responsible for the defense of the Al Fao peninsula and coastal/port defense. While only 2 brigades now – probably growing to an infantry division. Defensive amphibious force.
- The Counter Terrorism Service [ISOF] is the Special Operations Component. Only 2 reinforced brigades now but, probably growing to 7 brigades – 1 per corps. High-end reconnaissance and airmobile counterattack force.
The extra infantry components from the Ministry of Interior mean that the IA will be eventually be skewed towards armor/mechanized forces. This will not happen fast. Current estimates are 2024-2027 before the services reach their planned strengths.
Where are the Tanks?
The IA only has 10 tank regiments – the tank complement of only 2 mechanized divisions. Yet they have designated 1 armor and 3 mechanized divisions officially and have 2 more divisions mechanizing. Mechanized divisions are planned to have 5 tank regiments each while armor divisions are planned to have 7 tank regiments each. 5 of the existing tank regiments are in the 9th “Armor” Division – 2 tank regiments short of plan. 12th Infantry Division has 2 tank regiments. 2nd Motorized Division, 10th Mechanized Division, and 14th Motorized [mechanizing] Division have 1 tank regiment each. This means they are short a minimum of 22 tank regiments [770 tanks] just to fill the existing 1 armor, 3 mechanized, and 2 mechanizing divisions at this time. 3 of the existing tank regiments are currently in divisions not mechanizing indicating a minimum of 8 divisions to be armor or mech. Apparent priority order is:
- 9th Armor Division – short 2 tank regiments.
- 8th, 10th, and 5th Mechanized Divisions – short 14 tank regiments.
- 14th and 7th Divisions [mechanizing] – short 10 mechanized battalions and 9 tank regiments. 4 mechanized battalions converting.
- 6th, 12th, 2th, 3th, and 11th Divisions – only a division’s worth of tracked armor plus 2 divisions’s worth of light wheeled APCs between them. 3 tank regiments and 9 mechanized battalions plus 26 battalions equipped with light APCs.
- 1st, 4th, and 17th Divisions show no indications of plans to upgrade to armor or mech. 4th Division appears to be converting to airmobile/airborne.
The lowest estimate of tanks needed based on 3 armor and 6 mechanized divisions is 51 tank regiments [1,785 tanks]. The highest estimate of tanks needed based on 5 armor and 6 mechanized divisions is 65 tank regiments [2,275]. The probable current plan is for 3 armor and 8 mechanized divisions requiring 61 tank regiments [2,135]. The IA has fewer than 350 tanks yet only 6 more tanks are on order [M1A1s]. Where are the other tanks? Where are they coming from? When?
- The Iraqis have turned down Russian T90s - Just like the Russian Army did. T90s were originally designated T72Bu – T72 upgraded. The limited upgrades are not worth the higher price.
- Iraq has contracted with Czech Republic for T72 upgrade facilities – not necessary for the 4 under strength T72 tank regiments existing which indicates large numbers of T72s are planned but, there are no reports of further T72 acquisitions. Probable sources include Czech, Ukraine, and Poland.
- The 6 additional M1A1s being acquired from the US are not enough to equip a company but, indicate a continued interest in more M1A1s.
- While interest has apparently waned, Iraq still has an option for 350 Hellenic Army M60A3s [10 Regiments – tank component of 2 Mechanized Divisions].
Indications of planned tanks and reported contracts are conflicting. Iraqi policy is to acquire key equipment from more than 1 country to prevent any 1 country from crippling them by cutting of spare parts supplies. Which means the probable planned mix of tanks are T72M4, M1A1 and possibly M60A3. The problem is that only 6 M1A1 tanks are reported in acquisition which indicates significant tank deliveries are probably not going to happen anytime soon. However, at least 8 IA battalions have been reported training on “tanks” including T72s which indicates a minimum of 280 tanks planned to deliver in the next 2 years. The reported training and absence of significant tank acquisition reporting are not in sync.
More Armored Personnel Carriers?
Iraqi Ministry of Defense tends to prioritize equipment acquisitions by types. APCs have had the priority. If you count the light APCs [DZIK3/Otokar], the IA has enough APCs for the 11 planned mechanized and armor divisions. However, reporting indicates the IA plans to replace the light APCs and transfer them to infantry divisions, the Federal Police, and the Directorate of Border Enforcement, plus Iraq has been donating light APCs to other countries for use in counter-insurgency. This indicates at least 1,000 APCs are to be acquired in addition to the delivered and delivering [BTR4] APCs. This number could easily double if the 2 infantry divisions are converted to heavier APC equipped motorized.
Iraq turned down buying BMP4s from Russia and is denying buying 500 MTLBs from Bulgaria. It is also possible that they are trying to acquire more M113s from US EDA. They are shopping but, no confirmed acquisitions. If the IA was only planning on 7 or less heavy divisions – they would not require additional tracked APCs.
While self-propelled mortars, howitzers, and MRLs are not essential, they can use towed – they are more effective for supporting mechanized and armor forces. The IA has only 3 battalions of M1064 SP Mortars, 3 battalions of M109 SP Howitzers and has been adding 107mm MRL launchers to MTLBs for fire support. The IA is only 50 percent in divisional artillery. Each IA division is to have 72 120mm mortars and 72 howitzers/MRLs plus the IA has started forming mortar and howitzer/MRL battalions for FP/DBE fire support and Corps’ Field Artillery Brigades. An additional ~1,100 120mm mortars and ~2,100 howitzers/MRLs are required to fill out the planned force. Of those missing mortars and howitzers/MRLs and based on 11 IA heavy divisions and 7 Joint Corps - approximately 700 each of self-propelled mortars and howitzers/MRLs could be planned.
The IA tends to buy specialist vehicles last in priority. Planned numbers of command, engineering, chemical defense, recon, and support vehicles are not clear in reporting. What is clear is the numbers are insufficient for current force structure let alone what is planned.
While it has been reported that the IA plans to form an anti-tank guided weapon battalion – there are no reports of equipment or organization. The BTR4s that are being bought are being fielded in mechanized battalions vice the previously reported anti-tank/recon/commando role.
The IA is still a work in progress as it converts to its external defense role. Many components are not built…
Related: Iraq Order of Battle
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during January 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 January 2013.
- IA Divisional Artillery at 50%; ATGW Bns to be added to divisions; NiOC and AOC may be merged; 4-5 of the 7 Joint Corps [Operational Commands] have Sustainment Brigades formed or forming; 5th Mechanized Division getting BTR4s; Corps-level artillery starting to form; indications of additional T72s acquire; Weapons continue to be salvaged.
- Funding for F16s; Possible purchase of AH-1Z/UH-1Y; Kut AB completing support structure; 3 ARH407 delivered.
- New Naval Infantry Brigade established?; Stromboli class AOR to deliver from Egypt.
IMod published an extended version of the weekly Khaima Magazine for New Years. Significant items concerning the Iraqi Army include:
- The army consists of 14 divisions and is now complete in terms of organizational structure. [This confirms no fifteenth division commissioned despite press reports to contrary.]
- The training plans for 2012 were not fulfilled due to the situation along the Syrian border which meant that units meant to train-retrain were instead deployed. The aim is to have one brigade per division in training.
- Three divisions were upgrade from infantry to mechanized in this year [5th, 8th, and 10th]. [IMoD’s definition of mech is different than mine – I also list 7th and 14th Divisions. By either definition they are short at least 16 tank regiments – 560 tanks.]
- The 9th Division was upgraded from mechanized to armored division this year.
- Every division equipped with artillery battalions and just in the last weeks 10 battalions finished their training on the US 155mm artillery. All units now have both heavy artillery battalions as well as light artillery 120mm [mortars]. [This means 2 of the 4 planned field artillery regiments per division have been commissioned. Note that the additional US howitzers have not been mentioned by DSCA.]
- All the divisions now have their support structures including logistics and central maintenance factory [Maintenance Battalion], as well as combat engineers and mechanical & electrical engineers.
- Introducing anti-tank missile battalions, since we are a defensive nation nowadays.
- IMoD studying the possibility of establishing the "Jazira Command" to control the desert / border areas with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria as it’s a very specialized area which needs to synergize the logistics and intelligence sharing. They envisage adding the border guard units to this command. [Rumored plan to merge Anbar and Ninawa Operational Commands confirmed.]
- IMoD envisages arming the police and national police with equipment similar to the army in future. The plan is to hand over internal security completely to the interior ministry soon. With potential for the army to intervene in internal security only in emergencies in future, and for the interior ministry to support the defense ministry in external crises vice versa. [As the IA upgrades – older IA equipment will be handed down to MoI.]
- Tigris Operations Command was created out of the old Diyala Operations Command and includes the 4th Infantry, 5th Mechanized, and 12th Infantry Divisions as well as the Diyala, Salahudin, and Kirkuk police departments. The corps has put together a "support" brigade. [This is the fourth corps-level support/sustainment brigade reported formed – 5 if the Federal Police Sustainment Brigade is included. Two more are probably planned or forming at Tallil and Shaibah.]
- The 5th Division is being equipped with BTR4s which are armed with 30mm cannon and a missile system. 1 battalion has finished training and the second battalion is training on the BTR4s. 62 vehicles have been assigned so far. [Either the 5th Mechanized Division is to be light mechanized or only 70% of the BTR4s purchased are to go to 5th. Either way – the BTR4s are not going to the Commandos as was once planned.]
- Every infantry brigade has a 120mm mortar battery.
- Every operations command was also equipped with mortars of various origins. [Beginnings of Corps-level artillery units.]
- From salvaged equipment the following units were established: 5 artillery battalions of 152mm, 130mm and 122mm guns. 1 rocket battalion of 122mm artillery rockets. 1 rocket battalion of light 107mm rockets.
- Every division now has a 155mm artillery battalion (either towed or self propelled) - 3 self propelled and 10 towed.
- Kirkush middle field factory for the repair and maintenance of various classes of vehicles. The unit repairs and overhauls vehicles as well as sends out repair and recovery teams in support of the 5th Mechanized Division. The unit is part of the mechanical and electrical engineers directorate of the army. The factory also repaired 105mm guns (Tank or howitzer?) and has began using the IDN maintenance/part management system which is now used across the defense ministry. [Part of the Corps-level Support Brigade for TOC. Only 105mm guns reported are old pack howitzers or the option for 350 M60A3s from the Hellenic Army.]
Khaima Magazine from 16 January included the following items concerning the IA:
- The 35th Brigade has organized training for tank crews on the T72 which has recently entered service with the 1st armored battalion. [There are at least 2 T72 Tank Regiments more than reported numbers of T72s in the IA support – which suggests additional T72s have been acquired, possibly from Czech.]
- The mechanical and electrical engineer’s corps exhibition of the results of the fifth salvage campaign. 290 pieces of armor, artillery, rocket launchers, mortars, anti-aircraft guns were salvaged in this 5th campaign. 18x 57mm S60 guns. 7x HUMVEE fitted with 107mm MRL. 3x personnel carriers fitted with dual cannons. 14x twin cannons fitted to Silverado trucks. 14x DshK machine guns. 24x 60mm mortars. 12x ASP8 recoilless rifles. 100x RPG7. 45x assorted vehicles abandoned on former US bases. 6x light recovery vehicles. 2x heavy recovery vehicles. 2x 122mm BM21 launchers 2x HUMVEES for troop exhibitions salvaged MTLBs from scrap and fitted with 107mm rockets in early 2013, an additional 12 BM21s will be completed more salvage campaigns will continue in 2013 these salvage campaigns not only provide low cost equipment for temporary use for the army, but also help rebuild the technical cadres of the engineers and their experiences. The guns have new barrels and the vehicles new engines and electrics the weapons are as new, but cost much less than buying new equipment.
- In an interview with commander of the 18/5 Mechanized Brigade the following items were mentioned: It is an important brigade in Diyala tasked with the rapid interdiction of terrorists. 18/5 Brigade consists of 4 mechanized battalions spread over the roads from baquba to kan'an and baladruz as well as the area reaching to the border with Baghdad operations command. 1st battalion completed their training on BTR4s and the second battalion is now undergoing training at Besmaya.
The Ministry of Finance approved loans to the Ministry of Defense in the amount of 1.8 billion dollars to cover the costs of buying F-16 planes to be paid from the budget of the Ministry of Defense for the year 2013.
"Iraq is looking at a possible purchase of 24 AH-1Z helicopters for the Iraqi Army and 6-8 UH-1Y Maritime Utility helicopters for its Navy."
Kut Air Base (Army Aviation Command) will complete its life support components and refurbishments before the end of 2013 including construction and commissioning of warehouses for parts for aircraft and specialized vehicles, as well as fuel storage facilities. VIP areas for officers were also completed, and these are considered the best halls within the army aviation command.
IMod published an extended version of the weekly Khaima Magazine for New Years. Significant items concerning Iraqi Aviation include:
- Army aviation received 3 ARH407 helicopters from the US aboard a USAF C130, along with spare parts and equipment. This was confirmed by US Army press release as the sixth batch delivered. [2-3 per batch.]
- Training on F16s continues in the US and 2 pilots will soon finish their training. Facilities for the F16s are being built up rapidly on the airbases.
- They are nearing a deal to buy VIP transports for the head of state and prime minister.
- Air Defence Command Southern Operations Command active.
- The ADC infrastructure is being rebuilt completely from scratch. The committee for purchasing new air defense equipment looked at Russian, French, American, Chinese and Korean air defense systems. The ADC aims to buy from many countries an ADC system to cover Iraq's airspace at all altitudes as well as a modern command and control system.
IMod published an extended version of the weekly Khaima Magazine for New Years. Significant items concerning the Iraqi Navy include:
- In 2012 a ship repair facility was commissioned.
- New boats were received (OSVs and patrol boats).
- Advanced Simulators for naval training were commissioned.
- Naval Infantry Brigade established. [Second IqM Brigade?]
- Iraq will also receive the naval support ship in Egypt which has been refitted (Stromboli class AOR).
- The ministry of industry and minerals supplied the navy with three Fao class patrol boats which are operational.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during December 2012. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 December 2012. Highlights in this update include:
- 5th Mechanized Division receiving BTR4s.
- 3 C130Js received; Press conference with IMoD provides some details on Russian Deal; Iraqi Air Defense Command.
- 2 OSVs delivered to Basrah.
The 12 December edition of Khaima magazine reported on the 5th Mechanized Division. This was the first time the 5th was called Mechanized. The 18/5 Mechanized Brigade is to receive its BTR4s soon. 1-18/5 Mechanized Battalion has completed training on BTR4s and the 2-18/5 Mechanized Battalion is now undergoing BTR4 training. The division is converting to 1 armored brigade [20/5] and 3 mechanized brigades [18/5, 19/5, and 21/5]. The 20/5 Brigade has 1 armored battalion currently in training. The source of the 175 tanks needed to equip the 5th Mechanized Division has not been identified. [35 tanks per battalion/5 battalions.] The 5th Mechanized Division was trained on M113s but is apparently being equipped BTR4s instead.
Iraq accepted 3 C130Js in Baghdad on 17 December. The remaining 3 C130Js on order are to be delivered during 2013.
The 12 December edition of Khaima magazine reported on the Defense Minister meeting with journalists to discuss the Russian Deal:
- ADC has been contracted by the army to fit 23mm and 14.5mm cannons to 4x4 vehicles for convoy protection duties.
- The Russian deal included two types of aircraft, neither of which the Russians had exported before. One of these is the Mi28NE.
- The air defense system also has not been exported by Russia and is used only by the Russian military.
- 4 different systems that Iraq proposed to the Russians and the Russians have yet to approve their sale to Iraq until a country-country agreement is made due to strategic nature of these weapons.
- Iraq was supposed to receive the weapons from Russia from 14th June 2013 but now the deliveries have been delayed due to the political outburst and the new purchasing committee.
The 26 December edition of Khaima magazine reported on the receipt of 3x C130J medium lift cargo aircraft and the Air Defense Command [ADC]. The ADC was activated on 8 December 2011 consisting of 16 officers and 24 enlisted personnel and one civilian. In this one year ADC has setup early warning radars, early warning spotters, some air defense artillery batteries, early warning center in the south, and the Central Air Defense Command in Baghdad. In addition there have been two campaigns to salvage old equipment from the previous army. The 2013 budget has allocated a very large amount of capital for re equipping the ADC. The early warning system now covers 90 percent of Iraq's air space. Iraq is buying air defense missile systems and will not rely on a single source of supply for them. Only Kirkuk, Taji, Tallil, & Basrah SOCs/ASOC are displayed in the photos accompanying the article.
On 20 December, 2 Offshore Support Vessels [OSV] were delivered. The 26 December edition of Khaima magazine included a full page article on these new OSVs. The OSV crews were trained in the US for 3 months. The OSVs will support patrol boats in their tasks as well as having a secondary diver launch capability.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during November 2012. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 November 2012. “A Passing Advantage – The Kurdish/Iraq Confrontation” was published separately and will not be addressed here.
Highlights in this update include:
- KRG forming 2 Joint Corps; KRG ATGW claim.
- RaOC assumes control of Wasit; Russian deal cancelled and to be renegotiated; Additional T72s to be acquired; first M113s for 8th Division; 17th Division to be re-equipped in 2013.
- New Aviation Brigade formed?; ADC completes refurbishment of AAA.
- MoI ERB in Anbar.
The Kurdish Regional Government appears to be using the excuse of reacting to the Tigris Operational Command [Joint Corps] to form 2 Joint Operational Commands of their own. The southern OC may or may not be named the Hamrin Operational Command. Given the planned size of the reorganizing Kurdish Regional Guards and the Kurdish paramilitary Task Force Police, this was probably planned all along.
Kurdish sources claim to have more ATGWs than the Government of Iraq is aware of. While this is unconfirmed and probably exaggerated, the KRG probably does have more capability than the IA in this category since the IA’s only ground ATGW capability is the Barrier ATGWs purchased with the BTR4s which started delivering 1 year ago.
Wasit Province has officially been added to the new forming Rafidain Operational Command. This is the first confirmation of RaOC assuming an operational command of an area.
The Russian arms deal has been cancelled. Reporting has gone back and forth on this cancellation. What finally came out is that Iraq intends to renegotiate the deal for a better price and has changed the planned mix of equipment to be bought.
IMoD’s weekly magazine Khaima [21 November] included the following items:
- A training course for T72 tank drivers was opened for the 1-35/9 Battalion. All known T72s currently in the IA are accounted for in existing units not including the 1-35/9. This indicates additional T72s are to be acquired.
- 8th Mechanized Division received its first batch of M113 APCs.
- 17th Division’s commander was interviewed. He stated that 2012 to be the year of training and 2013 will be the year of equipping the forces of the 17th Division. No details provided as to what equipment was to be provided.
Army Aviation Brigade 32 was reported operating in support of FaOC. If this is not an error in reporting a new squadron, then this is the first AAC Brigade to be reported.
Khaima [21 November] also reported the Air Defense Command completing the refurbishment of 23mm and 57mm Anti-Aircraft Artillery. No numbers provided.
Ministry of Interior
"A force of the Rapid Intervention Regiment has found in Anbar today 7, Nov a cache of weapons and explosive devices east of Fallujah." This is the first report of a MoI Emergency Response Brigade or Battalion in Anbar vice provincial SWAT battalions.
Some of my early thoughts were published in rough form earlier. My estimate of Kurdish and Iraqi Forces is that neither side is really ready for a stand-up fight. But it may happen anyway for political reasons or as deployed forces maneuver for position. If it happens, don't be surprised if it doesn't work out as planned - for either side...
Of interest, the formation of the Tigris Operational Command and the claim of forming 2 Kurdish Operational Commands in response as justification for the confrontation is pure propaganda. Establishing corps-level commands has been ongoing since the Surge and both sides require these command elements whether they are fighting each other or not. They or something like them have been projected as planned for over 5 years. For a casus belli, this is really flimsy.
In 2003, the Kurds had a dominate position but, the US did not want a divided Iraq – policy was to rebuild Iraq to remain the natural geographical roadblock for Iran. This correlation of forces has not remained static. The Iraqi Army has re-grown to 14 divisions since then while the Peshmerga was already at peak strength in 2003 and has reduced to 10-11 division-equivalents since then for budget reasons. This didn’t matter as neither could push while foreign forces prevented operations. The withdraw of US forces last year was the first opportunity for Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government to consider the military option to settle the disputed territories.
One problem with all analysis is that both sides do not have experience in conventional war. The majority of both forces are too young to have participated in anything other than internal security. Nor have they had sufficient training in conventional war. Conventional war is not the same as COIN and neither side knows how their troops will react to high intensity conflict.
While the straight numbers of Kurdish and Iraqi forces indicate an Iraqi advantage – the basic numbers are not the whole story. While Kurdish forces can be concentrated in a confrontation with Iraq – Iraqi forces are still heavily tied down performing internal security. This is a Kurdish passing advantage as the Iraqi Federal Police is slowly taking over the lead in internal security, freeing up the Iraqi Army for other employment and training.
Iraqi Army Pros and Cons
Neither side is ready. What we are seeing from the IA is preparatory moves vice short-term conflict moves. It will be 1-2 years before the IA is ready. While neither side is currently ready, IA has more resources in the long run than KRG. The IA has effective numeric parity with the trained reorganized RGBs with its available force at this time.
That is not the full story – the IA only started training on combined arms a year ago. They are still short Artillery and will have coordination and supply issues due to lack of experience. This confrontation is not the same as counter-insurgency operations.
The IA also needs to train on new equipment. This is especially true of the 12th Division in Kirkuk – it may be politically dependable but, it is too green and only recently equipped with some armor. Only the IA 9th Armor Division is really ready for this type of fight - the rest are still shaking-down on new equipment and only started training in conventional combined arms during the last year.
While the 12th Division in Kirkuk is politically dependable - Using 12th IA Division as point is a mistake. This is the same former Strategic Infrastructure Battalions that had to be re-blued/re-greened. It is the youngest, least capable/professional div in the IA - which makes giving them armor unwise. Given the limited time, the 12th has had armor and the limited hand-me-down armor only received in the last 2 months – they are likely to be combat ineffective until they have completed a real training shakedown – probably a year.
There is a trust issue with several IA divisions in a confrontation with the KRG. Kurds serving in the IA tend to be concentrated in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Divisions – all in disputed zones. The IA needs to shift forces in the north that they cannot trust verses the KRG to southern locations, while shifting forces the GoI can trust against the KRG to replace them. That takes time.
The IA has only limited number of forces available because most of the Army is still needed for internal security - this will change with time. As the Federal Police expands and takes over internal security in various locations, the IA will have more forces freed up for training and for deployment - this is the delay. The FP is not expanding fast enough, but this will eventually allow the IA to concentrate.
The IA also need more training time on the new equipment and needs more heavy weapons. Primarily needs Artillery verses the KRG, Artillery is the biggest shortage. Most of the other systems that the IA is short of are not essential in a fight against the KRG.
Additional time to fully set up sustainment is needed for the IA. Sustainment is an issue for both forces.
While the IA/IqAF has the air power advantage – it is insufficient to be more than a localized advantage. Given more training time and additional deliveries [especially munitions] – this will change. These may be the reasons PM Maliki is talking a deal where IA and KRG forces are partnered in the disputed zones. Prime Minister Maliki is talking joint patrols in the disputed zone - Smart move. This buys time to shift and upgrade forces. Looks like a compromise but, has the effect of pinning [corseting] most of the Regional Guards Brigades to an equal force of IA. In any KRG/GoI conflict, this would reduce the KRG flexibility - thus allowing the IA to move additional forces in and defeat the KRG in detail. Also, it would draw most of the RGBs into more favorable terrain for the IA. Again, this needs time to set up.
PM Maliki appears to want to move hard but, the IA is not ready. The limited numbers of new equipment procured haven't had enough personnel training time to be effective combined arms formations. The IA is not ready yet. 1-2 years minimum to get truly functional trained, equipped, and sustainable with the new equipment.
Then there is the International fall-out. Iraq can ill afford the likely results of even a victorious war with the KRG. The reaction would probably include an international arms embargo against Iraq - Not to mention UN peacekeepers deciding the actual border. Since Iraq has no air defense and limited heavy weapons, such a result would keep Iraq weak and its government very shaky.
Kurdish Regional Guards Pros and Cons
While the KRG is still not ready, they are in better shape vis-a-vie the IA at this time than they will be in the future. Unlike the IA, almost all of the Kurdish forces are available for a conflict. 16 of a planned 20 Regional Guards Brigades have been re-organized and trained/equipped for conventional conflict. The 2 KRG mechanized Brigades and 2 SOF Brigades are already functional although the armor is obsolete. The Zerevani has reorganized into 2 divisions and received enough Carabinarie training to be effective. The I DBE Region [Division] is also Kurdish manned and significant elements of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th IA Divisions will probably join the KRG in a fight.
The RGBs are actually matching conventional training timelines with the IA - retraining/reorganizing as many RGBs as the IA in the same timeframe. 16 of 20 RGBs have been retrained and reorganized. 4 more are starting training but, this program only started a little more than a year ago. Most of the current generation of Peshmerga [like the IA] has little or no conventional combat experience. Their problem is they have a lower final end-strength and less access to heavy weapons. The IA will surpass them in 1-2 years.
The KRG has the advantage in logistics - interior shorter lines. Without more effective air strength than they have available - the IA/IqAF has no realistic way of neutralizing this KRGs advantage. But, to maintain it, the KRG needs Turkish or Iranian backing for any resupply when they run out of ammo.
Another problem is that the Kurds have not historically demonstrated an ability to fight in the plains. All the disputed areas are in the plains. They are an infantry force that has not been able to defeat Iraqi armor advantage in the past. However, the current IA does not have so much armor this time and the KRG has been reported acquiring ATGWs that might be sufficient to neutralize that advantage for now.
From the GoI’s position this is IA/GoI political and battlefield prep for the future – it will be 1-2 years minimum before the IA is ready for a real fight. Any fight before the IA is ready, could be very iffy for the GoI. If the fight starts this year - the KRG has a good chance of winning against the IA.
From the KRG’s standpoint, this may be the last opportunity to secure the disputed zone and try for independence. The Kurds have the current force advantage but, that will not last. The KRG's current problem is Iran and Turkey – neither wants an independent Kurdistan. Without their concurrence the KRG would be fighting a loosing battle.
Both sides are operating from a questionable military position as they cannot be sure of their forces...
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during October 2012. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 October 2012. Two speculative maps were published under “ISF Speculation.” The Russian and Czech arms purchases [and US M88s plus Serbian Artillery] were addressed separately in “Iraqi Arms Purchases October 2012”. These topics will not be addressed here. Air and Naval Bases have been added to the ISF OOB map.
Highlights in this update include:
- Further arms purchases and proposals; Joint US/Iraqi Training Exercise planned; TOC operational and adds Salahaddin; 8th Division re-designated mechanized; Elements of 17th Division still under BOC; Airmobile Brigade in 4th Division; 12th Division mechanizing?
- Second order of F16s signed; Sixth An-32 delivered; AS565 offered for AAC Maritime support; 3 C-130Js deliver this year – 3 more by May 2013; 4 possible AAC FOBs in western Anbar?; New AAC squadron identified; Avenger and I-Hawk donated to Iraq.
- Continued delays in Federal Police sustainment facility.
There were no new details released concerning the Russian Arms Deal but, there were other arms deals and potential deals mentioned in the later half of October:
- "Defence ministers also discussed possible delivery of new small arms from the Ceska Zbrojovka Uhersky Brod to Iraq and Czech offer to modernise T-72 tanks of Iraqi Armed Forces."
- "Iraqi representatives are also negotiating about establishing a service and training centre for gun servicing in Iraq, Skrabal said."
- An undetermined number of additional ILAVs. "BAE Systems Land and Armaments in York, PA receives a $73.8 million firm-fixed-price umbrella contract, which allows Foreign Military Sales clients to buy International Light Armored Vehicles. US Army TACOM has confirmed to use that this 1st order is from Iraq, Uganda, and Burundi. Work location will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of Sept. 27, 2015. "
- Six M1A1 tanks indicating further Iraqi acquisitions of M1A1s intended. "General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, MI receives a $9.5 million firm-fixed-price contract “for the services necessary to rebuild six M1A1 tanks in support of Foreign Military Sales.” US Army TACOM has confirmed to us that these are for Iraq." Of note, these are the first rebuilt M1A1s for Iraq and only the second time that used US M1A1s have been exported from US Army stocks – the first was 200 for Morocco. The US Army has approximately 2,000 older Abrams in storage that they cannot afford to rebuild/upgrade and is looking for ways to keep the refurbishment line open for the next 5 years. Apparently, the Pentagon has decided to donate older tanks with the recipients paying for the refurbishment and thus keeping the line operational.
- The SIGIR Oct 2012 Report mentioned an Iraqi Letter of Request for 30 Stryker CBRN vehicles and $40 million of 120mm tank ammo. Additionally, Iraq is inquiring into Bradley ICVs or Stryker APCs.
IMoD’s weekly Khaima Magazine [25 October] mentioned a planned joint US/Iraqi training exercise to be carried out at Besmaya. This is the second such joint exercise to be carried out since the withdrawal of US forces and more such exercises are planned for the future.
Khaima Magazine [10 October] officially called the 8th Division a Mechanized Infantry Division for the first time. This indicates that the division received enough M113s to be redesignated by the IA. There are no reports of tanks in the 8th.
Elements of 17th Division are still operating under Baghdad Operational Command. This division is shifting into Babil province under FaOC.
According to a CSIS report [pg70], the International Institute for Strategic Studies lists an IA Infantry Division as including an Airmobile Brigade in its 2012 issue. The division description fits 4th Division and a battalion of the 16/4 Brigade has been called a "paratroop bn."
12th Division is apparently gaining either a Tank Brigade or 2 Mechanized Brigades. Elements of 47/12 Brigade have been reported receiving T55 and Type 69 tanks [3rd Battalion]. 1-47/12 Battalion had a graduation parade at K1 where it was said they were trained on repairing tanks. A photo from another 12th Division Kirkuk parade included T72s and BMP1s. This means 12th has gotten at least 3 and up to 6 battalions of mech/armor: 1 T55/Type59, 1 T72, and 1-4 BMP1 Battalions. Either an Armor Brigade or 2 Mech Brigades depending on the number/distribution of BMP1s and tanks.
This also means that the armor left that 14th Division’s 50/14 and 53/14 Brigades could have been training on earlier this year is BTR4s as all other armor except the delivered/delivering BTR4s, EE9s, and BTR80s is accounted for. There are not enough EE9s and BTR80s to equip 2 brigades.
Iraq finally signed the contract for the second order of 18 F16s. The new contract is reported as identical to the first except that the deliveries are to be concluded in 2018. Iraq is also talking with U.S. officials about buying air defense systems and Apache helicopters. Initial F16 base was changed in late September to Balad vice Al Asad according to SIGIR.
The sixth An32 arrived in Iraq. There have been no reports of Iraq exercising the option for 4 more.
The head of the AAC met with a delegation from Eurocopter who are offering the AS565 helicopter to be operated by the AAC in support of the Iraqi Navy.
Deliveries of C-130Js start this year. Khaima Magazine [10 October] says that 3 are to deliver by end-year. Other sources provide planned dates of production as August 12 [test flew August 16], October 10, October 23, March 14 , May 22, and April 11. Delivery in Iraq to follow after acceptance.
The October 2012 SIGIR Report mentioned ongoing facilities enhancements for 7th Division at H3, Nukhaybe, Akashat, and Qasr Amij. Two of these sites are probable planned AAc helicopter forward operating bases, indicating that all 4 of these sites in western Anbar may be future AAC FOBs.
The 25 October Khaima Magazine mentioned a new Squadron with Mi-171s. AAC flew sorties to protect the buses taking pilgrims to the haj in Saudi Arabia. 85th Squadron based out of Basrah flew the armed sorties (picture of Mi171 over ministry of transport buses).
Additional items mentioned were:
- The Air Defense Command opened its technical training college.
- In addition to the F16s, GoI made a request for Apache Helicopters and Air Defence Systems including the Patriot.
- Iraq and the US's disagreements over the supply of air defense systems is because the US supplied Iraq with Hawk and Avenger systems, but these are obsolete and do not meet Iraq's true needs. Iraq rejected them initially, but the US donated the systems to Iraq for free and they were accepted.
- Iraq is developing its air defenses on a principle of buying the short range systems first followed by the medium and long range air defense systems. Iraq is now on its way to sign for the supply of two types of long range air defense systems.
- WRT to the US reaction to Iraq's Russian weapons purchases. IMoD said that the reaction to the purchases was by the media only and Iraq's relations with the US are not adversely affected by these contracts.
Ministry of Interior
The October 2012 SIGIR Report mentioned continuing delays in facilities for the Federal Police Sustainment Brigade.
I don’t normally provide an opinion on IMoD procurement policy in the monthly update. I’m making an exception this time.
The IMoD’s bottom-up practice of acquiring weapons is a legacy of how the ISF was first rebuilt. It made sense when they were building a counter-insurgency force as the operational forces are infantry centric and COIN is primarily small unit actions. This is not true when you are building a force for external defense – the priorities change. Tanks are not much use for COIN but essential to combined arms. APCs are very useful for COIN but truck mounted infantry can be used to support armor in combined arms. ATGWs are near useless for COIN but essential to each line battalion in external defense – especially given the amount of armor in the neighboring countries.
The problem is that IMoD is still building to the old COIN priorities and has not shifted to external defense despite claiming to. Bottom up development is the second worst way to upgrade to external defense – the worst is what happened in 2008-2009 during the budget crunch when little was changed. Iraq did not learn from the Unit Set Fielding program about fully equipping/upgrading entire brigades with all needed weapons. IA doesn’t need more APCs at this point – they need field artillery, ATGW, and tanks.
Same for Air Defense, building from the bottom up is the least efficient method from an IADS development, operational, and training perspective. Instead of 42 Pantsir-S1s, Iraq should have bought equal numbers of both Pantsir-S1 and S300s with supporting radars/AAA to build 4 fully functional Air Defense Battalions. Until you have all the components, you can’t train as a combined force. You are not functional until all components are available and trained on as combined arms.
The IMoD COIN Legacy-method of buying weapons is delaying full mission capabilities for external defense. Buying Division Sets of all needed systems and converting part of the force provides trained cadre and allows training in combined arms forces that become operational as they get the new equipment because they have already trained on it - Thus providing for training in parallel to acquisition vice after acquisition. Under the current procurement policies, the IA is adding years to its training and development. Of note, MoI is worse – at least 7-8 years behind the IA in development of the FP/DBE.
First reports are always wrong. The initial reports were of $4.2 billion in Russian arms buys with 42 Pantsir-S1 units and 30 Mi-28NE helicopters. That led to the following 3 possibilities:
- A big rip-off.
- More equipment being bought but not reported.
- Lower price than reported.
The $4.2 billion reported price tag comes from Russian press and was based on Iraq buying everything that was on the table – they didn’t. PM Maliki has denied Russian fighter buys: "we are buying defensive weapons only, air defence equipment and helicopters for anti-terrorist use, not sukhois or migs." There had been previous reports of negotiations for both fighter types. Iraq also rejected T90 tanks – apparently the reports of the Russian Army rejecting them, India’s issues with the fire-control system overheating, and a price tag higher than M1A1s convinced them to go elsewhere for tanks.
[Comment: There are no defensive or offensive weapons. Defense and offense are employment options for all weapons. That being said, the common perceptions are that armor is offensive.]
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. The Pantsir-S1 is a cheaper wheeled version of the SA19 which is a failure in its originally planned role as a regimental air defense system because of susceptibility to jamming. 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. This indicates that the Pantsir-S1s and additional electronics/radar systems are the first portion of an air defense system that includes SA20.
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. Based on the locations of the 4 known Iraqi Sector Operations Commands, existing air bases, and the gaps between those SOC locations – a projection of where these systems probably will be located can be made. It should be noted that only the 4 identified SOCs [Kirkuk, Taji, Al Asad, and Tallil] are high probability while the other 3 locations are estimates. [See map] Eventually, these battalions will probably expand into Air Defense Brigades. The IA Air Defense Command could be the fifteenth IA division repeatedly mentioned in Iraqi press given this rapid expansion and the 4 brigade initial structure.
[Note: Some countries use 4 firing units per battery vice 6. If that is the case, the other 3 batteries not illustrated on the map would probably be Basrah, Rutbah, and NAMAB.]
Likewise, at first glance, the $1 billion dollar price for the 28 Czech L159s appears excessive – especially since previous reports were that they were negotiating for used aircraft. However, only 4 of the L159s are used and to be delivered in 7 months as trainers. The additional 24 L159s are new-building two-seat L159BQ trainer/attack aircraft modified to Iraqi specifications to deliver 2014-2016. This Training/Lt Attack Squadron will probably be based at Tikrit.
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.
Iraq has ordered an additional 8 M88 armored recovery vehicles for the Iraqi Army through US FMS. This is the prime recovery vehicle for M1A1 [and similar western] tanks and is usually fielded at 2 per IA Tank Regiment [35 tanks]. While the IA has not reported to have exercised its option to buy 140 more M1A1s and has not been reported to buy any similar tanks [Korean K1?], this indicates a new tank buy is in the works.
Also mentioned in Al Sumeria news is a delivery of “artillery” from Serbia in the next 2 months. This is likely to be 120mm mortars but, could include Plamen Multiple Rocket Launchers that have been rumored to have been bought by Iraq for the last 2 years.
When reading press reports of arms buys, you should: always remember that the first reports are always inaccurate, the reporter is likely to leave out or not know key details, and that exaggeration of the price is the norm [especially in Russian press].
Related: Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle [Updated monthly]
The above graphics are update speculation to July’s ISF Total Force Mobilization. Some of it is already happening and some is RUMINT. Consider this to be an open forum for speculating on ISF future changes.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during September 2012. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 September 2012.
Two different OOB maps are provided and a survey of comments will decide which remains for future updates.
Changes have been made to pages 2-5 to list the Iraqi Army Divisions by current type vice planned. [Surprisingly, 75 percent chose Current type vice organizing by Operational Commands or regionally - The biggest gripe when I re-organized last year was that I was not organizing by corps/regional areas.]
- Page 2 Armor: Divisions with 2 or more Armor Brigades. 9th Armored Division.
- Page 3 Mechanized: Divisions with 2 or more Mechanized/Armored Brigades but, no more than 1 Armored Brigade. 5th, 7th, 8th, 10th, and 14th Mechanized Divisions.
- Page 4 Motorized: Divisions with 2 or more Motorized/Mechanized/Armored Brigades but, no more than 1 Armored or Mechanized Brigade. 2nd, 3rd, and 6th Motorized Divisions.
- Page 5 Infantry: Divisions with 3 or 4 Infantry Brigades. 1st, 4th, 11th, 12th, and 17th Infantry Divisions.
Highlights in this update include:
- KRG 6th Regional Guards Cavalry Brigade.
- TOC/RaOC not operational; 15 IA Divisions still claimed; 10th Division mechanized with M113s; Artillery update; Third BTR4 shipment planned for end-year; T72s finally go to 3-15/12 Tank Regiment.
- First IqAF C130J test flight; First Armed Bell 407s delivered; First 2 F16s scheduled for September 2014 delivery; Russian, Czech, and Korean aircraft buys rumored but not reported signed.
[A late entry from 19 July 2012 reporting on a new KRG brigade.]
"The 6th Cavalry Brigade is a result of the unification of Unit 70 of the Peshmerga Forces General Command (which was loyal to the PUK) and Unit 80 of the Revolutionary Army Command (loyal to the KDP). At the headquarters of the unified brigade in Chwarqurna, you would not be able to tell what Peshmerga was affiliated with Unit 70 or Unit 80 because they all wear the same uniform."
Cavalry normally means mounted troops. However, it is undetermined what mounts this Regional Guards Brigade uses – horses, trucks, or APCs? Horse mounted troops cannot be discounted given the terrain in that area.
While Tigris Operational Command and Rafidain Operational Commands may have been ordered formed, both areas are being covered by the IA Divisions when it comes to admin matters. This indicates that neither of these commands is actually operational.
Iraqi press reporting continues to claim there are 15 Iraqi Army Divisions yet there are no reports of what this additional Division is called. The only confirmed IA Divisions are the 1st-12th, 14th, and 17th.
The 10th Division was referred to as a "mechanized division” for the first time when its Commander opened a new communications center. In a follow up report, the 10th Division has received 459 M113 variants. Reportedly, 9 battalions of the 10th Division have been rotated through specialist training at Besmaya for the M113s and additional training will continue until the end of the year. This indicates an increased priority for 10th Division. If the M113 Family of Vehicles ratio is same as the overall mix in the 1,026 being provided [618 APCs out of 1,026], then 7 battalions of M113 APCs are in this division vice the previously indicated 3-4. The additional 2 battalions mentioned are probably cargo carrier variants for the Brigade Support Battalions or M1064 Mortar carriers for the Brigade Mortar Battalions. The 10th Division only has 1 Tank Regiment – it is still short 4 Tank Regiments [140 tanks]. This distribution also means that the “armor” training being received by the adjacent 14th Division is probably not on M113s since there are not enough M113s to go around.
IMoD’s Khaima Magazine provided an update on IA Artillery.
- The first 5 artillery Battalions [FARs] were formed in 2011 and spread over the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 11th, and 17th Divisions.
- A 122mm Artillery Rocket Battalion [BM21] is under the "Artillery Command".
- 2x 107mm Artillery Rocket Batteries [Type 63] were issued to 5th and 12th Divisions.
- 144 "US" artillery units were handed over to the operational combat units after completion of all their training. Also 112 Oshkosh artillery tractors were handed over to the operational units. The 2nd, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 12th, and 14th Divisions received those artillery pieces. A single artillery battalion of 3 batteries [6 guns each] per division.
- According to the article each brigade should have an artillery battalion of 3 batteries when arming is complete. [72 howitzers/MRLs per division.]
- 15 heavy artillery battalions in total are operational in the army, one of which remains with the "artillery command" and 14 for the 14 army divisions. [25 percent of planned for IA divisions.]
- 55 light artillery batteries were trained and equipped and spread over all the IA Brigades at the rate of 1 battery per brigade. [120mm Mortars, only 33 percent of planned for IA brigades.]
- An additional ~100 pieces of salvaged pieces will join the artillery units by next year [5-6 additional FARs].
Since it is known which divisional FARs are US 155mm  and that there are 15 total artillery Battalions [Regiments], which means salvaged FA is 7 FAR at 18 tubes each. 24 M109, 120 M198, 18 BM21M, 12 Type 63, and 96 other salvaged howitzers. [Salvaged howitzers estimated as 12 GHN45, 54 Type 83, 18 M46, and 12 D30 based on photos and Army Day parades.]
The second shipment of BTR4s has finally shipped. No explanation for delay. "Replying to the question about the dates of acceptance of the third batch of the BTR-4s, Vadim Kozhevnikov said that that shipment of 94 vehicles is planned to be carried out late in 2012." [I’ve heard that before.]
The 3-15/12 Tank Regiment finally got its hand-me-down T72s. Despite the hyperventilating press, this upgrade has been in the works for over 2 years.
"MARIETTA, Ga., Sept. 05, 2012 – The first of six C-130J Super Hercules for the Iraqi Air Force recently completed its first flight here. The Iraqi Air Force intends to use the C-130J for intra-theater support of its troops and humanitarian relief operations in various locations. These new transport aircraft will provide Iraq with the ability to operate seamlessly with U.S., NATO and coalition forces. The first C-130J for Iraq is scheduled for delivery later this year."
Despite political claims to the contrary:
"The network quoted Iraqi media government Air Force Commander, Gen. pilot Anwar Hama Amin, as saying that any delay in the schedule of the arrival of aircraft F-16 does not exist, though the rumors about it incorrectly. He added that the first installment, which includes two aircraft will arrive to Iraq in September/September 2014, and in accordance with the agreement signed between the two countries. The Secretary stated that the second installment, and includes 4 aircraft, will reach the end of March/March 2015, while access will be completed all contracted aircraft, and the 18 aircraft, by the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016."
Politicians, including PM Maliki have been repeatedly claiming a delivery starting in 2013 despite the contract specifying a 2014-2016 delivery as a way to distract from their own delays in purchasing these aircraft. When they don’t have the aircraft in 2013, they will claim it is the US’ fault and not their delays in contracting.
"Media sources quoted Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi, will visit Russia early next month to put the final touches to the military contracts valued at $ 5 billion. And the signing of these contracts will be during a visit to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to Moscow on the tenth of October next, noting that Maliki will meet in his senior Russian officials, and possibly file search Syrian crisis. The source indicated that «military contracts will include Sukhoi and MiG aircraft and helicopters Mi Russian in addition to military equipment."
Rumors and speculation are all over the place. What is clear is that the contracts are not yet signed. Most of the rumors also indicate a mix of SAMs, Fighters, Helicopters, and armor. There are also rumors of both Korean T50 and Czech L159 buys going through as well.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during August 2012. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 August 2012.
Highlights in this update include:
- IA/KRG confrontation remains political only.
- New Operational Command?; 2 new IA Divisions?; 1-16/4 Paratroop Battalion?; Divisions relocating from Baghdad?; Highlights from Khaima Magazine.
- No contract with the Russians.
"Peshmerga and Iraqi Army agree to withdraw all the forces from Zummar in Mosul."
The confrontation between the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish Regional Guards in the disputed zone has not lead to any actual fighting and has been more of a political propaganda dispute than anything.
"Security within South Central and South East regions will be boosted by the formation of the Rafidain Operations Command (RaOC) set for 20 August. Much like the Tigris and Mid-Euphrates Operations Commands, the RaOC will be another multi-operations command with responsibility for security in the provinces of Dhi Qar, Maysan, Muthanna and Wasit."
This is single source unconfirmed reporting. While it makes sense and fits with the pattern of consolidating the number of Operational Commands, there have been no reports of activity and no official announcements like there were for the Tigris OC and the Furat Awsat OC. If this command does form, then it is a strong indicator that at least 2 of the 3 indicated movements of IA Divisions to the south are to execute in the near future – why expand the number of corps-level commands unless you are going to have multiple divisions to command in those areas? Those three movements are 11th Division to Wasit, 7th Division to Maysan, and 17th Division to Babil.
The Tigris Operational command is to get 2 new IA Divisions for Kirkuk/Diyala. These Divisions are to work with 5th and 12th Divisions. Unless this is a mistake and they are FP, this sounds like the "mountainous force" mentioned in spring - 15th and 16th Mountain Divisions. The cadre was probably from Baghdad which would explain the reports of elements of 17th IA Division in Kirkuk. However, the mistranslation of 5th and 12th Divisions as “battalions” raises the question as to how large a force – are they divisions or something smaller?
Also, there was no mention of 4th Division in TOC which could mean they are being moved from TOC – possibly to New Al Muthanna AB [Baghdad] if the report of Paratroops in the 16/4 Brigade is correct. Airborne is a strategic reserve asset and should be located with the IqAF transport base.
The “Commander of the Army's 22nd Regiment, the 6th Division, and three of his soldiers killed and four other soldiers wounded in an armed clash on Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 28, with gunmen south of Tikrit. Military source told NINA that gunmen attacked a military checkpoint in Niba'e area, 50 km north of Baghdad, and that the clashes lasted for some time resulted in the killing of the regiment commander, who is at the rank of colonel, and three of his soldiers, as well as wounding four other soldiers."
The 22/6 Brigade was in 4th Division’s area. It is possible the 6th Division is relocating north from Baghdad. If that is the case, at least 6 IA Divisions are showing signs of relocation.
Some of the highlights from IMoD’s Khaima magazine included:
- The IA brought renovated 120 vehicles and 72 anti-aircraft guns.
- Armor Directorate celebrated the graduation of the second group from the advanced gunnery course "master gunner" modeled on the US-army "master-gunner" course. The course was undertaken on the M1A1SA tanks and 34 graduated the 6 month course.
- 6-37/9 Tank Regiment is still operating T72s. [6-37/9 is 1 of 3 M1A1 trained but not equipped battalions in the IA. Also, with the confirmation of T72s remaining in 37/9 Brigade, the only remaining unidentified IA brigade with tanks is the T72 Regiment in 10th Division.]
- The 35/9 Brigade overhauled and brought back into service the R123 communications equipment for the MTLB, as well as rebuilding the auto loading system for the T72 tanks to improve their operation and reliability. [It is odd that 35/9 was working on MTLB equip – 34/9 had the MTLBs. Preparing them for transfer to another unit? The denied Bulgarian deal for 500 MTLBs may still be on.]
While IMoD was in Russia shopping for Air Defense equipment – no contracts announced and the hype from the Russian side has dried up, which indicates no Russian deal.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during July 2012. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 July 2012. The July 2012 update was separately updated to reflect the GoI denial of Bulgarian/Polish arms deals. The “ISF Total Force Mobilization Update July 2012” was published reflecting the apparent changes in the command structure and planned force composition. These articles will not be addressed here.
Highlights in this update include:
- Claims of KRG arms deals by unknown officials; Rumors of UH-1s or AH-64s for the KRG not supported – US Consulate Aviation assets from Kirkuk relocating to Irbil with close of Kirkuk.
- Possible Russian deal, 15 IA Divisions?; One Avenger Battery for IA; Howitzer update; counter-battery radar possible sale; Consolidating operational commands; IA deployment to Syrian border results in face off with KRG troops.
- Recon pods for IqAF F16s; An-32 delivery.
- Al Basrah delivering to IqN.
- First report of Samarra 4th Emergency Battalion.
While Iraqi officials keep claiming major arms deals [including “heavy weapons”] by the KRG, no real details or officials willing to be named have appeared. These anonymous officials also do not explain how delivery of heavy weapons is to be made – It is unlikely that Iran, Turkey, Syria or Iraq would allow tanks to be delivered to the KRG through their territory. Infantry weapons and other lighter systems could be flown in.
Despite claims of UH-1s and Apache helicopters being sold or provided to the KRG by the US Government – no such deal has occurred. All the recent photos and video provided to support those claims have been of aircraft in US State Department colors and markings – part of the US Consulate Irbil. The increase in US aviation assets in Irbil is a result of the ongoing closure of the US Kirkuk Facilities and the relocation of those US aircraft to Irbil. Under US Law, any military sale to the KRG would require US Congressional notification in advance. Civil aircraft [unarmed] could be sold to the KRG without that notice.
While the Government of Iraq denies arms deals with Bulgaria or Poland, it does reference Russian negotiations. The claims so far are of air defense equipment in negotiation – however, there are no actual contracts. The Iraqi Government had been reported allocating additional funds for air defense but, no details on what was to be bought. This is touted as the largest Russian-Iraqi arms deal in 30 years. That would not be difficult since it would be the first legal Iraqi direct purchase of Russian arms since the collapse of the Soviet Union. [The Mi-17/171s were bought through US FMS.] Also of note are the repeated mentions of 15 IA Divisions. There have been no new IA Divisions announced. The possibilities include redesignating/expanding ISOF, the Presidential Brigades, the IqM, or forming a new force [not to mention repeated errors in press reporting]. Known IA Divisions are 1st through 12th, 14th, and 17th.
The July 2012 SIGIR Report was released and noted [pg 58]: 8 Avenger Air Defense Systems with associated Radar, 6 M1A1, and 8 M88A2 turning over. One Short-Range Air Defense Battery does not significantly add to the IA air defense – probably just a test battery to decide on future buys. The M1A1/M88A2s are probably finishing up the tank and support vehicle deliveries.
IMoD’s Khaima magazine included a report on salvaged IA artillery and new received howitzers [in Arabic]. 40 Type 83s noted in one picture. 4 courses have been trained on the M109 and M198 projects, and in addition to the US supplied units some have been refurbished from Taji stocks. The 6th Division [due to their proximity] has been in close cooperation with the Artillery school on training and support for field artillery. There are also indications that 12th Division has formed a Field Artillery Regiment. Total numbers and types of functional howitzers in the IA are unknown.
"The Government of Iraq has requested a possible sale of 6 AN/TPQ-36(V)11 FIREFINDER Radar Systems, 6 AN/TPQ-37(V)9 FIREFINDER Radars, 3 Meteorological Measuring Sets, 86 AN/VRC-92 export variant Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems, 12 Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems, 3 Improved Position and Azimuth Determining Systems, 63 M1152A1 and 3 M1151A1 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, 12 M1083A1 Family of Medium Tactical Utility Vehicles, ..." This is the start of establishing an effective counter-battery capability for IA’s artillery forces but only represents counter battery radars for 2 Field Artillery Regiments and a training set.
The ISF is consolidating or re-subordinating the Joint Operational commands by consolidating Samarra OC, Kirkuk OC, and Diyala OC into Tigris Operational Command just as Wasit OC and Karbala OC were consolidated into Furat Awsat OC. This appears to be reducing to the de facto IA peacetime Corps commands. In wartime these would be Army-level commands. Of note, the same IA General that commanded 12th Division when it had its problems with the KRG is assuming command of Tigris OC.
Elements of 38/10 Brigade were ordered to the Syrian border for dealing with the refugee problem only to get a battalion into a confrontation with the KRG in the disputed areas. 1-38/10 Motorized and 2-38/10 Motorized Battalions [DZIK3s] were split between Qaim/Ba'aj and Sinjar, while 1-36/9 Armor Regiment [M1A1] was sent to Qaim. A face off developed between a 38/10 Battalion and the Kurdish 8th Regional Guards Brigade that was already there. [Reporting is contradictory as to which IA motorized battalion was involved – most claim 2-38/10.] An unconfirmed report indicates that elements of 37/9 Mechanized Brigade, an Armor Battalion of 6/2 Brigade, and the 104th Field Artillery Regiment were to reinforce the IA. There was also mention of possible KRG movements in Diyala, HOWEVER, there have been no confirmations of those claimed movements or any reported shooting. Most of the fight appears to be in political press releases at this point with claims and counter-claims.
Iraq is apparently buying 4 DB-110 reconnaissance pods for its F16s. Also a second F16 contract has been awarded for 18 F16s bringing the total to 36. The second contract is to be complete by 30 May 2018.
"The U.S. Navy accepted delivery of the future Al Basrah (OSV 401), the first of two 60-meter offshore support vessels procured on behalf of the Iraqi navy, from prime contractor RiverHawk Fast Sea Frames LLC of Tampa, Fla., July 16." Factoring in delivery time to Iraq, this vessel will probably transfer to IqN in September.
Ministry of Interior
The 4th Regiment [Bn] of Emergency Police at Samarra was mentioned. This is the first mention of a 4th Emergency Battalion there and one of the few mentions of unit IDs in the press over the last year. The Federal Police and ISOF websites are down and the ISF does not normally announce unit IDs since the 2009 gag-order. This month has had an unusual number of units identified in press reporting.
This is an update to the December 2011 Article. The major change is that the consolidation of Operational Commands point toward 11 total ISF Corps in Wartime [10 Frontal/1 Reserve] and the 4 developing IA Peacetime Corps being the basis of the Wartime Army structure. Diyala, Samarra, and Kirkuk Operational Commands are consolidating into the Tigris Command. Karbala, Wasit, and Mid-Euphrates Operational Command have consolidated into the Furat Awsat Command. Instead of expanding commands at the corps/army level, the ISF appears to be reducing them to a peacetime IA Corps structure. Additionally, Kurdish elements are not being integrated – instead the KRG is building its own 2 corps army structure. [ISF planned Wartime Structure appears to reflect late Iran-Iraq War Corps/Army Structure with fewer Divisions per corps.]
Forward defense is Iraq’s only real option. Too many key areas are close to the Iranian border. However, Iraq does not currently have the force to successfully defend Iraq against a conventional invasion. The ISF is trained and equipped for internal security – not external. Iraq is fair game to any and all of its neighbors with the USF-I withdraw. Any neighbor invading could occupy Iraq in less than 2 weeks at this point.
As depicted on the map, the forward defense planned by the Iraqi Security Forces utilizes the Total Mobilization Concept. The Department of Border Enforcement provides the forward screen with a mix of Iraqi Army, Iraqi Federal Police, Emergency Police, and Kurdish Regional Guards providing the primary infantry line. The Iraqi Army plans to add significant armor to its force so that it’s mechanized and armor divisions can operate as corps/army reserve to react to any enemy breakthrough. Supporting those heavy divisions will be the limited Army Aviation working with the Iraqi Special Operations Force brigades as part of the Army-level quick reaction forces.
However, all of these forces are not ready for external defense. They would be only a speed-bump to the Iranian forces at this point. To put it into perspective, the 3-phase Iraqi Ministry of Defense plan is:
- Tactical Independence (2006-2010) – Internal security, effectively done.
- Operational Independence (2011-2015) – Will not meet the schedule. IA needs to be out of internal security operations by then and the FP probably will not be ready to take over in time. Also, the FP needs to train and equip for its secondary role as infantry in external defense.
- Strategic Independence (2016-2020) – Will not meet the schedule. This requires a functional and credible air defense, at least 6 heavy IA divisions, and the FP trained/equipped for its secondary role of external security. The first fighter squadron will not be operational until 2016-2017 and Iraq needs a minimum of 5 squadrons to provide a minimum air defense. Iraqi officers are talking 2024-2027 for completion of this plan.
Each of the services are at differing points in the development time-line, almost none of them are really on schedule.
The Iraqi Army is in early Phase 2 with the armor and artillery programs behind schedule. The Iraqi Army is still re-equipping and training the 9th Armored Division for external defense, and has started to mechanize and provide howitzers to other divisions.
The IA has only 14 divisions and 1 security division equivalent [Presidental]. Only 1 armored division exists as a Mech Division and that is in M1A1/M113/BTR4 conversion training [9th Armor Division]. The new M113s and the BTR4s only started to arrive in late summer of 2011. The 9th Armored Division upgrade is priority followed by the mechanization of 5th and 7th Divisions and partial upgrades of 7 other divisions.
While the 155mm howitzers have been delivered, they are only 144 total. The IA is distributing them among 3 divisions [3rd, 5th, and 9th] which indicate a planned 48 howitzers per division with 24 Multiple Rocket Launchers [each division] to fill out the field artillery. Iraq is also refurbishing salvaged howitzers but numbers are unclear. It is estimated that they have salvaged or received enough howitzers and MRLs to field:
- 1x FAR M109s,
- 5x FAR M198s,
- 1x FAR GHN45s,
- 3x FAR Type83s,
- 1x FAR M46,
- 1x FAR D30, and
- 1x FAR BM21.
3 Field Artillery Regiments (FAR) per Division are required which means they have ~13 of 42 FARs needed - however some may be non-operational, only D30, M109, M198, and BM21 have been seen actually firing. The salvaged howitzers are questionable – US surveys of the salvage yards in 2008 wrote them off.
The 14 current IA divisions are planned to be 11 heavy [probably 3 Armor/8 Mech] and 3-6 infantry [3 current-hints of 2-3 more, 1 Marine/1-2 Mountain], plus the Presidential Security Division-equivalent. The 14-15 Independent Security Battalions for the Council of Representatives transferred to the Ministry of Interior. Most divisions are missing their howitzers and some of their other necessary support components. The planned armor and mechanized upgrades will not be completed by 2020. Too much of the budget is needed for air defense to fully upgrade more than 6 divisions to mechanized/armor. There have been no new tank purchases or deliveries. Based on 3 armored and 8 mech divisions, the IA requires almost 2,200 tanks and currently has less than 350. Iraq does not have anywhere near enough tanks for the 11 divisions currently upgrading.
While there have been suggestions of Russian/Chinese arms negotiations – there are no actual contracts. This has been the norm since 2005 – rumors only.
Iraqi Air Force
The Iraqi Air Force is in late-Phase 1 and will not be starting Phase 2 until it starts to field an air defense with teeth.
The first fighters are not contracted to start to deliver until 2014. A minimum of 5 fighter squadrons are necessary for Iraqi air defense – preferably 8-10. Given delivery and training time, the minimum needed 5 squadrons could be operational by 2022 – barring any further delays. This also requires further development of the base support structure. Iraq has settled on F16C/D Block 52 for its primary fighter and is looking at armed jet trainers for light attack.
To date, no SAM-based air defense has been ordered. The earliest SAMs could be added is 2013-2014 and sufficient numbers/training/support would push their effective operational date to 2017-2020. Mention of Avenger Air Defense System and I-Hawk has been made but, no contracts have been awarded.
While there have been suggestions of Russian/Chinese arms negotiations – there are no actual contracts. Other than Mi-17/171s, bought through the US FMS, no Russian or Chinese aircraft have been actually bought. This has been the norm since 2005 – rumors only.
Iraqi Navy and Marines
The Iraqi Navy and Marines are in Phase 2 but, that in more a factor of their limited objectives. The Marines still need to expand to a division-sized force to cover the expanding Al Faw ports and the Navy needs missile boats and coastal defense missiles. The existing force is gun armed.
Iraqi Special Operations Force/Emergency Response Force
ISOF is in Phase 2 but, the expansion to 5 brigades is slow and facing delays. The ERF is in Phase 1 and facing similar problems to ISOF. Screening, training and expanding by taking in the best 50 percent of the province SWAT forces is not a fast program.
The Iraqi Special Operations Force and the Emergency Response Force are a division-equivalents in size but, mostly dispersed in battalion-sized detachments. Both forces are expanding slowly to a probably planned 5 ISOF and ~16 ERF brigades. This will be a slow expansion, probably not complete until 2019-2022. In wartime these forces would be assigned to corps [1-2 ERBs each] or army [1 ISOF Bde each] headquarters as airmobile quick reaction forces and reconnaissance forces. ISOF may add or relocate a brigade to Diwaniyah based on the consolidation of Operational Commands – FAOC is the only OC without an ISOF base and ISOF planned to base elements there in 2008.
The Federal Police is in early to mid-Phase 1. The FP is supposed to be in the process of forming its 5th Division out of part of the provincial emergency police and was to form a 6th Division out of part of the 30,000 Kurdish Zerevani that were transferring to the Iraqi MoI. Neither has happened and the Zerevani are now reorganizing into 2 KRG subordinate division-equivalents. Until the FP finishes this “Nationalization” program, they will not be training or equipping for their secondary external security role [Phase 2] as infantry.
4 of 12-14 planned FP Divisions exist at this time. These ~13 divisions are planned to be 1 Light Mech, 11-12 [truck] Motorized Infantry, and 1 Security Division. These new divisions are being formed by transferring, retraining, and re-equipping existing Province Paramilitary forces. This will probably not be done until after 2017, after which training on their secondary external defense role will commence. Budget and procurement delays plus politics continue to plague this “Nationalization” program.
Department of Border Enforcement
The DBE is also in Phase 1. They are short 5 brigades in strength and the DBE has few mobile units – they are based on fixed border fortifications. There are indications of 2 new brigades being formed but, no confirmation. This makes its function as a forward screen a very short-lived one in event of an attack. They are also missing field artillery and mortars. The 5 existing under strength DBE Divisions are mostly static forces tied to their border “forts”.
Ministry of Interior Aviation
Ministry of Interior Aviation is in Phase 0. They are still trying to order their first aircraft. The KRG is further along in this than the Iraqi MoI.
Oil Police Directorate
OPD is in early Phase 1. At this point the OPD is 4 under strength Oil Police division-equivalents. For now, these are static forces; however, there are reports of vehicles and training that could convert them into a more capable mobile force. However, the loss of NTM-I Caribinieri training with NATO’s withdraw will hurt their development. Due to the importance of guarding the oil infrastructure – these forces are unlikely to be used in external security. They will be rear-area security releasing the IA from securing the all-important oil infrastructure.
Facilities Protection Service
The Facilities Protection Force is at Phase 0.5 – they probably will never be more than “rent-a-cops” at best. The 3 forming Facilities Police divisions are low capability static security and unlikely to be used in external security.
Kurdish Regional Guards
The Kurdish Regional Guards are Phase 2 but, have lost their US trainers with the USF-I withdraw. The Kurds were going to provide 30,000 Zerevani to Iraqi MoI for 2 FP Divisions and 30,000 to the IA to be formed into 2 Mountain Divisions while retaining 70,000 for 21 KRG Brigades and support. Political disputes have cancelled those transfers and the KRG is retaining those elements.
In addition to the 2 Zerevani [Paramilitary Police] Divisions and I “Iraqi” DBE Region [Division], there are 24 Regional Guards Brigades [2 SOF/2 Mech/20 Infantry] being reorganized on standard IA structure plus a reserve of 8 more brigades [30,000] planned. 8 of these mountain infantry brigades are considered operational and 4 more are completing training. The 24 planned Regional Guards Brigades are being formed by combining PUK and KDP smaller sized “brigades” and forming more conventional standard sized brigades. KRG forces are restricted to Kurdish areas unless the Kurdish Regional Government agrees to their deployment. Total forces in the Kurdish Regional Guard are planned to be 6 active/2 reserve division equivalents with only 2 properly trained/equipped at this point plus the 2 Zerevani Divisions. Of note, the KRG has the only Reserve program in Iraq and appear to be forming a de facto Aviation Brigade.
The ISF is developing but, budget issues and politics has delayed many key components. The planned schedules have slid to 2017 for Phase 2 [Operational Independence] and 2024-2027 for Phase 3 [Strategic Independence]. Air defense is still the major issue and the price-tag associated with air defense will impact any plans for other purchases. Without the essential air defense, everything else is just targets…
This is a correction. The April 2012 PDF “Iraqi Army Upgrade Status chart” located on the ISF OOB Page is still the most up-to-date listing of units upgrading based on open sources.
The July 2012 ISF OOB monthly update reported on a Bulgarian sale of 500 refurbished MTLB “Armored Vehicles”. These reports were published in European Press in late-May/early-June. Requests for information were sent to the Iraqi/Bulgarian MoDs and Terem in early June – no responses were received.
On 2 July, the monthly update was published with speculation as to the intended use of these MTLBs.
On 5 July, a denial of any new Bulgarian/Polish arms deals by the Government of Iraq was published in Al Sumerian News but, no correction or report of denials have been found in any English Language news source to date.
Of note, the denial inferred that a Russian deal was in negotiation - No details provided.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during June 2012. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 June 2012. Highlights in this update include:
- 20 Peshmerga Infantry Brigades planned in 2016.
- IA Corps forming?; 500 used MTLB “Armored Vehicles” being bought from Bulgaria; Second Batch of BTR4s accepted; Vehicles and artillery salvaged.
- Radars for first 18 F16 ordered to be delivered by March 2015; AT-6Bs still possible and Air Defense Command split from IqAF; 10th batch of EC635s received; IA Air Defense Command.
- Iraqi Navy opened new facility.
- DBE III Region expanding?; New police brigade for Salahadin?; MoI does not have paratroops.
"The unification process for the Ministry of Peshmerga began late, in 2010. Today, the Ministry in Erbil serves as the single headquarters for the newly reorganized Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Region. There are currently 12 unified infantry battalions [Brigades], each with approximately 3,000 Peshmerga fighters, as well as special forces battalions [2 Brigades], heavy weapons battalions [2 Mech Brigades], headquarters and Ministry staff, and other support units, for a total force of approximately 120,000 soldiers. The goal of the Ministry over the next five years is to grow the number of infantry battalions [Brigades] from 12 to 20, with a total of 90,000 active duty soldiers and 30,000 reserve forces. Significant political, financial, and resource issues remain in the way of this goal, however."
The existing field artillery [4 Brigades] will probably be distributed among the Infantry Brigades as Brigade Artillery Battalions. The planned Peshmerga [Kurdish Regional Guards] force is equivalent to 4-5 Mountain Divisions and 2 Reserve Divisions although the reserve would likely be employed as replacement troops for the active force.
The Mid Euphrates Operational Command is now listed as "Furat Awsat Operation Forces Command." Its described area encompasses what also included the Karbala Operational Command and the Wasit Operational Command. With the reported moves of IA’s 11th Division to Wasit and 17th Division to Babil this will become a de facto IA Corps command. The consolidation of commands could be the start of organizing the IA into 4 Corps and an IGFC Reserve if the existing Diyala, Samara, and Kirkuk Operational Commands are also consolidated and 7th Division moves as expected. Anbar OC has already been referred to as a Police Command.
- NiOC [Western Corps]: 1st, 2nd [heavy-?], & 3rd [heavy-?] Divisions.
- DOC [Eastern Corps]: 4th, 5th Mech, & 12th [heavy-Armor?] Divisions.
- FAOC [Central]: 8th [heavy-Armor?], 11th [heavy-Mech?], & 17th Divisions.
- BaOC [South]: 7th Mech, 10th [heavy-Armor?], 14th [heavy-Mech?] Divisions.
- BOC [IGFC Reserve]: 6th [heavy-Mech?] & 9th Armored Divisions.
In a wartime mobilization, each of the 4 Corps and Reserve would be joined by Ministry of Interior Paramilitary Motorized Infantry Divisions forming a total of 9 Corps.
The Kurdish Regional Guards is also a Wartime Reserve and would form 2 Corps from the KRG, Zerevani and DBE Region I.
The IA is buying 500 MTLB “Armored Vehicles”. This would be enough for 12 battalions of mech infantry if they are all Armored Personnel Carriers but all the direct quotes say “Armored Vehicles”. A report from a Russian source known for its errors claims they are Armored Personnel Carriers and that:
“The full scope of the upgrade was not unveiled but it is known that rubberized tracks will be installed as well as system designed by Bulgarian Politechnika firm which includes air-conditioner with auxiliary power unit that ensures comfort conditions for the crew in hot climate over a long period of time without giving additional load for the vehicle's main engine."
The price being quoted is about twice the cost of a used MTLB APC and the addition of AC/APU indicates a specialist role(s) for the “Armored Vehicles”. Air conditioning is not a normal addition for “crew comfort” – it is a necessity for electronics such as radios, radars, sensors, fire control systems, etc and is also required for medical supply storage.
It is possible that the IA has decided that the reconnaissance [Commando] elements for their tracked forces needs to be tracked and is buying a mix of variants like the BTR4 purchase – this would be enough “Armored Vehicles” to equip 3 Division’s worth of Commandos [Cavalry/Recon] and provide the missing command/ambulance vehicles for the BMP1/T55/T72 Battalions.
Alternatively these could be intended for the IA’s Air Defense Command – command, radar, and gun or SAM equipped vehicles.
There are more possibilities and they are not mutually exclusive, it could be a mix. The MTLB design lends itself to multiple roles; it started as an artillery tractor. Of note, the IA already has more than 4 times as many tracked APCs as tanks and almost as many wheeled APCs as tracked. Unless they are replacing some/all of the wheeled APCs [~1,100 Otocar/DZIK3] and giving them to MoI – they do not need more APCs, they need tanks, artillery, ATGWs, and an air defense.
IMoD did accept the second batch of BTR4 variants. No reporting as to the numeric mix of types or when the next consignment will be ready.
Iraqi Army announced the refurbishment of 230 "vehicles" and 100 artillery pieces (including medium and mortars) from old stocks, and shown off for the first time in Baghdad. No details as to how many of what types was provided, however there appeared to be G45 155mm towed howitzers on display.
A published interview with the IqAF commander regarding future developments was in the last Bilady. Apparently the IqAF is still interested in AT-6B for light attack, the Air Defense Command was spun-off from the IqAF in the last two years along with the Army Aviation Command, and C130Js will arrive in 2012 and join 23rd Squadron.
The tenth batch of EC635s has been received. These helicopters have been delivered in pairs indicating 20 of the 24 ordered have been delivered. There is an option for 50 total.
Video of the new IA Air Defense Command showed/mentioned the existing operational Sector Operations Centers at Taji/Nasariyah and training of the first battalion of light anti-aircraft guns at Besmaya. Each line [combat] battalion of the IA will require a section of 4-6 of these guns. Limited reporting indicates Avenger ADA system is eventually intended for the Brigades’ ADA Companies and I-Hawk for the Divisional ADA Battalions.
The Iraqi Navy and Marine Corps has opened a facility at Khor al Zubair. No details as to what based there.
Ministry of Interior
"1019 policemen have been graduated and will join the border guards in Wassit." This is 2 battalions worth of border guards in a province last reported to have only 1 DBE Brigade. Either they were seriously undermanned or DBE III Region [Diyala/Wasit] is expanding. Possibly a new brigade is being added.
Ministry of "Interior Hires (2102) Security Personnel in Saladin". Either a new Brigade is forming or replacements/augments are being added to Salahadin Province.
There is a mistranslated report of MoI Paratroops. MoI does not have airborne. They meant "paramilitary" as in Emergency Police or Federal Police.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during May 2012. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 May 2012. Highlights in this update include:
- 6th FP Division cancelled? Zeravani returning to KRG command.
- Avenger Air Defense for Iraq; Second batch of BTR4s delivering.
- Only 18 F16s ordered so far; Fifth An-32 delivered.
- Baghdad transitioning to Federal Police in July; Anbar PSF becoming FP Division?
It appears that the absorption of the Zeravani into Iraqi Ministry of Interior has been reversed and 6th FP Division cancelled. "Police, Zeravani forces and the ministry forces will be called Kurdistan region’s “Rapid Reaction Forces” that directly would be under the command of the KRG Interior Ministry." Additional reporting indicates the force is being reorganized into 2 division sized forces under the KRG. "After the unification, the two forces merged and became the Task Force Police of the Kurdistan Region and divided into first and second command in Erbil and Sulaimani. They now have one uniform, the same salary scales and receive directives from the Ministry of Interior. Even their promotions are decided by the Ministry of Interior. After two months, these two commands will be completely unified." Apparently, the same political issues that cancelled the formation of the IA’s 15th and 16th Mountain Divisions has now reversed the official absorption of the Zeravani into the ISF. [Note: Listing the commands under provincial Emergency Police in the OOB for now.]
The April 2012 SIGIR Quarterly Report mentioned the Avenger Air Defense System under US Foreign Military Sales as an active program [pg 58] but provided no further details. Avenger is modular - depending on components ordered, the system could fire a variety of weapons other than the basic Stinger/.50 cal mix including Javalin, Hellfire, 70mm rockets, etc and could be mounted on any number of vehicles including HMMWV, M113, M548, etc. There have been no further reports or official comments providing additional details on this program.
While most press continue to talk about Iraq ordering 36 F16s, only 18 have actually been funded/ordered. "In addition to an initial purchase of 18 F-16 aircraft in September 2011, during the meetings the Government of Iraq reconfirmed its interest in purchasing a second set of 18 F-16s and the United States reconfirmed its commitment to the sale.”
The fifth of six ordered An-32s was delivered to the 23rd Squadron. The last is to deliver in June. "The first two An-32 aircraft were sent to Iraq in November and December 2011. Two more planes were delivered to Iraq in April 2012. A sixth plane is to be delivered to the customer in June 2012."
Ministry of Interior
The Iraqi Interior Ministry is starting to take over the lead in Baghdad in July. Elements of Iraqi Army’s 9th, 11th, and 17th Divisions have been previously reported relocating outside of the city of Baghdad into Taji and Babil/Wasit provinces. "Army will hand over several posts to the federal police in the coming stage." "Army forces will take other posts outside cities and near to border regions." This is the first step in the plan to turn over the cities to MoI by the end of summer however; this plan has been delayed repeatedly in the past. There are indications of additional relocations pointing to Basrah as the next major city to turn over to the FP.
For the first time the Anbar Provincial Security Force has been called the "Anbar Police Rapid Reaction Division". This probably means the Anbar Emergency Police Forces are being reorganized/retrained/re-equipped into the 5th Federal Police Division that was to form in 2011.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during April 2012. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 April 2012. Highlights in this update include:
- Romanian arms blacklisted; Second Batch of BTR4s ready for delivery while rumors continue of contract cancelation; 50/14 and 53/14 Brigades upgrading to Mech/Armor; Iraqi Army Upgrade Status Chart added.
- EC120Bs for KRG Police/SAR; Contract awarded for support of 30 Bell 407s; third AN-32B delivered; F16 training at Al Asad; 24 F16s by end 2014?; Iraq to join GCC to provide Air Defense?
According to Iraqi press reporting, the Parliamentary Defense and Security Committee has blacklisted Romanian arms manufacturers as a result of the last visit by a defense delegation to Romania. They concluded that Romanian arms do not meet Iraqi standards.
At the same time as Al Sumaria News was reporting rumors of the BTR4 order being cancelled. the Ukrainians announced a second batch of 62 BTR4s ready for delivery. This brings the total to 88 BTR4-varients delivered/delivering to date out of an order of 420.
According to a commenter’s e-mail describing a conversation with an IA soldier.
“Elements of the 50th and 53rd [Brigades] went to Taji and are changing to mech or armored - "probably Armored". 9th Div’s U/I Bde in Basrah is to move out.”
This is unconfirmed and the first report of elements of the 14th Division’s 50/14 and 53/14 Brigades upgrading to armor or mechanized.
An Iraqi Army Upgrade Status chart is published on the OOB page to facilitate identification of units upgrading to mechanized, armored, or motorized. This also aids in identifying missing components at battalion level.
[I was considering writing a separate article for the chart but, there is not enough new information being released to justify an article. The ISF news blackout has been getting even stronger since the US withdrew.
According to DSCA’s EDA Bulletin Board, Iraq received no US Excess Defense Articles in FY2011, yet used equipment was transferred to the IA during that period.
Press reporting with Iraqi unit IDs is getting very rare.
What is apparent is that there are more units training on armor/mechanized equipment than there is equipment reported to be ordered.
E.G. The number of M113s reported being delivered would only equip the 9th Division and 1 battalion-equivalent per each of the brigades reported training on these APCs. While there have been no reported new orders/deliveries of tanks, howitzers, or MRLs to go with the existing APC orders.]
According to a commenter identified as “KRG Pilot” on the visitors comments [04/09/2012 10:48:16]:
“Very nice blog. i like how accurate it is. its true that KRG have bought 11 helicopters. But yet ive only seen 3 of them(and flew 1),and they were all EC120B.But it could be true that some of them are jetrangers. We (kurds) have been training for these choppers since 2008.”
This is the first report that the helicopters delivered to the Kurdish Regional Government for Traffic control and SAR are EC120Bs vice previous mention of Jet Rangers.
A contract providing for the procurement of contractor logistics support for 30 Bell 407 helicopters has been awarded. The Iraqi AAC is to receive those aircraft by the end of 2012. These helicopters are to fill the Scout Helicopter role in the AAC while EC635s fill the attack role and Mi-17 variants fill the transport function.
Contractor training of F16 pilots is to be performed at Al Asad Airbase. This makes four bases identified as planned to operate F16s: Al Asad, Balad Q-west, and Tallil.
According to press reporting quoting a member of the Parliament commission, the first 24 of 36 F16s is to be in Iraq during 2014. They are to be organized into 2 squadrons of only 12 fighters each [normal is 16-18]. There have only been actual contracts announced so far for 6 F16Ds and 12 F16Cs. The Parliament commission has been wildly wrong in past statements to the press. To quote a regular Iraqi commenter: “I wouldn't take a single word from the "parliament commission" seriously. They seem to be living in a parallel universe.”
There is also talk of Iraq joining the Gulf Community Council, partially to provide an air defense for Iraq until they can build their own. The GCC is an alliance of 6 nations in the Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, and Oman. If this was to happen, it would be the first actual alliance that Iraq had joined since the fall of Saddam.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during March 2012. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 March 2012. Highlights in this update include:
- 10 battalions shifted to Baghdad for AL Summit; Rumors of BTR4 cancellation continue.
- Aviation contracts to announce in April, L159s still in contention.
- OSVs identified, 9 PBs delivered with 12th to deliver in May.
- Rumors of increased control of Basrah security by Baghdad.
During March the Iraqi Army shifted 6 battalions and the Federal Police shifted 4 battalions to reinforce security in Baghdad for the Arab League Summit. OPSEC has been tight and no units IDs were reported in open sources.
There continues to be rumors of a cancellation of the BTR4 contract due to technical problems with the vehicles. No official statements have been made by Iraqi or Ukrainian sources.
Iraqi Air Force
The probable purchase of 24 L159s remains in negotiations with no actual contract. On 19 March it was reported that a decision would be made in 2 weeks. No contract has been announced. Iraq intends to hold an International Air and Defense Exhibition in mid-April; rumors are that Iraq will announce defense contracts then.
The pennant numbers and names of the two building Offshore Support Vessels have been identified. They are the Al Basrah  and Al Fayhaa . The 7th and 8th Patrol Boats left Bahrain for Iraq and the 9th is delivering to Bahrain. The 10-12 PBs are to deliver to NAVSEA [US] for inspection in May 2012. Barring any problems, they should deliver in Iraq by the end of summer. The article providing this information included a fairly conventional concept of operations for the employment of the IqN.
Iraqi Ministry of Interior
There are rumors in Basrah of an increase in direct Baghdad control of security there. There are 2 possible explanations of this and they are not mutually exclusive:
- The 4th FP Division and 2 of its Brigades have been training in south Baghdad – they are intended for Basrah and may have finally deployed there.
- The other probability is that the MoI Emergency Response Force may have completed training the Basrah ERB [Brigade].
Both of these probabilities could be happening at the same time – there has been training in both Basrah elements for some time now. All provincial paramilitary police will eventually be absorbed, vetted, retrained, and brought under national control via absorption into the FP or the ERBs. Baghdad has no intention of letting provincial governors and police chiefs retain control of paramilitary forces – the private armies are systematically being “Nationalized”.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during February 2012. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 29 February 2012. Highlights in this update include:
- KRG receives 5 helicopters for police.
- Operational Commands converting to Corps?; 11th Division moving to Wasit?; IA Mountain Force to be formed?; More M113s or duplicative reporting?; K1A1 tanks for Iraq?; Armor update.
- Aerospace Defense Command re-established?; “8th Batch” of EC635s delivered; Korean T-50 Jet Trainer still in contention.
- MoI controls Independent Security Battalions?
"The Kurdistan Regional Government received on Saturday five helicopters to control traffic movement, according to media website of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).“ “Five helicopters arrived in the Arbil airport; two will be delivered to Arbil, two to Sulaimaniya and one to Duhuk."
Previous reporting had indicated that the KRG intended to buy 11 Jet Rangers for traffic control and medical evacuation. These helicopters could be used for military observation and MEDEVAC as well.
The Operations Commands may be being converted to IA and MoI Corps headquarters. Ninawa Operations Command and Anbar Operations Command have been recently reported as "Ninewa's Intelligence & Security Operations Command" and "Anbar’s Police Operations Command". If this is the case, then the 4 planned IA Corps will probably be formed from Ninawa, Diyala, Basrah, and part of the Baghdad Operational Commands. The remaining commands would become MoI Corps or higher headquarters.
There continues to be reporting of elements of the IA 11th Division in Wasit province. This division is normally based in eastern Baghdad. The planned replacement of IA in the cities combined with this movement could mean that the Federal Police and IP are replacing the 11th Division in Baghdad and that the division is relocating to Wasit.
“National Alliance MP announced today the formation of a special force to defend the Kurdistan mountainous areas, in addition to Kurdish border areas. MP Qassim al-Araji, member of the Parliamentarian Security and Defence Commission, told IraqiNews.com that “this force shall be named the Mountainous Force”. He added that “this force is to come within political agreements between Iraqiya, National Alliance and Kurdish blocs, but if it was not agreed on, and then it shall remain in Baghdad”.
This may be a restart on the formation of the 15th and 16th Mountain Divisions. Of note, some brigades in western/southern Baghdad have 15th Division numbers under the standard IMoD numbering scheme. [The 54/6, 55/17, and 56/6 Brigades are 3 of the 7 exceptions to the standard numbering of IA brigades under IMoD order 151.]
"BAE Systems in partnership with the Anniston Army Depot (ANAD) are refurbishing 440 M113A2 armored personnel carriers for Iraq through a foreign military sales contract worth more than $31 million." Work on the M113 refurbishment will be completed by April 2012. "Under a separate effort, BAE Systems will provide materials to ANAD to refurbish 586 M113A2s also bound for Iraq.”
This may be additional M113s or a repeated report of the 1,026 M113 Family of Vehicles already in delivery.
“Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki and the acting Defense Minister had official meetings with Korea's Minister for Defense production in Baghdad where they called on the fulfillment for the supply of T50 training aircraft and discuss the supply of other defense materials including modern tanks.”
While no actual contract(s) were announced and no details provided, this points out that the GoI is still shopping for tanks and has not actually made a deal with anyone. It also adds K1A1 tanks to the prospective list. Given delivery and training times, this indicates that the IA will not add any operational tank regiments prior to 2014.
The latest IMoD newspaper had a report on armored units on page 10 [in Arabic]. Some of the key items noted were:
- The 9th Division is the only fully mechanized division in the army. [Note that the 9th is planned to be an armored division.]
- The army has a 4 year plan to equip the divisions with BTR-4 and M113 APCs.
- Currently the 8th Division (32/8 and 31/8 Brigades) as well as the 10th Division (38/10 and 39/10 Brigades) are being trained and prepared for M113s. One battalion from the 8th Division has completed training at Besmaya.
- The 34/9 Brigade’s 1st and 2nd Tank Regiments have completed training on M1A1s.
- Courses have been started on the T72 and T55 tanks for the 2nd, 3rd, 10th, 12th and 14th Divisions.
- Two Computerized Simulators for live fire simulation have been setup for the BTR4s. So far only 26 BTR4s have been received.
This adds 2 divisions [2nd and 10th] to the list of IA divisions receiving training or being equipped with tracked armor. A total of 11 of the 14 existing IA divisions have elements training/equipping with heavy armor:
Divisions with all 4 Brigades having elements upgraded/upgrading:
- 9th Division - all 4 Brigades are Mech/Armor although there is some question of the status of upgrades in 35th and 37th Brigades. This is especially true if they are losing their T72s. Only 4 of the 7 Tank Regiments [battalions] trained on M1A1s have received their tanks.
- 5th Division - all 4 Brigades received training in M113s in 2010-11; reported mechanizing. No report of tanks.
- 8th Division - 1-33/8 Battalion with BMP1s; training of 31st and 32nd Brigades in M113. No report of tanks.
- 6th Division - 2-22/6 Battalion and 4-54/6 Battalion with BMP1s; 2 battalions of 56th Brigade trained on M113s in 2011. No report of tanks.
- 3rd Division - 4-10/3 Battalion with M113s; ?-12/3 Battalion with T55s; training in T55 reported.
- 10th Division - 38th and 39th Brigades reported to be receiving M113 training; training in T72s reported.
- 11th Division - 1-42/11 Battalion with MTLBs; 3-44/11 Battalion with BMP1s; No report of tanks.
Divisions with 1 Brigade having elements upgrading/upgraded:
[These may be planned motorized divisions with only a mech brigade each.]
- 7th Division - 1-29/7 and 2-29/7 Battalions with BMP1s; Reports in 2011 of mechanizing with M113s; No report of tanks.
- 14th Division - 3-52/14 Battalion with T55s; training in T55s reported.
- 12th Division - report of Tank Regiment planned in 15/12 Brigade; training in T72s reported.
- 2nd Division - report of training in T72s.
1st, 4th, and 17th Divisions have no reports of training on or being equipped with tanks or APCs except for one 17th Division exercise. This does not exclude the possibility of their Commandos [Cavalry/Scouts] getting BTR4s - the 17th Division exercise could have been using Bradleys as a stand in for BTR4s.
There are not enough M113s in the reported pipeline to equip the reported number of units training on them - there has to be more planned. There appear to be more M113 FOVs, more BTR4s, and definitely more tanks planned/in-pipeline that have not been reported. Too many units are training on them compared to the armor numbers reported purchased/delivering.
Where are the tank orders? There are nowhere near enough tanks to equip the reported force and no reports of tank buys - just unexercised options on 350 HA M60s and 140 M1A1s, rumored Ukr/Czech T72 buys/upgrades, rumored Korean K1A1 possible buys, and rumored Russian buys.
There are 7 IA battalions identified as having received M1A1 training but, only 4 have been equipped - means at least another order of M1A1s was/is planned...
At a low estimate, based on only 6 Mech and 1 Armored Division with the remaining 7 Divisions having 1 only Tank Regiment each [motorized], the IA would have 42 Tank Regiments with 35 tanks each [1,470 tanks]. At a high estimate, based on 5 Armored and 6 Mech Divisions, the IA would have 65 Tank Regiments with 35 tanks each [2,295 tanks]. The IA currently has 140 M1A1s, ~125 T72s, and ~76 T54/55 or only 10 Tank Regiments [Approx 341 tanks]. The IA is short 1129-1954 tanks. Even if the unused options for another 140 M1A1s and the 350 HA M60s were exercised, that still would leave the IA 639-1464 tanks short - Neither of those options have been reported as exercised. You can make do with truck mounted infantry but, there is no replacement for tanks...
Iraqi Air Force
"Senior military sources that the next few days will see the re-formation Aerospace Defense Command, which will be equipped system radars developed along with rockets and artillery resistance of the aircraft, which will contribute to the protection of Iraqi airspace." This is unconfirmed reporting – there have been no reports of Iraqi purchases of anti-aircraft missiles or guns.
The "8th batch" of EC635 helicopters was reported received in February. While the total number is not mentioned, the “batches” that have been reported previously were pairs. This means that the Iraqi Army Air Corps probably has at least 16 EC635.
Iraqi Ministry of Interior
According to Iraq’s Deputy Interior Minister, while the Ministry of Defense provides the bodyguards for the prime minister, speaker of parliament and president of Iraq, and their deputies [2 Presidential Brigades] – the Ministry of Interior provides the bodyguards who protect each minister and those who guard MPs [14 Independent Security Battalions]. Combined with the Federal Police Embassy, Bank, and Archeology Security Brigades, this could indicate that the MoI plans to establish a 1-2 Division Security force.
Iraqi MoI sources have stated that the city security will start to transition from IMoD [Army] to MoI [Police] primacy in mid-2012.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during January 2012. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 January 2012. The article “Iraqi Army Development Status January 2012” was written separately and will not be addressed here. Highlights in this update include:
- 8th RGB located; Iraqi Government not implementing agreements on Peshmerga.
- Little new at Army Day Parade; No contracts from Russia shopping trip.
- Still looking at L159s but, no contract.
- 2 OSVs to deliver in third-quarter 2012.
- New ISOF website.
The 8th Regional Guards Brigade has been located in Western Dahuk (Zahko). Only a minority of Kurdish Regional Guards Brigades have been located in open source reporting.
According to the KRG Minister of Peshmerga Affairs:
"It is more than two years that we reached an agreement on Peshmarga numbers and budget," the minister said. "But none have been put into action." The parties agreed that the Peshmarga force should not exceed 190,000 individuals; 90,000 to be retired and the rest to be re-named as border guards. An agreement between Kurdistan Regional President Massoud Barzani and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to create two Iraqi army divisions in Kurdistan out of 30,000 border guards, was also issued as an order but was never carried out. The minister added it is for the six successive year the Peshmarga budget is being discussed by the Council of Representatives. It has been decided Baghdad should fund the Peshmarga but the legislation is not enforced."
The Iraqi Army Day Parade had 6 BTR4s with slat-armor and parachutists. Those were the only 2 new types of items in the parade. Also, a surprising number of vehicles and artillery did not have visible unit markings, indicating they have not been issued to active IA battalions/regiments yet.
The IA was reported to have a delegation in Russia shopping for armored vehicles. However, like all previous shopping trips to Moscow - no actual contracts have been reported. To date, the only purchases by Iraq from Russia have been through US FMS and at US instigation – no direct purchases.
Iraqi Air Force
"The Czech Republic is looking to sell dozens of Czech-made L-159 subsonic jet fighters to Iraq.” This is according to the Czech Defense Minister. However, no actual contract has been announced. It appears that the IqAF is planning to use armed jet trainers for light ground attack and F16s for air defense.
The new Iraqi Offshore Support Vessels are reported to deliver to Iraq in the third-quarter 2012. The previous reporting indicated delivery in August and December 2012, indicating one of these vessels is delivering ahead of schedule.
Iraqi Special Operations Force
A review of the new ISOF website indicates that the support and training battalions are now in the ISOF Support and Training Brigade. Also, the 2nd ISOF Brigade does not list the Anbar/Ramadi based 9th Commando Battalion and LAV-25s are listed on the ISOF vehicle list. There have been no reported LAV-25s provided/sold to Iraq and the 9th Commando Battalion was reported as a Brigade in October 2011. Whether these are errors or not is undetermined at this time.
The Iraqi Army is the most developed service in the Iraqi Security Forces but, it has major components missing. The absence of sufficient support, anti-tank, logistics, artillery, and especially the total absence of air defense, makes the IA incapable of effectively fighting any of the countries bordering Iraq. Without those components, the IA is just an internal security force – unable to successfully fight a conventional war.
Battalion Level Deficiencies
There are 3 major deficiencies in the IA’s line battalions. The absence of Anti-Tank Guided Weapons is starting to be addressed by the fielding of BTR4s with their Barrier ATGW missiles in the Battalion Commando Platoons but, deliveries have only just begun. It will be 5-10 years before this problem is corrected at current delivery rates.
The total absence of any functional air defense is the second problem. At this level, the IA should have Man-Portable Air Defense at minimum [E.G. Stinger]. There are no reports of the IA buying any air defense systems other than F16s and those do not start to deliver until 2014.
The third problem is that the IA needs to re-equip, train, and upgrade the existing infantry battalions. With the exceptions of the Kurdish Region’s mountains and the Hawar Marshes in the south, Iraq is armor terrain. The IA is an infantry force – without the capability to be more than a speed-bump to the armor forces of the bordering countries.
Brigade Level Deficiencies
There are 5 major deficiencies in the IA’s line brigades. The absence of Anti-Tank Guided Weapons is starting to be addressed by the fielding of BTR4s with their Barrier ATGW missiles in the Brigade Commando Companies but, deliveries have only just begun. It will be 5-10 years before this problem is corrected at current delivery rates.
The total absence of any functional air defense is the second problem. At this level, the IA should have Short-Range Air Defense Missiles at a minimum. There are no reports of the IA buying any air defense systems other than F16s and those do not start to deliver until 2014.
The artillery problem is being addressed with the remaining 120mm mortars delivering in the next 3 years but, the delivery of the howitzers is slower. The missing howitzers will deliver in 5-7 years at current rate of purchase.
While the IA has said it is planning to increase its logistics, only the 9th Armor Division and ISOF have been reported with Brigade Support Battalions. This absence in support/logistics is not a problem for internal security but, is a critical failure point in a defense against conventional forces. As the battalions and brigades upgrade to armor, mech, and motorized – this component becomes even more essential. Without the beans, bullets, and boots – especially fuel, the IA cannot sustain a fight.
The fifth problem is that the IA needs to re-equip, train, and upgrade the existing infantry brigades. With the exceptions of the Kurdish Region’s mountains and the Hawar Marshes in the south, Iraq is armor country. The IA is an infantry force at this time – without the capability to be more than a speed-bump to the armor forces of the bordering countries.
Division Level Deficiencies
There are 7 major deficiencies in the IA’s Divisions. The inability to effectively command/control at the division level is being addressed by the fielding of divisional Signals Regiments. This equipment should be fielded by 2013, after which it will be 1-2 years to train at this level.
The divisional logistics support is good but, the Maintenance Battalions are still a work in progress. This and the absence of corps and brigade level maintenance is why 30-50 percent of the vehicles in the battalions are reported non-operational.
The absence of Anti-Tank Guided Weapons is starting to be addressed by the fielding of BTR4s with their Barrier ATGW missiles in the Division Commando Battalions but, deliveries have only just begun. It will be 5-10 years before this problem is corrected at current delivery rates.
At this level, the IA should have Medium-Range Air Defense Missiles at a minimum. There are no reports of the IA buying any air defense systems other than F16s and those do not start to deliver until 2014.
The artillery problem is being addressed but, Howitzers and Multiple Rocket Launchers are only reported in 3 of the 14 IA divisions. It will be at least 5 years at current delivery rates before all of the divisions are equipped.
The IA is expanding its Divisional Engineers from a Regiment to a Brigade per division. This will provide the capability to deal with mines [IEDs], chemical defense, and obstacles while using mines and obstacles to enhance defense. This expansion has only started – given the length of training required for engineers and chemical defense, this is probably planned to complete in 5-7 years.
The IA needs to re-equip, train, and upgrade the existing infantry divisions. The IA plans to equip 9 of the 14 Divisions as Mech/Armor and Motorize the rest. With the exceptions of the Kurdish Region’s mountains and the Hawar Marshes in the south, Iraq is armor country. The IA is an infantry force at this time – without the capability to be more than a speed-bump to the armor forces of the bordering countries. To make matters worse, the IA is not large enough to defend Iraq against Iran on its own. To field enough force for that, the Federal Police, Department of Border Enforcement, and Kurdish Regional Guards are needed. While the KRG development is on par with the IA and the KRG has the advantage of mountainous terrain, the FP and DBE are about 5 years behind the IA in development.
Corps Level Deficiencies
The Iraqi Army has no formed corps, is deficient in Level 3 [corps] sustainment and support, and has little of the corps level combat support such as long-range air defense. The Joint Operational Commands fill the corps-level command and control role but, are still developing.
Iraqi Special Operations Force and the Ministry of Interior’s Emergency Response Brigades are to fill the role of Corps airmobile quick reaction forces and recon but, both forces are still being built up, trained, and equipped. At current rate of development, they are 5-10 years from completion.
The Army Air Corps appears to be forming a corps-level Aviation Brigade but, the IA needs 5 of these Avn Bdes – 9 when you include the FP/DBE/KRG in a full mobilization. It will be after 2020 before this is complete.
The IA has one level 3 Sustainment Brigade and is reported to be forming 1-4 more. The FP also has a Sustainment Brigade but, MoI forces require 2-3 more and there are no reports of KRG sustainment forces – KRG requires 2.
Iraq has no air defense.
There is no IA corps-level artillery.
Army Level Deficiencies
While the Iraqi Ground Forces Command has a good Level 4 support structure, it will need to expand as the IA increases its Armor/Mech/Motorized structure.
The IA is also dependent on FP/DBE/KRG forces to provide over half the numbers needed to successfully defend Iraq against its most likely opponent – and most of those forces are at least 5 years behind the IA in development. Also, those forces have no effective ATGW, Artillery, Air Defense, and are 8 years behind in sustainment.
The IA is a work in progress. The plan for the IA is for 3 Armored, 6 Mechanized, and 5 Motorized Divisions. Currently it is 1 Armor, 4 Motorized [partially], and 9 Infantry Divisions. The Armor Division is still upgrading and 2 of the Infantry Divisions are starting mechanization. All of these IA Divisions are missing major combat and logistical components. The plan was to be Strategically Independent by 2020 but, senior officers in the IA are now looking at 2024-2027 before they are truly ready.
January 16, 2011: Thoughts on ISF Development and Iraq's Ability to Defend Itself
March 21, 2011: Iraqi Logistics - The Missing Links
July 10, 2011: The Missing Links – A Realistic Appraisal of the Iraqi Army
December 26, 2011: ISF Total Force Mobilization Update December 2011
Updated Monthly: Iraq Order of Battle
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during December 2011. The article “ISF Total Force Mobilization Update December 2011” was published separately and will not be addressed here. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 December 2011. Highlights in this update include:
- Kurdish forces still working with ISF; KRG getting a utility squadron of helicopters.
- Iraqis shopping in Moscow; Mortars and unidentified armor received from Serbia; Kalsu to be IA Logistics Base.
- Iraqis say they need 6 squadrons of F16s; First squadron of F16s ordered; Second squadron of F16s starting process of ordering; First of 6 C130J delivering in December 2012; Second An-32 delivered with remaining 4 delivering in 2012.
- Iraqi Navy getting Scan Eagle drones?
The 3rd Regional Guards Brigade in north Diyala is still reported partnered with Iraqi Army 4/1 Brigade. In spite of propaganda about Kurdish forces opposing Iraqi Security Forces, the Kurdish forces in the disputed territories are still partnered with and work with ISF units.
According to Kurdish press, the KRG is getting 4 utility helicopters for "traffic police" and 6 more for an "Air Ambulance" service. These helicopters provide the KRG forces with an independent aviation capability.
While there are reports of negotiations in Moscow for armor, all previous reports of direct purchases from Russia went nowhere. The only purchases of weapons from Russia to date were Mi-17 helicopters at the recommendation of the US and via US Foreign Military Sales program.
An unknown number of mortars are delivering from Serbia. There is also mention of some “armor” being delivered. "Some pieces of armors contracted with Serbia arrived today in Iraq, the Parliamentary Security and Defense Commission disclosed today. The shipment included mortars and ammunitions. The Commission added that parts of the artillery will be received within the coming two months. The Iraqi Interior Ministry's electronic site quoted a source in the Parliamentary Commission saying that the "directions are to diversify the Iraqi arms". The source added that "Iraq needs more time to train its forces on how to use the new weapons".
Iraq calls 120mm mortars “Artillery”. The mention of the Ministry of Interior and armor could indicate that the armor is Lazar Armored Personnel Carriers for Federal Police use vice for the IA. The Lazar was first mentioned for this possible role in 2009. Alternatively, the armor could be self-propelled artillery for the Iraqi Army or something else. The last time this Parliamentary Commission was quoted, they claimed that Iraq was receiving fighters in December – the only aircraft received were transports.
When FOB Kalsu was turned over, the commander of the 8th Division and Mid-Euphrates Operational command mentioned its planned role: "He added that Kalsu Base has a strategic importance because it will be a base for logistic support to the Mid Euphrates Operations Command." This could mean the establishment of a National Depot or smaller logistics force to fill the gap in level 3 [corps] logistics.
Iraqi Air Force
The Iraqi Government is still saying it needs a total of 6 squadrons of F-16s to provide air defense and is estimating “after 2017” before completion. The first squadron-sized order of F16s was contracted through US Foreign Military Sales and consists of 18 F16C/D Block 52 fighters [12 single-seat C-models and 6 two-seat D-models]. The US Congress has been notified of the second intended squadron-sized order of 18 F16s. This order includes additional equipment not ordered in the first such as 120 JHMCS:
- 18 F-16IQ aircraft,
- 24 F100PW-229 or F110-GE-129 Increased Performance Engines,
- 120 LAU-129/A Common Rail Launchers,
- 24 APG-68(V)9 radar sets,
- 19 M61 20mm Vulcan Cannons,
- 100 AIM-9L/M-8/9 SIDEWINDER Missiles,
- 150 AIM-7M-F1/H SPARROW Missiles,
- 50 AGM-65D/G/H/K MAVERICK Air to Ground Missiles,
- 200 GBU-12 PAVEWAY II Laser Guided Bomb Units (500 pound),
- 50 GBU-10 PAVEWAY II Laser Guided Bomb Units (2000 pound),
- 50 GBU-24 PAVEWAY III Laser Guided Bomb Units (2000 pound),
- 22 ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (AIDEWS), or Advanced Countermeasures Electronic System (ACES) (ACES includes the ALQ-187 Electronic Warfare System and AN/ALR-93 Radar Warning Receiver),
- 20 AN/APX-113 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) Systems (without Mode IV),
- 20 Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Embedded GPS/ Inertial Navigation Systems (INS), (Standard Positioning Service (SPS) commercial code only),
- 20 AN/AAQ-33 SNIPER or AN/AAQ-28 LITENING Targeting Pods,
- 4 F-9120 Advanced Airborne Reconnaissance Systems (AARS) or DB-110 Reconnaissance Pods (RECCE),
- 22 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispensing Systems (CMDS),
- 20 Conformal Fuel Tanks (pairs),
- 120 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS),
- 20 AN/ARC-238 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems,
- 10,000 PGU-27A/B Ammunition,
- 30,000 PGU-28 Ammunition,
- 230 MK-84 2000 lb General Purpose Bombs, and
- 800 MK-82 500lb General Purpose Bombs.
Training of Iraqi Pilots on C130J-30 transport aircraft has started with the first of 6 ordered due to deliver in Dec 2012.
The 2nd An-32 transport aircraft was delivered in December. The 3rd and 4th are reported to arrive in January 2012, with the 5th and 6th arriving by mid 2012.
The Iraqi Navy may be getting drones to provide maritime reconnaissance support. "What the Iraqi Navy is getting is Scan Eagles. If there are any other desires for something bigger, broader or for more of them, I don’t know about them. But that doesn’t mean that the army might not be amongst the future decisions that the Iraqi government makes."
This is an update to last year’s article. The major changes are the elimination of the previously planned new IA divisions, the start of mechanizing of 2 IA divisions, the addition of another corps-level Joint Operational Command, further indications of additional planned mechanized/armor upgrades, and indications of planned wartime redeployments.
Forward defense is Iraq’s only real option. Too many key areas are close to the Iranian border. However, Iraq does not have the force to successfully defend Iraq against a conventional invasion. The ISF is trained and equipped for internal security – not external. Iraq is fair game to any and all of its neighbors with the USF-I withdraw. Any neighbor invading could occupy Iraq in less than 2 weeks at this point.
As depicted on the map, the forward defense planned by the Iraqi Security Forces utilizes the Total Mobilization Concept. The Department of Border Enforcement provides the forward screen with a mix of Iraqi Army, Iraqi Federal Police, and Kurdish Regional Guards providing the primary infantry line. The Iraqi Army plans to add significant armor to its force so that it’s mechanized and armor divisions can operate as corps/army reserve to react to any enemy breakthrough. Supporting those heavy divisions will be the limited Army Aviation working with the Iraqi Special Operations Force brigades and the MoI’s Emergency Response Force brigades as part of the quick reaction forces. However, all of these forces are not ready for external defense. They would be only a speed-bump to the Iranian forces at this point. To put it into perspective, the 3-phase Iraqi Ministry of Defense plan is:
- Tactical Independence (2006-2010) – Internal security, effectively done.
- Operational Independence (2011-2015) – Will not meet the schedule. IA needs to be out of internal security operations by then and the FP will not be ready to take over in time. Also, the FP needs to train and equip for its secondary role as infantry in external defense.
- Strategic Independence (2016-2020) – Will not meet the schedule. This requires a functional and credible air defense, at least 6 heavy IA divisions, and the FP trained/equipped for its secondary role of external security. The first fighter squadron will not be operational until 2016-2017 and Iraq needs a minimum of 5 squadrons to provide a minimum air defense. Iraqi officers are now talking 2024-2027 for completion of this plan.
Each of the services are at differing points in the development time-line, almost none of them are really on schedule.
The Iraqi Army is in early Phase 2 with the armor and artillery programs behind schedule. The Iraqi Army is still re-equipping and training the 9th Armored Division for external defense, and has started to mechanize and provide howitzers to 3 other divisions.
The IA has only 14 divisions and 2 security division equivalents [President and Council]. Only 1 armored division exists and that is in M1A1/M113/BTR4 conversion training [9th Armor Division]. The new M113s and the BTR4s only started to arrive in late summer. The 9th Armored Division upgrade is priority followed by the mechanization of 5th and 7th Divisions. While the 155mm howitzers have been delivered, they are only 144 total. The IA is distributing them among 3 divisions [3rd, 5th, and 9th] which indicate a planned 48 howitzers per division with 24 Multiple Rocket Launchers to fill out the field artillery.
The 14 IA divisions are planned to be 3 armored, 6 mechanized infantry, and 5 motorized infantry, plus 2 security division-equivalents. All except 3 divisions are missing their howitzers and some of their other necessary support components. The planned armor and mechanized upgrades will not be completed by 2020. Too much of the budget is needed for air defense to upgrade more than 6 divisions to mechanized/armor and Iraq still does not have enough tanks for the 2 mechanized divisions currently upgrading.
Iraqi Air Force
The Iraqi Air Force is in late-Phase 1 and will not be starting Phase 2 until it starts to field an air defense with teeth.
The first fighters are not expected to start to deliver until 2014. A minimum of 5 fighter squadrons are necessary for Iraqi air defense – preferably 8-10. Given delivery and training time, the minimum needed 5 squadrons could be operational by 2022 – barring any further delays. This also requires further development of the base support structure. Iraq appears to have settled on F16C/D Block 52 for its primary fighter and Czech L159s for its armed jet trainers.
To date, no SAM-based air defense has been ordered. The earliest SAMs could be added is 2013-2014 and sufficient numbers/training/support would push their effective operational date to 2017-2020.
Iraqi Navy and Marines
The Iraqi Navy and Marines are in Phase 2 but, that in more a factor of their limited objectives. The Marines still need to expand to a division-sized force to cover the expanding Al Faw ports and the Navy needs missile boats and coastal defense missiles. The existing force is gun armed.
Iraqi Special Operations Force/Emergency Response Force
ISOF is in Phase 2 but, the expansion to 5 brigades is slow and facing delays. The ERF is in Phase 1 and facing similar problems to ISOF. Screening, training and expanding by taking in the best 50 percent of the province SWAT forces is not a fast program.
The Iraqi Special Operations Force and the Emergency Response Force are a division-equivalent in size but, mostly dispersed in battalion-sized detachments. Both forces are expanding slowly to a probably planned 5 ISOF and 14-15 ERF brigades. This will be a slow expansion, probably not complete until 2019-2022. In wartime these forces would be assigned to corps or army headquarters as airmobile quick reaction forces and reconnaissance forces.
The Federal Police is in early to mid-Phase 1. The FP is in the process of forming its 5th and 6th Divisions out of part of the provincial emergency police and part of the 30,000 Kurdish Zerevani that are transferring to the Iraqi MoI. This is less than half of the 14-16 planned Federal Police divisions being built by retraining/re-equipping the existing provincial emergency police. Until the FP finishes this “Nationalization” program, they will not be training or equipping for their secondary external security role [Phase 2].
4 of 14-16 planned FP Divisions exist at this time with 2 more forming. These ~15 divisions are planned to be 14-15 [truck] Motorized Infantry and 1 Security Division. These new divisions are being formed by transferring, retraining, and re-equipping existing Province Paramilitary forces. This will probably not be done until after 2017, after which training on their secondary external defense role will commence.
Department of Border Enforcement
The DBE is also in Phase 1. They are short 5 brigades in strength and the DBE has few mobile units – they are based on fixed border fortifications. This makes its function as a forward screen a very short-lived one in event of an attack. They are also missing field artillery and mortars. The 5 existing under strength DBE Divisions are mostly static forces tied to their border “forts”.
Ministry of Interior Aviation
Ministry of Interior Aviation is in Phase 0. They are still trying to order their first aircraft.
Oil Police Directorate
OPD is in early Phase 1. At this point the OPD is 4 under strength Oil Police division-equivalents. For now, these are static forces; however, there are reports of vehicles and training that could convert them into a more capable mobile force. However, the loss of NTM-I Caribinieri training with NATO’s withdraw will hurt their development. Due to the importance of guarding the oil infrastructure – these forces are unlikely to be used in external security. They will be rear-area security releasing the IA from securing the all-important oil infrastructure.
Facilities Protection Service
The Facilities Protection Force is at Phase 0.5 – they probably will never be more than “rent-a-cops” at best. The 3 forming Facilities Police divisions are low capability static security and unlikely to be used in external security.
Kurdish Regional Guards
The Kurdish Regional Guards are Phase 2 but, have lost their US trainers with the USF-I withdraw. In addition to the planned 6th FP Division and I DBE Region [Division] being manned or to be manned by the Peshmerga, there are 21 Regional Guards Brigades being organized on standard IA structure. 4 of these mountain infantry brigades are considered operational and 8 more are in various stages of training and organization. The 21 planned Regional Guards Brigades are being formed by combining PUK and KDP smaller sized “brigades” and forming more conventional standard sized brigades. KRG forces are restricted to Kurdish areas unless the Kurdish Regional Government agrees to their deployment. Total forces in the Kurdish Region are 5 division equivalents – only 1 properly trained/equipped.
The ISF is developing but, budget issues and politics has delayed many key components. The planned schedules have slid to 2017 for Phase 2 [Operational Independence] and 2024-2027 for Phase 3 [Strategic Independence]. Air defense is still the major issue and the price-tag associated with air defense will impact any plans for other purchases. Without the essential air defense, everything else is just targets…
- November 17, 2010: ISF Total Force Mobilization Update November 2010
- December 26, 2010: Iraqi Aviation Update December 2010
- January 16, 2011: Thoughts on ISF Development and Iraq's Ability to Defend Itself
- March 21, 2011: Iraqi Logistics - The Missing Links
- July 10, 2011: The Missing Links – A Realistic Appraisal of the Iraqi Army
- August 15, 2011: Iraqi Armor Status August 2011
- Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle [updated monthly]
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during November 2011. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 November 2011. Highlights in this update include:
- IA emphasizing Field Artillery; 15,600 additional IA being recruited.
- First An-32B delivered; First F16s deliver in 2014-2015; Second order of F16s planned; C130Js to deliver starting 2012.
- Sixth PB delivered.
- Golden Lions to be MoI Battalion?
The Iraqi Army appears to be emphasizing field artillery training and fielding. "Every three months, training courses which last up to two months are given to Iraqi artillery troops at the military base.” (Besmaya) "Brigadier General Saad Mezher, in charge of the artillery troops' training, says there are over 90 types of artillery, several rocket guns and 240 mortars that are used in the training program." Photos of this training showed BM-21M Grad Multiple Rocket Launchers and M198 155mm Towed Howitzers firing.
According to Bilady, M198 155mm Towed Howitzers, M109 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzers, M113 Armored Personnel Carriers, and M1A1 Tanks are now in service with the 9th Division. The inclusion of M198s in this mix probably indicates a second Field Artillery Regiment is being formed. Bilady also mentioned that the IA was adding a division’s worth [15,600] of additional personnel. Given the current emphasis on Field Artillery and Supply, these personnel are probably intended to man the new Field Artillery Regiments forming and their support units.
Iraqi Air Force
On 14 November, "The president of security and defense committee parliamentary Hassan Sinead, that next week will see the first flight of Iraqi fighter since 2003 in the skies of the country." On 18 November, UPI reported that "The first plane scheduled for Iraqi air defense next week was purchased for non-combat operations but retrofitted for military use." That same day, the first of 6 ordered An-32B TRANSPORT aircraft arrived at Baghdad Airport. Apparently, the reporting was in error and what was being delivered were the delayed unarmed transport aircraft that originally were to deliver a year ago. While there are some differences in the reporting as to when the remaining 5 An-32Bs are to deliver, all of the reporting agrees that they will deliver by the end of 2012.
The only fighters ordered by Iraq to date are F16Cs. "Iraq has deposited the initial payment toward the procurement of 18 F-16C Block 52 fighters in September 2011. The planes are scheduled for delivery in late 2014 or 2015. Along with the fighter aircraft Iraq also purchased various weapons including AIM-9 air-to-air missiles, GBU-12 laser-guided bombs, a logistics package and training." Until Iraq has Fighter Squadrons [5-6 squadrons] operational, Iraq has no air defense. Iraq plans to sign a deal for a second batch of 18 F16s by next year, plans to add to its recon aircraft, and is looking as UAVs.
While there has been some speculation that the order of 6 C130J Transports was cancelled, this appears to be false. Lockheed Martin still says they are building them for Iraq and Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission-Air says they start delivery in 2012.
"The U.S. Navy has formally delivered a sixth 115-foot armored patrol boat to the Iraqi navy." "The delivery of P-305 follows delivery and transfer of custody of P-304 and P-306 in August this year. The next coastal patrol craft is scheduled for delivery to Iraq next month." A total of 15 of these PBs have been ordered and are to complete delivery in 2013. [Note: They are not “armored” vessels – no vessel built since the 1960s has had true armor.]
Iraqi Ministry of Interior
Iraqi press reported that "Iraq's Interior Ministry has approved Monday the formation of another battalion, to be added to the 3 emergency battalions of northern Iraq's oil-rich city of Kirkuk, the Commander of Kirkuk Police stated on Tuesday.” There was also a reference to "another company had been added to the so-called Golden Lion Forces, formed by the Iraqi Army, Kurdish Peshmerga and Kirkuk Police, who had started its training to protect leading positions." This probably means the Golden Lions are being formally commissioned as a MoI Battalion.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during October 2011. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 October 2011. Highlights in this update include:
- IMoD not ready until 2020-2024; Possible Greek M60s for IA; 2-34/9 is first Tank Regiment identified training on own M1A1s; Possible 155mm ammunition sale; More Trucks?
- ISOF expanding?
- Reorganization of OOB.
The Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Army says that Iraq is not ready.
“General Zebari suggested that the (Ministry of Defense) will be unable to execute the full spectrum of external-defense missions until sometime between 2020 and 2024, citing (Iraqi government) funding shortfalls as the main reason for the delay,” the report said. “Iraq will not be able to defend its own airspace until 2020, at the earliest,” Zebari told SIGIR, adding that “an army without an air force is exposed.”
This is not news to informed sources. The plan is for 3 phases to independent operations in 2020 and the General mentioned in 2008 that Phases 2  and 3  may be delayed for budget reasons. 2012 was a political decision – not a military one.
M60 tanks being replaced in the Hellenic Army may transfer to Iraq.
"When Iraqi officials were asked by reporters how this difference in number is explained, they reportedly said (although it cannot be confirmed) that there is an agreement on the allocation of at least 350 M60 tanks from the stocks of the Greek Army, and that spare parts will also be delivered from the same source. As far as it is known type M60A1 tanks are withdrawn from service in the Greek Army but they are detained in storage."
This remains unconfirmed reporting due to lack of sourcing. It does fit for the number of tanks needed for the ongoing mechanization of 5th and 7th Divisions. IA mechanized divisions are expected to have 5 Tank Regiments each with 35 tanks per regiment. The first mention of M60s for the IA was in 2007 and did refer to enough to mechanize two divisions.
The first Tank Regiment equipped with IA owned M1A1 has been identified.
"Tankers from 1st Company, 2nd Regiment, 34th Brigade, 9th Army are part of the first Iraqi tank company to participate in the M1A1 Maneuver Collective Training Course, which was concluded on Sept. 28 at the Besmaya Combat Training Center. The 15-day course is designed to train Iraqi army tank crews to work together at the platoon and company levels by increasing the crew’s competency on the vehicle, preparing them for additional arms training and helping create a self-sustaining protection force for their country." "The first rendition of the M1A1 Maneuver Collective Training Course finished Sept. 28. 11 more companies are scheduled to go through the advanced training."
There are 3 other Tank Regiments equipped with Iraqi M1A1s but, 6 other 9th Division Regiments have been previously reported training on US M1A1s.
Iraq is possibly buying 155mm howitzer ammunition from the US.
"The Government of Iraq has requested a possible sale of 44,608 M107 155mm High Explosive Projectiles and 9,328 M485A2 155mm Illumination projectiles; also included are, M231 Propelling charges, M232A1 155mm Modular Artillery Charge System Propelling charges, M739 Fuzes, M762A1 Electronic Time Fuzes, M82 Percussion primers, M767A1 Electronic Time Fuzes, 20-foot Intermodal Containers for transporting ammunition, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, logistics, and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics support."
This is just a start. The known 155mm howitzers would get about 300 rounds each. However, the US is not the only possible source – this is standard NATO sized ammo.
There is a single source report that more medium tactical trucks are on the roads in Iraq. The types mentioned are tactical in nature vice the heavy trucks needed for National Depots. There are several possibilities for their use including:
- Expanded Tactical Logistics. The IA is expected to form Brigade Support Battalions and Taji/Besmaya [Baghdad area] is a logical area for training/forming these new BSBs.
- Prime movers for Field Artillery.
- Further motorization of the Infantry.
Iraqi Special Operations Force
The "9th Brigade, Iraqi Special Operation Forces" was mentioned in a 2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division press release. This could mean that the Regional Commando Battalions are expanding into Regional Commando Brigades. While this could be an error, USF-I and the 2-82 AAB have declined to respond to my RFIs or issue any corrections.
While an overwhelming number of the votes [87 percent] were to keep the OOB organization as is - the only comments were for change. I weight comments far more than repeated votes that do not explain why the OOB should remain organized in an incorrect/obsolete fashion. This OOB looks forward and reflects reality as best as can be determined via open sources.
The following changes have been made to the OOB structure/pages:
- Page 2 is now Armor Divisions (Existing, converting, or planned).
- Page 3 is now Mechanized Divisions (Existing, converting, or planned).
- Page 4 is now Planned Heavy Divisions (undetermined whether Armor or Mech).
- Page 5 is now Infantry and Motorized Infantry Divisions.
- Page 6 remains all aviation [IqAF, AAC, MoI, and KRG].
- Page 9 has been modified to reflect which major ISF formations are subordinate and reordered into size groupings.
- Page 11 has had the Emergency Police added.
- Page 12 has had the Kurdish Regional Guards removed.
- Page 13 is now the Oil Police Directorate
- Page 14 is now the Kurdish Regional Guards except the aviation.
As units change status, the OOB will change accordingly. For future reference, I weight comments as worth 50 votes each. If you wish to be heard, you have to speak…
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during September 2011. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 September 2011. Highlights in this update include:
- Final M1A1 Tanks arrive; Southern Iraq Iranian-border regions reinforced; Generals transferred.
- IqAF not ready; Pilot training; Down-payment on 18 F16s.
"The final shipment of M1A1 Abrams tanks, purchased by the Iraqi government, arrived at Besmaya Combat Training Center mid-August." The IA Tank Regiments are not going to a Combined Arms Structure. Instead they are going to 3 smaller companies of 11 tanks each. There will probably be a mechanized company and a self-propelled mortar battery to round out the battalion structure.
There are unconfirmed reports of elements of the 7th Division in Maysan province and a brigade of the 11th Division [45/11 Brigade] in Wassit province. This could be a temporary reinforcement of these provinces bordering Iran or could indicate a reorganization and reinforcement of the Iranian-border regions in the south. The Anbar based 7th Division is regularly used as a strategic reserve force to reinforce anywhere as needed but, the 11th Division has never deployed out of Bagdad province since it was formed.
There have been several senior officers transferred in September. All of these transfers appear to be promotions although it could be argued that a transfer to IMoD is not:
- Commander of the 17th Division, Major-General Ali al-Mefarjy, to replace the Commander of the 2nd Division, based in Mosul. [2nd Division is a more important command.]
- Major-General Bassim al-Ta’e, the Commander of the 1st Division, to replace General Hassan Karim Khudier, as Commander of Ninewa Operations. [NiOC is a Corps-level joint command.]
- Commander of Ninewa’s Operations, General Hassan Karim to the Defense Ministry.
- Commander of the 2nd Division, Major-General, Nasser Ahmed al-Ghannam to Baghdad’s Rusafa Operations Command. [RAC is a Corps-level joint command.]
"Iraqi Air Force commander Lt.-Gen. Anwar Hamad Amin has said that the force is still young and that it would take years of training and huge investments, which are currently unavailable, before it will be capable of defending Iraqi skies. He said that while the decision on protecting the skies is political, from a technical viewpoint Iraq needs the Americans to help. This statement contradicts an earlier statement by Iraqi Deputy Chief of Staff Gen. Nassif al-Ibadi that the protection of Iraqi skies will be entirely in the hands of Iraqis and that no Americans would be involved. Nassif said that a group of airmen are currently in the U.S. for training to operate the 18 F16 fighter jets that Iraq has purchased from the U.S. Iraq would like to purchase as many as 96 F16s by 2020 ."
This is consistent with the Iraqi Ministry of Defense [IMoD] position and plans since 2006. Iraq will be dependent on the US for air defense until they have at least 4 squadrons [72 fighters] and a proper radar direction system operational.
US and IMoD agree that the IqAF is years from having a real air defense. "At the moment, only 10 Iraqi fighter pilots are training in Iraq and the United States. It takes about two years of schooling to train a U.S. fighter pilot as a basic wingman." Normal squadron manning is 1.5-2 pilots per fighter to allow for pilot down times after they are trained. It takes at least 2 years of experience for a basic wingman to be considered fully qualified.
After years of talking, the GoI finally made a down payment on 18 F16s "Any deal would be worth billions of dollars and take years to implement, as it would require the manufacture of the aircraft and the training of Iraqi pilots." So far, no contract has actually been announced. The earliest that these 18 fighters could be delivered would be 2013. The earliest that these first fighter aircraft would be operationally trained would be in 2015-2016. The IqAF eventually wants 96 F16s [5 squadrons].
Admin Note: I’m considering reorganizing the OOB pages. Please provide opinions.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during August 2011. The article Iraqi Armor Armor Status August 2011 was published separately and will not be addressed here. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 August 2011. Highlights in this update include:
- 4 more Regional Guards Brigades; Manila Training Center transferred to Kurdish Regional Guards; Regional Guards Brigades in north Diyala working with IA and US forces.
- M1A1 tanks completing delivery; Howitzer deliveries; 10th Iraqi Army All Inclusive Training; Logistics increase in south; additional ILAV purchases; T72 tank and Mi-17 helicopter refurbishment by Czech?
- Negotiations for L159s Jet Trainers and F16 Fighters; An-32 Transport delivery still hung-up.
- First Dry-Docking; Patrol Boats 304 & 306 accepted.
- Oil Police Training.
A second set of Peshmerga brigades are being reorganized into 4 more Regional Guards Brigades [RGBs]. "There are a total of eight RGBs in the Kurdistan Regional Government.” 21 RGBs were planned before the cancellation of the two IA “Mountain” Divisions. At least 12 RGBs are authorized/funded by the Kurdish Regional Government at this point. Training of these RGBs at the Manila Training Center near Chamchamal, Iraq, transferred to the Kurdish Regional Guard on 4 August.
During August, the Iraqi and Kurdish press played up the deployment of elements of 2 RGBs to north Diyala. The reporting was confused and denials were made by the Kurdish Regional Government. What actually happened is that elements of 2 RGBs deployed to north Diyala and partnered with Iraqi Army plus US Forces-Iraq. They acted as coordinated reinforcements – not as opponents to Iraqi Security Forces.
Iraq has 135 of 140 M-1A1 tanks as of 15 August. The Iraqi army now also has 24 M109 self-propelled 155mm howitzers and 80 M198 155mm towed howitzers. “But their ability to integrate the effects of artillery, armor, attack aviation with infantry against a conventional force is really at the beginning stages,” according to Major General Buchanan. “This will take them some years to develop.”
Iraqi Al Sumaria News has apparently confused the M109s and the M198s in their reporting of the interview and thought they were all self-propelled howitzers. According to 1LT Joseph Larrew, Battle Captain, Media Operations Center, US Embassy-Baghdad:
"The transcript is not available for public use, but we can tell you that 24 M109A5 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzers and 66 M198 155mm Towed Howitzers were purchased for the Iraqi Army. The Government of Iraq purchased an additional 54 M198 155mm Towed Howitzers for a total of 120 M198s."
The 10th Division’s All Inclusive Training [Tadreeb al Shamil] program is now being run entirely by the Iraqi Army. This is the training program started in late 2010 to begin training the Iraqi Army in external defense. The Iraqi Army’s 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 10th Divisions are participating and the 8th Division has arranged its own version of the trainingwith US Forces.
Iraqi logistics facilities in the south appear to be expanding.
"The Iraqi army will take over newly constructed supply warehouses in a few months at two locations in southern Iraq. But before the personnel turn on the lights and begin working, they need some visual assistance. Members of the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, and the U.S. Air Force’s Echelon Above Division – Advising Team provided members of the Iraqi partnering force with a tour of a fully-operational supply support activity facility July 30."
This could be part of establishing a Level 3 [Corps] National Depot [Sustainment Brigade] in the south.
"BAE Systems, Land & Armaments in York, PA receives a $9.2 million firm-fixed-price contract for 6 ILAV troop carriers; 3 Route Clearance ILAVs with robotic arms attached up front; and 1 option and 1 lot of interrogator arm repair kits for 44 damaged vehicles in the field.”
The ILAV is a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected [MRAP/light armored personnel carrier] used by the Iraqi Army for clearing Improvised Explosive Devices [IEDs/mines].
It is possible that Iraq is acquiring additional T72 tanks from Europe. In the Iraqi-Czech Oil for aircraft negotiations reported, it is also mentioned that refurbishing T72 tanks and Mi17s helicopters may be part of the deal. The Iraqi Army is short approximately 350-370 tanks needed for the mechanization of the 5th and 7th Divisions.
While no new aircraft purchases have been finalized, negotiations continue. A possible Iraqi-Czech Oil for aircraft deal is being negotiated. Either 24 or 36 L159 Armed Jet Trainers are involved in this negotiation.
The delivery of AN-32 transports remains hung-up. The first 3 were originally to have delivered last year but, the Iraqis refused them because the Ukrainians had used old parts and engines in violation of the contract.
The Iraqi Navy conducted its first dry-docking on 4 August. This is a major first step in upper level maintenance of its vessels.
"The new vessels raise the Iraqi navy’s patrol boat force to five of 12 ordered. The remaining Swift boats are expected to arrive in Iraq before 2013."
Iraqi Ministry of Interior
The Iraqi Oil Police Directorate continues to receive training similar to the Federal Police from NATO Training Mission-I [NTM-I].
"Oil Police recruits undergo a seven week basic course taught by the Carabinieri Gendarmerie Training Unit that expands upon the current NTM-I Federal Police Training Program, said Di Rosalia. Twenty courses are taught in the duration of the course, said Lt. Augusto Sorvillo, commander of the Carabinieri tactical training team at Camp Dublin. “Some of the topics covered in the specialized course include basic land navigation, topography, oil infrastructure technology, weapons skills, self defense, crime scene preservation and surveillance procedures,” said Sorvillo." "By the end of August the Iraqi Oil Police will complete its fifth cycle. At this time, approximately 1,000 oil police have been trained."
Iraqi Army divisions upgrading. IA divisions upgrading to armor/mechanized are in red. Orange indicates planned armor/mechanized upgrade. Green indicates no noted or known plans for armor/mechanized upgrade.
A pattern has started to develop in the armor and mechanization of Iraqi Army divisions. As the 9th Armored Division upgrades to M1A1 tanks, M113 and BTR4 armored personnel carriers, the older armor is transferred to other divisions. This has established a pattern of 3 sets of 3 divisions [9 total divisions] planned for upgrade and has identified the probable sequencing of the upgrades. However, there are several key items still missing – only the major items will be addressed.
Based on the absence of orders for key weapons and the time needed to train/reorganize, the IA is 10-15 years from reaching its planned structure. The IA has a long way to go in upgrading to a viable force to defend Iraq from external enemies.
Who’s upgrading to Mechanized or Armored?
The 3 divisions with the first priority for upgrade are the 9th Armored Division, followed by the 5th Division, then the 7th Division. 5th and 7th Divisions are reported to be training for the receipt of M113s and are to be mechanized divisions. What tanks are to be used for this upgrade are not known. The T55 equipped tank regiments are the only tanks handed down from 9th Armored Division and they did not go to either of these divisions.
In the second set of three divisions are the divisions with old armor in more than one brigade. These are the 6th Division followed by the 3rd and 11th Divisions. The 6th Division has 2 BMP1 equipped battalions in 2 different brigades and has 2 battalions trained on M113s in a third brigade. The 3rd Division has a T55 equipped tank regiment in 1 brigade and a M113 equipped mechanized battalion in another brigade. The 11th Division has a BMP1 equipped mechanized battalion in one brigade and a MTLB equipped mechanized battalion in another brigade. [Regiment is the same as battalion in IA usage.]
The third priority of upgrades appears to be the 3 divisions with only 1 battalion of tracked armor so far. These are the 14th Division with a T55 equipped tank regiment from 9th Armored Division; the 8th Division with a BMP1 equipped mechanized battalion from 9th Armored Division, and the 12th Division which is reported to be getting a tank regiment. The source of those tanks is unknown.
A tenth division cannot be excluded from this estimate despite no signs of armor. The 10th Division is located in an area that should have a mechanized division. It may be too far down the priority list to receive upgrades so far.
Where are the tanks?
One of the major missing components for this upgrade is tanks. An IA tank/armored division should have 7 tank regiments [245 tanks]. An IA mechanized division should have 5 tank regiments [175 tanks]. The entire IA will only have 10 equipped tank regiments when the last of the order of 140 M1A1s arrive next month.
The 4 T72 and 4 M1A1 equipped tank regiments are still reported in the 9th Armored Division. The 2 T55 equipped tank regiments were handed down to 3rd and 14th Divisions. This indicates that the IA plans to acquire 350 more tanks soon to mechanize the 5th and 7th Divisions. There are no reported orders of additional tanks. Even the option for an additional 140 M1A1s [4 tank regiments] has not been reported as implemented.
Where are the howitzers?
Field artillery is required for all IA divisions. Iraqi divisions require 72 howitzers or multiple-rocket launchers each. While many old howitzers have been put on display – they have not been seen to actually fire. They are estimated to be for training, show, and drill purposes only.
The 24 M109 self-propelled 155mm howitzers transferred from the US are in the 9th Armored Division. The 40 delivered of 120 ordered M198 towed 155mm howitzers from the US have shown up in 5th and 3rd or 2nd Divisions. There are no reported orders of additional field artillery at this time.
Where are the Brigade Support Battalions?
While you can get away without brigade support battalions for infantry in a counter-insurgency role – they are necessary support for motorized, mechanized, and armored brigades. Only the 9th Armored Division and Iraqi Special Operations Force have BSBs so far. There are indications that 14th Division is preparing to break up its 14th “Provisional” Motor Transport Regiment as cadre for the 4 BSBs and the Maintenance Battalion needed. No signs of this type of upgrade in any other divisions at this time.
Where are the additional Engineers?
While light infantry divisions normally have only 1 engineering battalion – heavy divisions normally have a brigade of engineers. The 9th Armored Division has started to form the 9th Bridging Regiment to go with its 9th Field Engineer Regiment. No other division has been reported upgrading this component.
Is there a possible corps structure forming?
While currently denied by USF-I PAO, there are distinct signs that the IA is starting to organize its divisions into 4-5 corps as was announced as planned in 2008. As the IA becomes more mechanized, armored, and motorized – corps level sustainment brigades become essential – especially for areas away from the Taji army level depots. Recent reporting of logistics upgrades at Nasariyah indicate that a corps-level sustainment brigade is being established there and that 10th Division HQ/support is moving to Amarah and Memona. The 4 IA corps’ appear to be being organized into 3 divisions each: 2 [eventual] heavy divisions and an infantry division [motorized?] in each peacetime IA corps.
The infantry divisions will probably be motorized using handed down vehicles from upgraded heavy divisions and/or new acquired MRAPs. There are reports indicating possible light armored personnel carrier purchases from Turkey and Poland.
Nasariyah/Ali Base support structure appears to be expanding and would be the logical location for a southern corps sustainment brigade. Bayji’s Support Battalion may be the initial component of the western corps sustainment brigade. Taji and Balad are also likely sites for additional corps sustainment brigades. The relocation activities at Taji could be making room for a corps sustainment brigade. Balad is starting to transfer to Iraq use and would be a logical site for a corps sustainment brigade.
The 9th Armored Division and the 1st Infantry Division have been used as IA/IGFC Strategic Reserve and will probably not be assigned to specific IA corps. Of note, the 1st Division may be receiving airborne/airmobile training from the US 2/82 Brigade.
The IA plans to be heavy. The IA provides the heavy divisions in a war but, not all of the combat forces. The Kurdish Regional Border Guards, Iraqi Department of Border Enforcement, Iraqi Federal Police, and Iraqi Marines provide additional infantry forces in wartime:
- KRBG: 4-6 division equivalents.
- DBE: 5 division equivalents.
- FP: 4 divisions with 2 more forming. Projected to 10-14 divisions planned.
- Marines: 1 brigade. 1 division probably planned.
The IA has a long way to go in upgrading to a viable force to defend Iraq from external enemies. Based on the absence of orders for key weapons and the time needed to train/reorganize, the IA is 10-15 years from reaching its planned structure.
Related:Iraqi Security Force Update May 2011 Iraqi Security Force Update August 2011
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during July 2011. “The Missing Links – A Realistic Appraisal of the Iraqi Army” was published separately and will not be addressed here. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 July 2011. Highlights in this update include:
- Locations of 4th and 18th RGB; Golden Lions has new base.
- Najaf turned over to IA; IA taking over route-clearance in Kirkuk; Route-clearance training in Basrah; New Tank Regiment planned for Kirkuk; Second shipment of BTR-4s by end-year; Kipri MRAPs offered to Iraq; Mortar training for IA; Update on M1A1, M109A5, M198, and M113 deliveries; 700 tanks claimed by IMoD?
- F16 negotiations; Possible I-Hawks.
- Patrol Boats P304 and P306 to deliver in August.
- Commando training for Abu Risha IFP Brigade.
The 4th Regional Guards Brigade was reported training near Chuar-Qurna village. The 4th RGB was previously located in Kirkuk province. The first location for the 18th RGB was reported in Kurdistan’s Balak Area.
The Joint-Combined Kurdish/Iraqi IA/IP/IFP/KRG "Golden Lions” has expanded to a Battalion and has a new base at Contingency Operating Site Warrior.
The last US forces departed Najaf Province and handed off to the IA’s 8th Division. This is the second province to turn over to the IA this summer. Karbala Province was the first.
The IA is taking over route-clearance operations in Kirkuk. "Iraqi army soldiers of 12th Field Engineer Regiment graduated a route clearance training course during a ceremony at the K1 Training Center, Kirkuk province, Iraq, July 2."
14th Field Engineer Regiment in Basrah is receiving route-clearance training on the ILAV with claw. This is the first report of 14 Division receiving this training.
K1 turned over to the IA and is to eventually host a Tank Regiment – probably in the 15th Brigade. “This base will eventually be turned over from Location Command to the 12th Iraqi Army Division,” said Hall. “The 12th IA is planning on using the K1 facility to support a new tank regiment that is forming. The regiment is not on the ground yet, but it is in the working for the future.” Either all of the IA infantry divisions are getting a heavy brigade or the 12th Division is to be a heavy division. There have been armored/mech planned upgrades, elements, and/or training in 9 of the 14 IA divisions to date: 3rd, 5th Mech, 6th, 7th Mech, 8th, 9th Armored, 11th, 12th, and 14th.
Ukrainians are claiming that "The second shipment of BTR-4 infantry combat vehicles to Iraq will be done on time despite problems in the delivery of parts.” “The second shipment, 62 infantry combat vehicles, will be sent by the end of the year.”
Kirpi MRAPs offered to Iraq. "Turkey’s BMC company will soon export to Iraq and Afghanistan Kirpi, its mine resistant, ambush protected, armored vehicle, which the Turkish Armed Forces also uses." No actual sale has been made.
While the US is starting to turn over external training to the IA, the IA is still requesting additional US training. "Brig. Gen. Abdul Amir, commander of the 10th IA Division, was so pleased with the operation that he said he would take over mortar capability in the future, and requested a training plan that builds Iraqi army mortar skills to the point where the Iraqis conduct all fire missions and U.S. forces only provide over watch."
In response to an RFI on Iraqi tanks, 1LT Joseph Larrew, Battle Captain, Media Operations Center, US Embassy-Baghdad provided the following update on US equipment deliveries:
“As of July 13, 2011:
- 123 of 140 M1A1s have arrived at COS Hammer, 120 are deprocessed and 61 have been transferred to the IA. 12 more M1A1s will arrive at Umm Qasr Port on 24JUL.
- All 24 M109A5 self-propelled Howitzers have been de-processed and 13 are ready for issue and training.
- 40 of the 120 M198 Towed Howitzers delivered to Taji. 23 are ready to be transferred to IA and 4 have been issued to IA.
- M113 Family of Vehicle (FOV) Armored Personnel Carriers: First 56 of 1026 are scheduled to arrive at Umm Qasr on 23 July. Delivery of 50 more is scheduled for mid August 2011. Deprocessing and handover of all M113 will be completed by March 2012.”
When you factor in training time after issue, this equipment should be in operational combat capable formations in 12-18 months. The M1A1 tanks and M109A4 self-propelled Howitzers are going to 9th Armored Division. The M198 Howitzers have been appearing in 5th and 2nd or 3rd Division. The M113s are reported going to 9th Armored, 5th Mech, and 7th Mech Divisions plus the 56/6 (Baghdad) Brigade.
An Investors Iraq report claimed that the IMoD report to Parliament listed 700 tanks in the IA. "The report stated that the army had advanced 700 tanks, including 145 tanks, "Abrams" combat, and 60 helicopters.” The problem with this report is that Iraq has less than half that number of tanks. These missing 350 tanks are a major missing component for the planned mechanization of 5th and 7th Divisions. There are several possible answers to why the Iraqi Ministry of Defense would claim 700 tanks:
- One unconfirmed claim by a commenter (Jack winters 07/26/2011 02:55:38) is that the IMoD report included 350 Kurdish held T55/T62 tanks acquired in 2003. The problem with this is that the KRG is reported to have only 81 operational tanks organized into 2 Tank Battalions and an Independent Tank Company. Fewer than 10 percent of the 2,300 tanks from the old IA are salvageable – most were demolished by MNF to prevent enemy forces from returning them to action during the invasion of 2003. It is unlikely that there are 350 additional tanks left in Iraq [including the KRG] that can be salvaged.
- Another possibility is that the IA is about to take delivery of 350 tanks from another source. In April 2007, the Commander of IGFC is reported to have stated that “Two more divisions should become operational in June, and their M60 main battle tanks, M113 armored personnel carriers and other mostly U.S.- and Western-built heavy weapons will arrive in the second half of the year.” It is possible that this was a mis-translation. He might have meant “second phase” instead of “second half of the year”. In 2007 the M60 tanks, M113s, and heavy weapons never appeared. Phase 2 of IMoD’s planned upgrades started this year and M113s plus heavy weapons [155mm howitzers] are now arriving. Additionally, the Hellenic Army is disposing of 361 M60A1s and this could be the source to these tanks.
- The Ukrainians were hoping to sell tanks to the IA to go with the BTR4s. Given the problems with the BTR4 and An32 buys, this is unlikely – but cannot be excluded.
- The Iraqis could be buying tanks from another non-US source that hasn’t leaked yet. US purchases require advanced notices to Congress and there have been no new notices posted.
There have been reports of offers of Mirage 2000, Typhoon, Hawk, Korean T50 aircraft through the month. After repeated reports that Iraq was restarting negotiations to buy 36 F16 fighters to be based at Balad and Ali Air Bases, an Iraqi Government spokesman denied it, only to have the Prime Minister announce the negotiations. Surplus money from oil experts is to be spent for these 36 F16 aircraft. F16 negotiations and possible fighter purchases have been on-again/off-again for 4 years. No contract(s) has been signed for any of these aircraft so far.
There is an unconfirmed report from a commenter (Jack winters 07/25/2011 03:24:16) that Iraq is looking at buying I-Hawk surface-to-air missiles as part of its air defense.
In June, patrol boats P304 and P306 were loaded for shipping to Iraq. According to 1LT Joseph Larrew, Battle Captain, Media Operations Center, US Embassy-Baghdad: "PB 305 was actually delayed in construction and is now scheduled to arrive early September, however, PB 304 and 306 are scheduled to arrive in August."
Iraqi Ministry of Interior
The Abu Risha Federal Police Brigade was reported receiving “commando” training at Ramadi. This is the first time in over a year that this IFP Brigade has been mentioned. Commando training and calling them IP could indicate they are transferring to the MoI Emergency Response Force.
Iraqi Line Battalions as of July 2011. Only the tank and BTR4 equipped battalions have anti-tank capabilities.
[I’m supposed to be working on a novel but, some fantasyland comments about the Iraqi Army have intruded into my science fiction writing.]
Recently a comment was made that the Iraqi Army is the best Arab army in the Mid-East. That it had been trained by the US in Corps- and Division- level operations and thus was better than the rest of the Arab armies since they only effectively operate at Brigade-level. This is pure fantasy – the IA doesn’t have Corps and only started expanding divisional communications this year. Even the Iraqi Ministry of Defense never planned on the Iraqi Army being at that level of capabilities prior to 2020.
There are major differences between counter-insurgency operations and external security. Low-intensity conflict [AKA COIN] is infantry- and intelligence-centric. Combined Arms capabilities and large-scale unit operations, while useful, are not essential to COIN. Armor, air defense, and artillery are not major players in COIN. In high intensity conflict [AKA conventional warfare] armor, air, and artillery [etc] operating as large-scale combined arms make or break you. The IA is only equipped and trained as a COIN force at this time.
The Iraqi Security Forces are on a planned development schedule. Phase 1 is complete but, according to the Iraqi Minister of Defense, Phase 2 and 3 may be delayed in completion.
Phase 1 – Tactical Independence [2006-2010].
- This is internal security only [COIN].
- The Iraqi Army in the lead performing police functions.
Phase 2 – Operational Independence [2011-2015].
- This is the beginning of the Iraqi Army training and transitioning to external security while the Federal Police start to take over internal security.
- Four IA Divisions [3rd, 5th, 7th, and 10th] started rotating battalions through US lead external security training in November 2010. There are 14 divisions in the IA. 18-20 are planned.
- The 8th IA Division was unofficially added to this external training in February 2011.
- The 9th Division is still in the process of training on the new equipment [M1A1s/M113s/BTR4s/M109s/etc] being received and is not yet in this external defense program.
- The IA is receiving additional armor, standing up its first howitzer equipped formations, its first chemical defense battalion, its first divisional signals battalions, additional engineers, and is mechanizing the 5th Division. · The FP is adding one or two divisions to expand its internal security capacity this year.
- The Iraqi Air Force was going to buy F16s but, that money was diverted to welfare programs. Iraq has no air defense at this time.
- The helicopter assets of the Iraqi Air Force have been transferred to the IA, reducing the IqAF to a propeller-driven training, recon, and transport wing [7 squadrons].
Phase 3 – Strategic Independence [2016-2020].
- This is the period that the IA plans to be external security with the Federal Police training on its secondary role as IA reserve infantry. Local police taking over the lead for internal security with FP in over-watch.
- During this period, the IqAF was expected to have a legit air defense. Repeated delays in purchasing jet trainers and fighters make this goal unlikely to be met.
To some people, the IA seems large. Taken in context of their neighbors strengths, they are weak. Iran, Syria, and Turkey individually out-number and out-gun the IA in every measurable category. Jordan, Saudi, and Kuwait individually out-number and out-gun the IA in all categories except infantry. The smallest air force bordering Iraq has 100 jets - Iraq has none. Kuwait, with the equivalent of only a reinforced Armored Division for an army, has more Tanks, MICVs, APCs, Howitzers, etc. than Iraq has. Also note that half of these bordering countries are known to have chemical weapons.
[I only gave the IA 2 weeks in a war with Iran’s 48 Army and RG divisions because of Iranian logistical deficiencies.]
This is a list of major deficiencies in the IA by unit-size. It is not all-inclusive. The FP and DBE are 5 years behind the IA in development – they would require their own book to list their problems:
- No chemical defense suits or training.
- No Air Defense [MANPADS].
- No chemical defense.
- No air defense.
- No Anti-Tank capacity except in the few Tank Regiments [10 battalions] and the BTR4 equipping Commando Battalions [~10]. [RPGs are platoon and squad level.]
- No chemical defense. Each brigade should have a chemical defense company.
- No air defense. Each brigade should have an air defense battery.
- No anti-tank capacity. Each brigade should have an anti-tank company at minimum.
- Most have no howitzers. Operational howitzers only started fielding this year. Each brigade is to have a field artillery battalion with 18 120mm mortars and 6 155mm howitzers. [US field artillery battalions have all howitzers/MLRS.]
- Most do not have Brigade Support Battalions. Only the 6 brigades of the 9th Division and ISOF have Level 1 maintenance support. This is part of the reason why half of the IA’s HMMWVs are inoperable.
- No chemical defense. The first IA chemical defense regiment [battalion] formed this year. Each division should have a chemical defense battalion.
- Most do not have adequate communications. Only 3 of the divisions have commissioned signals battalions this year.
- While each division has an Engineer Regiment [battalion], the heavy divisions will require a brigade. Only one division is expanding its engineers.
- No air defense. Each division should have an air defense battalion.
- Limited anti-tank capacity. Only just starting to equip the divisional commando battalions with BTR4/Barrier ATGW.
- Most divisions have no howitzers. Operational howitzers only started fielding this year in 2 battalions. Each division is to have 2-3 field artillery battalions [regiments] with 18-24 155mm howitzers or MLRs each. [US field artillery battalions have all howitzers/MLRS.]
- Most divisions do not have Maintenance Battalions. Only the 9th Division has a maintenance battalion. Most level 1, 2, or 3 maintenance support has to be done at the level 4 facilities [Taji].
- Non-existent. There should be 4-5 corps in the IA.
- While the Joint Operational Commands can provide corps-level command and control, most do not have adequate communications and do not provide combat and logistics support.
- No air defense. Corps’ normally have Air Defense Brigades.
- No combat reserve. Corps’ normally have 1-2 independent line brigades to commit to key areas.
- No rear-area security. 1-2 Military Police or infantry brigades are normally assigned to provide convoy security and patrol the rear-areas of each corps.
- No artillery. Corps’ normally have 1-2 Field Artillery Brigades each to provide heavy fire-support.
- No Level 3 support. No Sustainment Brigades. The absence of Level 1 and 3 maintenance and logistical support is why the IA has large numbers of vehicles inoperable and fuel shortages when only in a low-intensity conflict. In a conventional war, High-Intensity Conflict, the IA would collapse.
- IGFC can provide army-level command and control, logistics and maintenance but, it is overwhelmed having to fill the role of both Army and 4 corps’ worth of support.
- Iraqi supply is still a pull system where you request support/supplies and then wait. They need to correct that. The US Army uses a push system where supply needs are anticipated by higher level and provided without request.
- While the APC component is progressing, the IA is not acquiring sufficient tanks and anti-tank capabilities to go with them. The IA needs to purchase at least an additional 400-600 tanks to operate with the 420 BTR4 and over 600 M113A2s APCs that are starting to arrive.
- The number of howitzers procured so far only equips 2 of the 14 existing divisions. The IA needs enough for all its forces including corps’ level artillery brigades, plus enough to support the FP and DBE in their wartime infantry roles.
- Air defense does not exist at any level.
- Most divisions have no anti-tank capability beyond squad-level RPGs.
- No air defense. Who cares how bad your neighbor’s air force is when you have nothing to oppose it with…
- Still standing up Sector Operations Centers so they can watch the enemy bomb them unopposed.
- No jets. Not even trainers. Until they have the aircraft and support equipment, they can’t train on them. It takes 3-5 years of training before a fighter squadron is combat effective after it is equipped. You can’t train on what you don’t have. Iraq needs a minimum of 5 operational fighter squadrons – preferably 10.
- No air or air defense.
- Capable of inshore work but, the lack of missile capability makes them vulnerable in engagements away from the radar-seeker shadow of the coast.
The IA is on par with the ROK Army in June 1950 – missing major capabilities and only capable of internal security, but without the terrain advantages of Korea. The Iraqi Army is progressing almost on schedule. But it is not ready to stand alone and never was planned to stand alone at this time. 2012 was a political date – not a realistic one…
Related: ISF OOB
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during June 2011. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 June 2011. Highlights in this update include:
- Golden Lions are now a battalion-sized force.
- 5th Division mechanizing; The first 2 divisional artillery battalions may have been identified receiving M198 training; The fifth cycle of battalion training in external defense has completed; 14th Division’s logistics force may be reorganizing.
- Oil-for-Aircraft deal for Korean jet trainers?; 4 Mi-171s received; Contract for maintenance and support may be made through US FMS.
The “Golden Lions” Combined Security Force at Kirkuk is now a battalion-sized force. Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, Kurdish Security Forces, and American Soldiers established the CSF in 2009 as a combined unit with the mission of working together to provide security in the area surrounding Kirkuk City. “In 2009 you established a company-sized formation,” said Col. Michael Pappal, commander, 1st Advise and Assist Task Force, 1st Infantry Division, during his remarks. “Today, we are all here, witnessing your growth from a company to a battalion under American advisement, not control.”
The Kurdish 1st Regional Guards Brigade continues to train at Kirkuk.
The Iraqi Army’s 5th Division is mechanizing. “Iraqi army soldiers selected from four brigades of 5th IA Division conducted operator training on the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier vehicle with assistance from U.S. soldiers from 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 25th Infantry Division at Kirkush Military Training Base, Iraq, April 27. During the M113 training cycle, focused on training the IA on becoming master drivers and vehicle maintenance specialists, students learned basic operating procedures and vehicle maneuvering skills, as well as troubleshooting vehicle malfunctions.” The tanks to go with the M113s have not been identified but, they are probably T72s from the being replaced with M1A1s in the 9th Division.
The first Iraqi Army divisional artillery has been identified. “Iraqi army soldiers assigned to 5th IA Division’s newly formed 105th Field Artillery Regiment practiced crew drills on their M198 155mm howitzers at Kirkush Military Training Base, Iraq, May 9. U.S. soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 25th Infantry Division instructed the Iraqi soldiers during a dedicated field artillery training course at KMTB as the gun crews become the foundation of the growing IA field artillery corps.”
Another divisional field artillery regiment has been reported near Mosul with M198s. The reporting says this battalion is with 2nd Division but, the division ID might be in error. The adjacent 3rd Division has been using 2nd Division’s training areas and is receiving training and upgrade to perform external security.
The IA 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 10th Divisions completed their fifth cycle of battalion training in external defense during June. Only the 1-10/3 Battalion was specifically identified in this training cycle.
The 14th Division’s Motor Transport Regiment is still reported as the "14th Provision Transportation Command". This indicates that the MTR is still considered a temporary formation and that the 14th Division plans to establish brigade support battalions in the near future. The only division in the IA with BSBs does not have an MTR – the transport elements are split among the BSBs.
The Iraqis may have made an oil-for-aircraft deal for Korean T-50 jet trainers. If so, this indicates serious budget issues and makes the reported deal with the Czechs for L159 jet trainers questionable.
The Army Air Corps now has 22 Mi-171. 4 were delivered in June.
"The Government of Iraq has requested a possible sale of follow-on support and maintenance of multiple aircraft systems that include TC-208s, Cessna 172s, AC-208s, T-6As, and King Air 350s. Included are ground stations, repair and return, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering, logistics, and technical support services, and other related elements of logistics support."
The USNI blog has a good article up. The basic problem is one that has been arround since humans started organizing: Rank Inflation. Bureaucracies tend to keep expanding until they become so top-heavy as to capsize.
"The Naval Vessel Registry lists 245 active hulls as of June, 2011. The same registry lists 268 Flag Officers: 243 Active, 22 Active Duty for Special Work, and 3 Full Time Support. Last time I walked the Naval Station piers, only three ships had broken an Admiral’s Flag at the masthead. Merging Second Fleet into Fleet Forces Command is supposedly one such “cost savings” designed to optimize the Fleet. But, no Flag billets were harmed in the merger."
I've said this before. We need to cut the officer ranks in half. At flag level, we need to cut about 70-80 percent. Keep in mind that only the USMC has a lower ratio of officers to enlisted than the USN. And the military is less bloated than the rest of the US Government...
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during May 2011. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 June 2011. Of note, Karabala became the first non-Kurdish province to have no US units based in it in May and NATO Training Mission – Iraq is discussing training planned through the end of 2013. Highlights in this update include:
- Peshmerga RGB development – 15th and 16th IA Mountain Divisions cancelled.
- External Training of IA continues; M198 training in 5th IA Division; BTR4s confirmed in Iraq.
- JBB beginning to turn over to IqAF; Second long-range radar contract awarded; L159s probably being bought; An32 delivery may be accelerated; EC635s and Mi171s arrive.
- More radios for the Federal Police; 1st Mech FP Brigade OPCON 4th FP Division.
While the Kurdish Regional Guards Brigades [RGBs] continue to form and train, the planned establishment of Iraqi Mountain Divisions from some of these brigades has been cancelled by Prime Minister Maliki at some time prior to April. The first 4 RGBs are built and operational [1st through 4th]. Four more RGBs are being assembled [5th through 8th]. A further 4 are authorized by the KRG President and are budgeted [9th through 12th]. The US is providing limited assistance in training and equipping these RGBs through the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The US will not build camps or provide the same equipment sets to RGBs as to Iraqi Army. While the RGBs are to be mixed KDP/PUK, there are some questions as to how much mixing is actually occurring.
External Defense training continues including the separate training deal worked out between the IA 8th Division and the US 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. “Members of the 3rd Battalion, 32nd Brigade, 8th Iraqi Army Division, completed three weeks of training April 27. The 3rd Battalion is the second Iraqi unit to complete training as a part of Eagles Rising, a comprehensive training program developed by the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment to enhance the combat capabilities of Iraqi soldiers." Reporting of “All Inclusive Training” in the other 4 IA divisions [3rd, 5th, 7th, and 10th] has started to omit IA battalion identifications making tracking of details concerning this training difficult.
The 20/5 Brigade was training on former US M198 howitzers on 27 April at Kirkush. This is the first report of M198 155mm howitzer training in the IA. Additional elements of the IA 5th Division have also been reported training on M198s. One of those units is the newly identified "105th Field Artillery Regiment, 5th Iraqi Army Division". This would be the first divisional Field Artillery Regiment confirmed to have operational howitzers in the IA and is the first IA divisional Field Artillery Regiment identified in press releases.
Unofficial confirmation that the first shipment of BTR4s have arrived in Iraq was provided in comments to last month’s update.
Joint Base Balad is beginning its planned turnover to the IqAF. "The Iraqi air force is one step closer to taking ownership of JBB. A trio of officers and 11 enlisted airmen arrived May 15 to in-process here. The group is part of the advance echelon team of 60 Iraqi airmen projected to arrive."
A contract to provide a turn-key Long Range Radar 2 site for the Iraqi Air Force was let in May. This is the second of 4 planned long-range ground sites planned for the Sector Operations Centers of the IqAF.
Iraq will probably buy L159s for its armed jet trainer program. While this purchase is not yet approved by the Council of Ministers, these Czech aircraft are not as expensive as the competing offers from South Korea, Italy, and the UK.
While unconfirmed by Iraqi sources, the An32 delivery may be accelerated. "Antonov State Enterprise (Kyiv) may supply six light An-32 planes under a contract with Iraq ahead of schedule. Three out of the six aircraft have been already assembled in Ukraine but haven't been accepted by Iraqi side yet, Director of Antonov Serial Plant Mykola Podhrebelny told reporter. According to him, immediately after the enterprise receives the money for the first planes, they will start assembling the three remaining and may transfer them before 2012, which is a deadline set in the contract." Of note, this is not the first time that the Ukrainian provider has tried to deliver these An32s. The Iraqi inspection team rejected these same 3 aircraft in the fall of 2010 when they discovered used avionics and engines had been used in violation of the contract.
Helicopters for the Army Air Corps continue to arrive. The first 2 EC635T2, armed with Ingwe ATM, Nexter NC-621 20mm cannon, and Herstal HMP-400 12.7 machine guns are reported to have arrived in Iraq. Also, Iraqi and American officials celebrated the delivery of two Mi-171E helicopters. The delivery marked the ninth and tenth Mi-171E helicopter aircraft to arrive from a 14-aircraft. Two additional M-171Es were delivered to the base in the previous week. In total, the Iraqi Army Aviation Command currently has 16 Mi-17 (legacy model Mi-171s) and 18 Mi-171E helicopters in its inventory. The remaining four Mi-171 helicopters are scheduled to be delivered before this fall.
Ministry of Interior
Iraq has requested a possible FMS sale of 750 50-Watt Vehicular Multiband Handheld Radio Systems, 900 5-watt Multiband Handheld Radio Systems, 50 50-watt Multiband Handheld Base Station Radio Systems, 50 20-watt High Frequency (HF) Base Station Radio Systems, and 100 5-watt Secure Personal Role Handheld Radio Systems for the Iraqi Federal Police Force. This is part of the retraining, re-equipping, and re-designation program transferring the provincial Emergency Police to the Federal Police.
The 1st Mechanized Brigade, 4th Iraqi Federal Police Division, was reported in south Baghdad. There has been reported only one 1st Mechanized FP Brigade. This brigade was previously attached to the 2nd FP Division. Elements of the 4th FP Division continue to be reported in south Baghdad despite its planned assumption of control of southern Iraqi provinces. These elements are probably undergoing field training in preparation for redeployment to the south. That redeployment may or may not include the mech.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during April 2011. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 April 2011. Highlights in this update include:
- KRGB Soldiers graduate Iraqi Intelligence and Military Security School.
- Breakdown of 1,026 M113 FOVs being provided to Iraq; 1st shipment of BTR4s to Iraq; M1A1 training and deliveries; First IA M88A2 training; External Defense Training; External Defense Exercises; Divisional MI Battalions?; Scout Sniper training.
- US IPs depart AAC Squadron after 5 years; Czech L159s to be offered to Iraq.
- MoI is not ready despite claims of politicians; ERB identified; Maysan to be first to hand over to Police primacy; Oil Police graduation.
KRBG troops are attending Iraqi Army Intelligence training at Taji. "Of the 302 graduates, 35 NCOs are Kurdish Regional Guard Brigade Soldiers." This Intelligence training is at the Intelligence and Military Security School at Camp Taji.
On 20 April, the US DSCA Excess Defense Articles board updated for Iraq in 2010. While many of the major items listed under 22 June 2010 and 24 September 2010 had already been reported, this update finally provided a breakdown of the 1,026 M113 variants being provided to the Iraqi Army:
- 120 M198 155mm towed howitzers [54 on 22 June and 66 on 24 September];
- 14 MRAP non-standard [22 June];
- 20 M88A1 [24 September];
- 618 M113A2 APC [440 on 22 June and 178 on 24 September];
- 68 M113A2 Ambulances [24 September];
- 192 M548A1 Cargo Carriers [24 September];
- 66 M1064 120mm Mortar Carriers [24 September];
- 80 M577A2 Command Posts [24 September];
- 2 M577A2 Emergency Medical Treatment Vehicles [24 September].
According to Ukrainian reporting, the first shipment of 26 BTR4s are accepted and delivering. This first shipment is reported to be “20 regular APCs, four command APCs and two medical APCs”. The next shipment of 62 is planned to be ready by September. It is possible that Iraq will have 400 BTR-4 variants by 2013. None of this reporting has been confirmed by Iraqi sources.
Elements of the 37/9 Brigade has started training on M1A1 tanks. All 4 of 9th Division's Brigades have not been reported as receiving M1A1 training. 99 of 140 M1A1s have been delivered as of the end of April.
"Fourteen Iraqi Army soldiers from the 9th Mechanized Division recently began the M88A2 Operator New Equipment Training Course at the Besmaya Combat Training Center here, March 7. This course marks the first time Iraqi army soldiers have worked with the M88A2 heavy equipment recovery combat utility lift and evacuation system vehicle. The 55-day course teaches them how to operate the M88A2 HERCULES, which will be used to recover the M1A1 Abrams to bring them back to the shop for repairs.”
The 1-9/3 Battalion has been identified receiving external defense training as well as unidentified elements of 19/5 Brigade. The first cycle of this training focused on 3 battalions from 4 brigades in 4 different divisions: The 11/3, 21/5, 28/7, and 40/10 Brigades. The second cycle of this training is starting to hand off to supervised IA instructors and is training the 9/3, 19/5, ?/7 and 39/10 Brigades. Additionally the 8th IA Division has arranged with the US 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment for their own version of this external defense training and the 30/8 Brigade has been rotating its battalions though.
On 19 April, Al Sumaria reported that: Iraq’s Defense Ministry announced on Monday that Iraqi Land Forces have started training their troops since early 2011 in order to leave cities and shift operations from anti-terrorism to border protection operations. 20 comprehensive training exercises were carried out in the different regions of Iraq, the Defense Ministry said. Iraqi Land Forces are carrying out training missions to leave the cities, Defense Ministry Land Forces Chief Brigadier General Ali Ghaydan said. “A 9th Division Regiment in Baghdad conducted its first mobilization training on Monday with the participation of Brigadier 34 Regiment [34/9 Mechanized Brigade] troops and Army Aviation [2nd and 15th Squadrons]”, Ghaydan said. “Training exercises constitute a shift in Iraq’s Army operations from deployment and anti-terrorism operations to mobilization and operational trainings that should upgrade Iraq’s Army capacities to defend the country’s borders”, Brigadier General Ali Ghaydan added. “Iraqi Land Forces started since early 2011 comprehensive trainings including four divisions in northern [3rd], southern [10th], western [7th] and central [5th] units” Ghaydan stated. “Regiments will conduct 16 training exercises at the end of this year in addition to the four training operations that will be carried out this month”, he added.
The exercise mentioned for the 34/9 Brigade is one of several “Lion’s Leap” brigade-sized external defense training exercises going on throughout Iraq reported in 9th, 12th, and 14th IA Divisions. Of interest from that exercise photography, this is the first report of BMP1s in 4-34/9 battalion [the 4-34/9 was Tahla equipped - not BMP1s] and the first exercise where Iraqi M1A1s and BMP1s worked together.
The 12th Division now has an “Intelligence Battalion”. I estimate they are referring to the 12th Commando [ISR/I&R] Battalion but, this could mean the expansion of the divisional MI Companies to Battalions.
The 17th Division’s Commando Battalion is receiving Scout-Sniper training. "The intent behind the course was to establish a corps of scouts and snipers within the Iraqi army, some of whom will be relied upon as instructors when U.S. forces leave under the Status of Forces Agreement in place between the two governments..."
After more than 5 years, US Instructor Pilots have departed the Huey equipped 2nd Squadron. Notice the length of the timeline. Now consider that jet pilots are much more difficult and take longer to train than Huey pilots. Iraq has yet to buy jet trainers, let alone fighters. The "Czech Prime Minister Petr Necas will offer Iraq subsonic L-159 assault planes [Armed jet trainers] and the upgrading of helicopters during his visit to Iraq in May" but, will Iraq buy them? Iraq has been shopping for jet trainers for over 3 years without results. At this rate, Iraq will not have even a token air defense prior to 2020 [if then] unless the US Air Force remains to provide it.
Ministry of Interior
While “Iraq’s Interior Ministry says is ready to take over internal security from Iraqi Army”, this is mostly propaganda. Most of the MoI forces are at the level of the IA in 2006 and are missing major elements needed.
The 5th Emergency Response Brigade has been identified in Baqubah. There are 18-26 of these brigades planned for MoI.
Apparently, Maysan is the first province to shift to MoI primacy in internal security. This makes some sense as Maysan is home to the 5/4 Federal Police Brigade and enough provincial Emergency Police Battalions to build a MoI Police Division.
- "Missan police department mapped out a new security plan after the withdrawal of army forces from the Amara city,” local police chief said on Monday. “The police prepared a security plan after the 10th division of the Iraqi army withdraws from Amara city,” General Ismail Arar al-Majedi told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. “The plan includes removing army blocs and checkpoints,” he added.
NATO Training Mission graduated its third class of Iraqi Oil Police on 19 April. This class is the largest yet with 252 personnel. The OP is planned to have 42,000 personnel. NTM-I is starting to select Iraqi instructors to carry on this training.
Unless something major comes up, I will probably be only writing ISF monthly updates on the Blog. This month's update article will probably publish tommarow afternoon.
My time is being diverted by a science fiction novel that I am finally writing after thinking about it for 5 years.
New information on ISF is drying up anyway – due to US and Iraqi political gag-orders.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during March 2011. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 March 2011. The articles “Iraqi Logistics - The Missing Links” and “Bloggers Roundtable from a Forgotten Front: Equipment and Training” were addressed separately and will not be addressed here. Highlights in this update include:
- Iraqi Army’s Peshmerga Division.
- US EDA deliveries; BTR4 delivery delayed again; Possible counter-battery radar buy; Joint Intelligence and Operations Center; External Defense training; M1A1 training; Possible division shift from Baghdad; Expansion of divisional support elements; 8/2 Brigade 30 months into 3 month training deployment.
- Fighters and Air Defense; IqAF Hellfire shot with ISOF FAC; 12th Squadron moves to Habbeniyah.
- Up to 6 more PBs to be purchased.
- 4th FP Division elements in south Baghdad; 7/2 FP Brigade moving to Falcon; Basrah 6th ERB reported; Oil Police at 70 percent manning.
The 4th Regional Guard Brigade [RGB] has been reported deployed in Kirkuk. This is the first report of 4th RGB and its home base indicates that it was formed by merging 2 PUK and KDP brigades – the 12th and 43rd Peshmerga Brigades from Irbil. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th RGBs make up a force being called the "Iraqi Army's Peshmerga division". The 1st and 2nd RGBs were already in Kirkuk province while the 3rd RGB is based in northern Diyala. These are all regions where the planned Iraqi Army 16th Mountain Division was to operate. Their operational status could indicate the 16th Mountain Division is to be commissioned this year – 3 years after they were originally to commission.
Delivery of US Excess Defense Articles has started. The 1,026 M113 variants are not fielded yet but, are fielding this year. 23 of 24 M109 self-propelled howitzers are fielded and 8 of the 120 M198 towed howitzers are delivered.
The delivery of Ukrainian APCs is further delayed. The first 26 BTR4 are now supposed to deliver in April. The original contract was for initial deliveries in September 2010.
Iraq may buy counter-battery radars. An FMS notice for the possible purchase of 6 AN/TPQ-36(V)10 FIREFINDER Radar Systems, 18 AN/TPQ-48 Light Weight Counter-Mortar Radars, 3 Meteorological Measuring Sets, 36 export variant Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems, 6 Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems, 3 Position and Azimuth Determining Systems, and support from the US was posted in March. This explains some of the training the IA 6th Division has been receiving from the US.
A joint "Intelligence and Operations Center" is being established to coordinate all the various ISF intelligence collection and dissemination. Intelligence dissemination is a weak point in the ISF.
The training of 4 IA Divisions in external defense continues with 12 battalions trained at the end of March. This training is already starting to shift to IA lead in the 5th Division. The 4 IA Divisions being trained are the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 10th. However, the 8th Division has arranged with the US 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment for its own version of this external defense training.
Elements of the 34/9 Brigade was training at Taji on M1A1s tanks in March, after which they are to go to Besmaya for the Equipment Operator Course. Elements of the 34/9, 35/9, and 36/9 Brigades have been reported training on M1A1s to date. 140 M1A1s are to be delivered to the 9th Armored Division by Aug11.
Elements of 35/9 Brigade were reported in Kadhimiyah district of Baghdad. Previous reporting placed them training on M1A1s at Besmaya or in southeast Baghdad augmenting the 11th & 17th Divisions. The 35/9 Brigade may be replacing the 22/6 Brigade so they can start the 6th Division’s move to Ninawa province. The 6th Division is expected to replace the 3rd Division in Ninawa while the 3rd Division is upgrading in Baghdad – especially Besmaya CTC [IA’s version of the National Training Center].
The 9th Armored Division is now being reported as having a Bridge Regiment. This addition indicates that heavy divisions of the IA will each have an Engineering Brigade complete. All of the Iraqi Army divisions and the Iraqi Ground Force Command already have a Field Engineer Regiment each [15 total] which includes a Bridging Company.
The "Emergency Battalion, 5th IA Division" was reported in March. This is probably the divisional ISR/Commando Battalion. At least 10 of the 14 IA divisions have expanded their ISR/Commando Companies to battalions.
The 12th Division is reported as having a Signal Regiment. This indicates an expansion of the IA divisional Signals Companies to battalion-strength. The 12th Division is one of the junior IA divisions which indicate the other 13 IA divisions already have or have started expanding their communications elements.
The expansion of the Commandos, Bridging, and Signals Companies indicate an expansion of key divisional support and select combat elements. Other IA divisional elements that may expand to battalions include the Chemical Defense, Military Police, Medical, EOD, and Military Intelligence Companies plus the establishment of Brigade Support Battalions in each brigade.
The 8/2 Brigade is still in Anbar attached to 1st Division. The 8/2 Brigade is now 30 months into a 3 month training deployment to Anbar. One possible explanation for this IA brigade remaining in Anbar is the planned IA airborne training in Anbar that was delayed and then cancelled in 2010 when the US 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division redeployed. None of the current US AABs are airborne but, the “2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division” is scheduled to deploy to Iraq this summer. Note the change in designation of the US 2-82 Brigade for this deployment. “Security Force Assistance” falls under a different set of guidelines from AABs.
Iraq is still looking for fighters and air defense. "Hakim Al Zamili, currently a member of the Defense & security committee in the parliament, announced that Iraq is going to sign contracts for American & European Fighter jets & Air defense systems, in a bid to build the Air Defense sector before the American withdrawal. He stated that the F-16 deal was cancelled because of the 3 years delivery schedule & to divert money to collapsing food rationing system." Apparently, “the types of aircraft to be contracted out will be one(s) of the origins of American and European." This indicates that China may be out of this competition leaving France and the US as the only reported potential sellers of fighters. The mention of possible air defense systems did not indicate if they included SAMs or just radar tracking systems.
"The Iraqi air force took a big leap toward air and ground force integration after an AC-208 Cessna Caravan successfully attacked a target called in by Iraqi Special Operations Forces at the Aziziyah Training Range March 23. A two-ship formation of Iraqi air force Cessnas from Squadron 3 at Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq, fired a single air-to-ground missile after receiving ground target coordinates and direction from Iraqi forward air controllers inserted near the target area by Mi-17 helicopters from Camp Taji. The exercise marked the third time ever that Iraqi air force aircraft fired an AGM-114 Hellfire missile in three years as the scenarios increase in complexity and scope between joint Iraqi military forces.” Even more important, it was an ISOF Forward Air Controller calling the shot.
The Iraqi Army Aviation Command transferred the 12th Training Squadron from Kirkuk to Habbeniyah in March. Habbeniyah is to be the Iraqi Army Air Corps’ new training center.
Iraqi Navy and Marines
The Iraqi Navy has modified its contract for patrol boats. They are ordering 3 more 35m patrol boats, with an option for 3 more. If all 6 boats are ordered, then Iraqi Navy orders will total 21 boats plus the 5 they already had. The new boats are expected to be complete by August 2012.
Ministry of Interior
The 4th Federal Police Division has an undetermined number of units operating/training in south Baghdad with the US 6th Squadron, 9th Calvary Regiment attached to 2nd Brigade of 1st Division. The 4th FP Division is supposed to be headquartered in southern Iraq but, elements appear to be held in Baghdad. Other than the HQ, the only identified element still in Baghdad is the newly reported 4th FP Division's Logistics Battalion at JSS Jihad. The only located line formations of the 4th FP Division are 1/4 FP Brigade in Basrah, 4/4 FP Brigade in Wassit, and 5/4 FP Brigade in Maysan. This indicates that 2/4 and/or 3/4 FP Brigades are in southern Baghdad province either for field training prior to deployment south or augmenting Baghdad prepatory for planned IA move out of the cities.
Joint Security Station Falcon is to be the new home to 7/2 Federal Police Brigade when turned over by USF-I. This is to allow the brigade to move out of temporary facilities.
The Basrah 6th Emergency Response Battalion has been reported for the first time. It had been listed as an Emergency Battalion with its location unknown. The designation of ERB indicates the battalion has been trained and is now a full-fledged SWAT battalion.
The Iraqi Oil Police is reported as "currently at around 40,000” or “70 percent of the force required.” At least an additional 12,000 police officers are needed. Major General Hamid Ibrahim, head of Iraq’s oil protection force also said. “If the expansion of the oil sector continues, we need to increase the number according to the expansion, just like all the neighboring countries.” The oil police chief said “another problem was that in most of Iraq’s southern oil fields, security forces had enlisted the help of about 3,500 civilian guards, whom he regarded as a weakness.” These numbers indicate that the Oil Police Battalions are almost manned however, training is still needed.
I participated in a Bloggers Roundtable with the Director of Strategic Effects and United States Forces – Iraq Spokesman Major General Jeffrey Buchanan. I was tail-end Charlie and was surprised that no one asked about the US Excess Defense Articles [EDA] equipment delivery or the external defense training programs for the Iraqi Army [IA] before I did. I was hoping someone else would ask so I could move down my list of questions. It was obvious the General was primed for these 2 topics.
One interesting item was that a joint "Intelligence and Operations Center" is being established to coordinate all the various Iraqi Security Force [ISF] intelligence collection and dissemination. Especially dissemination – this is a weak point in the ISF. The various intelligence commands do not talk to each other. This is a common problem in many countries.
US Excess Defense Articles [EDA]
The program to provide the IA with used US armor, howitzers, etc. was reported last summer. This is what they are getting:
1026 - M113s Family of Vehicles
120 - M198 towed howitzers
21 - M88A1 armored recovery vehicles
Equipment for a strategic bridge company
60 - M1070s heavy equipment transporters
24 - M109A5 self propelled howitzers
30 - Fuel tankers
Follow on reporting broke-down the types of M113 variants but, not the numbers being provided:
- M113A2--Armored Personnel Carriers,
- M548A1--Cargo Carrier,
- M1064--Mortar Carrier,
- M577A2--Command Post Carrier, and
- M577A2--Emergency Medical Treatment Vehicle
According to Major General Jeffrey Buchanan:
- The 1,026 M113s are not fielded yet. They are fielding this year.
- 23 of 24 M109s are fielded. They are going to the Tank Regiments. MOST of them are going to the 9th Division. [I take this to mean 3 Armored Brigades in 9th Armored Division and 1 Armored Brigade in another mechanized division. Each getting a battery of 6 M109s each. RUMINT is that the 7th Division is mechanizing. This also indicates that the M1064 120mm Mortar Carriers will number 72 and will be distributed among the Armor Brigades. Each Armor Brigade with 3 batteries of 6 M1064s.]
- 8 of the 120 M198s are delivered. [These will probably go to the Infantry Divisions receiving external defense training.]
External Training [Comprehensive Training or All Inclusive Training - Tadreeb al Shamil]
According to Major General Jeffrey Buchanan, the Iraqi Ministry of Defense [IMoD] requested this training in late 2010 with an eye towards future threats. They have good counter-insurgency force but, needs training on conventional external defense. This training is on what the US Army would call "Block and Tackle" aspects of offensive and defensive conventional operations.
Tadreeb al Shamil is Battalion-level training lasting 1 month per battalion with 4 battalions training at a time. Sustainment issues are also addressed in this training. The training is nearing completion of the 3rd iteration of this training [12 battalions complete]. This training program will be IA run by the end of this summer. The 4 divisions that IMoD requested this training for are:
- Ninawa’s 3rd Division [1-11/3, 2-11/3, and 3-11/3 Battalions complete or completing.]
- Diyala’s 5th Division [2-21/5, 3-21/5, and 4-21/5 Battalions complete or completing.]
- Anbar’s 7th Division [1-28/7, 2-28/7, and 3-28/7 Battalions complete or completing. 7th Division is rumored to be mechanizing.]
- Dhi Qar’s 10th Division [1-40/10, 2-40/10, and 3-40/10 Battalions complete or completing.]
Part of the plan is building a culture of training and honest evaluation of capabilities like the US Army has. In that regard, they have already had some success. The 9th and 8th Divisions saw this training and wanted it. However, the 9th Division is in the process of equipping, training, and fielding of M1A1 tanks and M109 self-propelled howitzers which causes too much interference. The 9th Division is observing the training for implementation later. The 8th Division worked with the US 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment to get their own version of this training - above and beyond IMoD's request.
Major General Jeffrey Buchanan also said that there is a gap in capabilities in integrating combined arms that needs further work and that there will be an enduring relation even after USF-I leaves. The possible frameworks for further training include Joint Training Exercises/Operations in Iraq and Iraqi training in US schools under the Strategic Partnership Agreement.
As things stand, all US Forces in Iraq not under the American Embassy will be gone by 2012 - unless the Iraqi Government asks for them to stay. This does preclude US military personnel requested by Iraq returning to provide training/assistance and units returning for training exercises. The US performs these operations and training support in friendly countries throughout the world.
Logistics is not sexy - it is tedious and boring to most people. Logistics is also the essential component to any military operations. “Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics.” Without the beans, boots, and bullets – combat operations are impossible.
The Iraqi Army [IA] is organized on a modified US Army structure while the Ministry of Interior [MoI] paramilitary forces - the Federal Police [FP] and Department of Border Enforcement [DBE] are organized more on Italian Carabinarie structure. Both structures normally have support, transport, and maintenance components at each level:
- Battalions have a Headquarters Support Company [HSC] with admin, supply, transport, and maintenance platoons.
- Line and Field Artillery Brigades [Level 1] normally have a Sustainment Battalion including supply, transport, and maintenance companies.
- Divisions [Level 2] normally have a Support Brigade including supply, transport, and maintenance battalions.
- Corps’ [Level 3] normally have 1-2 Support Brigades each including supply, transport, and maintenance battalions.
- Armies [Level 3] normally have a Support Force [division-equivalent] including supply, transport, and maintenance brigades.
Since the last summary on ISF Logistics in August 2009, ISF Level 1 and Level 3 logistics and support has not developed further resulting in major gaps in support. The 4 IA Corps’ planned for forming in 2008-2011 have not materialized. No new Brigade Support Battalions have been formed.
While these Level 1 and Level 3 support elements are not essential to an infantry force conducting counter-insergency, the ISF – especially the IA - is steadily motorizing and adding mechanized/armored elements without the essential additional support and maintenance components needed to support them. The FP – already deficient in all levels of support and maintenance - has been absorbing, motorizing, and retraining the provincial paramilitary Emergency Brigades without a corresponding increase in support forces. The DBE lags behind the FP in support force development with no effective Level 1, 3, or 4 components while expanding its motorized Commando Battalions. MoI forces continue to piggyback heavily on IA support – adding further strain to the IA’s inadequate support and maintenance force.
While the ISF is still deficient in supply and maintenance, there have been improvements. The ISF has focused on improving Level 2 support over the last 18 months:
- Expanding the IA divisional maintenance companies to battalions. Most of the maintenance personnel are still apprentice level.
- Standing up the IA Memona Support Brigade in Maysan.
- Completing the 17th Division’s Motor Transport Regiment, Support Battalion, and Maintenance Battalion.
- Expanding and filling out the Taji National Depot [Level 4].
- Forming the FP divisional Sustainment Battalions.
- Standing up the FP Sustainment Brigade and its base at Salman Pak [Level 3 or part of future Level 4].
- Building the DBE divisional Maintenance Battalions [sustainment battalions].
To make supply and maintenance matters worse, the ISF still operates on a pull system of support. This means that subordinate units request support as needed and then wait. The US Army works on a push system of support where higher commands anticipate and provides supplies and maintenance support in advance of need.
Level 1 Logistics and Maintenance. The IA has been adding wheeled and mechanized vehicles to its battalions without adding the needed Brigade Support Battalions [BSBs]. Only 5 of the 59 IA and ISOF Brigades have BSBs while 25 of those 59 brigades have been sufficiently mechanized and/or motorized to warrant BSBs. And the IA is adding at least 10 brigades of additional mechanized and armored vehicles to its structure over the next 2 years. This is part of the reason for the press reports of IA units having more than half of their vehicles inoperable for maintenance and the regular reports of units having fuel shortages in an oil-exporting nation.
The MoI forces are in even worse condition – they trail the IA by 5 years in development. The FP and Emergency Response Force is motorized yet does not have any BSBs in its 27 brigades. While the DBE’s 15 brigades are mostly static defense, they are expanding the number of motorized Commando Battalions and are spread out over a large area and do not have BSBs.
Level 2 Logistics and Maintenance. The IA is in good shape at this level and has even formed an additional Support Brigade for a new or relocating division in Maysan. The only real weakness in the IA at this level is that the Location Commands [Sustainment Battalions are not subordinate to the Divisions – they are under the same command as the Taji National Depot. This division of authority disrupts the supply of the divisions.
MoI forces only have 1 support battalion per division at this level while requiring a brigade and most of these support battalions have only formed in the last year. Combined with the lack of Level 1 support, the MoI forces have no real Level 1 and grossly insufficient Level 2 sustainment.
Level 3 Logistics and Maintenance. The establishment and expansion of Joint Operational Commands provides Corps-level command and control but, no corresponding support and maintenance at this level. The IA planned to form 4 Corps starting in 2008 but, that has not happened. The establishment of an FP Sustainment Brigade supports this Corps-sized force at this level but, the FP is expanding to a 3-Corps sized force and the FP Sustainment Brigade has not fully completed building and training. The DBE piggybacks on the IA and FP at this level.
Level 4 Logistics and Maintenance. Only the IA has a real Level 4 logistics and maintenance force. MoI forces piggyback on the IA’s Taji National Depot. Taji also has to double as the Level 3 support in the absence of IA Corps’ level supply and maintenance. This means that Taji has to support 6 Corps-equivalents on its own – the equivalent of 2-3 Armies.
Kurdish Forces are not addressed due to lack of data concerning their logistics – they are reportedly being reorganized along western structure into 21 line brigades (a 4-5 division Corps-equivalent) plus 2 IA and 2 FP Divisions. Iraqi Air and Naval support forces are also not addressed as they are base-centric and are developing their support in advance of their expansion – you have to have functional bases before you can have functional air and naval forces.
The IA has built about 40 percent of its needed logistics and maintenance force and the MoI has built about 10-20 percent. This level of logistics capability is in accordance with the Iraqi Security Forces’ plan. Phase 1 of ISF development was Tactical Independence which was achieved in 2010. Phase 2 is Operational Independence and is planned to complete in 2015. Phase 3 is Strategic Independence and is planned to complete by 2020. The 2012 date for the withdrawal of US Forces was an arbitrary political date chosen by politicians that mistake the number of combat battalions for strength and do not understand how many essential support components have not been built yet.
IA Support and Maintenance is adequate for peacetime or Low Intensity Conflict. MoI support only functions by piggybacking on the IA and needs serious expansion. In any Medium or High Intensity Conflict, supply of all the ISF ground forces would fail in short order. A 50 percent down rate of vehicles may be acceptable in peacetime but, is a disaster in war.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during February 2011. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 28 February 2011. The article updating the Peshmerga “The Second Largest Army in Iraq” was addressed separately and will not be addressed here. Highlights in this update include:
- IA: BTR4 delivery did not occur in February; LAV-25s not being bought; M113 APC contract for refurbishment awarded; External training continues in 4 IA Divisions; 28/7 Brigade converting to mechanized?; Logistics and Maintenance training emphasis; 34/9 Brigade training on M1A1s; 52/14 Brigade night live-fire amphibious exercise with tanks; 5/2 Brigade shifting AOR?; Wassit Operational Command established.
- IqAF/AAC: Ukraine claims 2 AN-32s ready for delivery; Budget delays fighter purchase; Recall and recruitment of medical and aviation support personnel.
- IqN/IqM: Iraqi Navy recruiting.
- MoI: 4th FP Division relocating/training in Baghdad?; FP training on VIP security – may be gaining IA protection personnel; FP Strike Teams’ train-the-trainer program established; DBE’s 9th Brigade moves to Iranian border; NTM-I Oil Police training.
The BTR4 deliveries planned for February have not been reported as occurring. Apparently the guns installed were faulty and the Ukrainians cannot meet the rescheduled delivery. "Ukrainska Pravda suggested that it would be physically impossible to replace the faulty and outdated equipment by the end of February as promised to the Iraqis.”
While there are rumors of the IA purchasing LAV-25s as a replacement, there is no active case for purchasing LAVs. According to SSG Kelli Lane, Press Desk Officer, Media Operations Center, US Embassy-Baghdad: "We queried our sources within the Iraq Train and Advisory Mission (ITAM) and they have stated that they are not aware of a LAV purchase being made." This rumor may be the IA’s way of putting pressure on the Ukrainians to deliver.
BAE Systems, Inc. was awarded a no-fee contract for the refurbishment of 440 M113A2 armored personnel carriers to a fully mission capable plus condition for the government of Iraq. This work has an estimated completion date of April 30, 2012. This is the APC part of a total of 1,026 M113 variants to be delivered to Iraq. When US Army excess equipment is donated they are stripped of restricted items like radios and weapons – this Iraqi funded FMS contract is to replace those missing items.
"The 5th, 7th and 10th IA Divisions are also conducting similar training during 2011, as Iraqi Ground Forces Command continues to modernize its army, added Hussain. According to Hussain, the Iraqi Army is planning to rotate 48 battalions through Ghuzlani and similar training centers spread across the country by the end of the year." The second set of 4 battalions trained during February on external security. "As succeeding iterations of IA battalions rotate through GWTC during Tadreeb al Shamil, the U.S. role will diminish, Gillam said, with Iraqi cadre assuming more of the training responsibility for the Iraqi units." Like all training of Iraqi Security Forces, this is a train-the-trainer program. Effectively, the US Army is training 4 IA Divisions to act as training divisions for the rest of the IA. In addition to the battalions training, the division and brigade staffs are receiving parallel training in external defense.
Twice in February the 28/7 Brigade was called “mechanized” by PAO reporting of its external defense training. No mechanized or armor vehicles have been reported or seen in 28/7 Brigade. This could be confirmation of the rumor that the 7th Division is to mechanize.
Logistics and maintenance forces are also a current major focus for US training of ISF. The focus was on training internal security line forces from 2005 to 2008 and support forces are still lagging in development.
The 34/9 Mechanized Brigade is receiving training on M1A1 tanks at Taji. Elements of 35/9 and 36/9 Brigades have been previously identified as training for this upgrade. According to an IA platoon leader in this training, all his troops had prior experience on T72s. This indicates that 2-34/9 Battalion is to be converted to an M1A1-equipped Tank Regiment. This is the fifth battalion identified receiving M1A1 training.
The 52/14 Brigade conducted a night live-fire exercise in February. This was an amphibious crossing exercise called Operation Shining Star on Tealeaf Island near Basrah. The exercise employed T55 tanks and mortars in support. The 14th Division is not currently in training for external defense and the division has not been reported as assigned tanks. The T55s may be augment or a transfer from the upgrading 9th Division to the 3-52/14 Battalion.
For the first time in 2 years, elements of 5/2 IA Brigade have been reported operating outside of Mosul. This could indicate a shift in AOR, planned future training, and/or the Federal Police could be taking over more of the responsibility for Mosul. The shift of the IA out of the cities with police forces taking over is planned and appears to be starting in several cities.
Iraqi Press is reporting announcements from the “Wassit Operations Command”. The Maysan and Wassit Operations Commands are recent additions and could be the start of forming new divisional headquarters as both provinces are expected to host IA divisions. Alternatively, these OCs could be being established in every province to provide joint ISF command and coordination elements.
On 28 February, Ukrainian press reported that the "State-run Antonov State Enterprise (Kyiv) is ready to deliver the first two An-32 light transport aircraft to Iraq this week." "...four more planes are to be delivered to Iraq by the end of the year." These aircraft were initially rejected by the Iraqis last fall since the “An-32’s had been assembled from parts made before 2009, while according to the contract the aircraft should be new.” These aircraft will be added to the ISF OOB when the IqAF actually accepts them.
While the reported French offer of Mirage F1s has caused speculation as to the configuration, the only fighter buy that had a down payment authorized was US F16s and that money has been redirected – further delaying any fighter buys. The Iraqi government is postponing the expected purchase of the F-16 fighter jets and is using the money to beef up food rations. Iraq’s only air defense is the USAF at this time. USAF elements will probably have to remain in Iraq after 2012.
The Iraqi MoD is recalling air controllers, air support and aviation engineer personnel from the former IA for return to service. With the split of helicopter assets from the Air Force to the IA AAC, the IA requires additional support personnel for its own air elements. IMoD is also recruiting medical personnel.
Iraqi Navy and Marines
The Iraqi MoD is also recruiting Naval personnel. The Iraqi Navy and Marines are to expand rapidly and is currently undermanned.
Ministry of Interior
Elements of the Federal Police’s forming 4th Division are apparently being redirected to Baghdad. This division has 3 brigades located in Basrah, Maysan, and Wassit provinces and was to be headquartered in Basrah. However, elements are apparently in south Baghdad province and they are coordinating with US Forces in the IA 17th Division’s AOR. While this could be for training, it could also be to replace the IA 17th Division and allow it to relocate/shift to external defense. The current plan to replace IA forces in the cities mirrors the US handover to the IA in the cities. The IA took over the lead in the cities from the US and is handing over to the FP. The FP eventually is to turn over to the IP and move to over-watch for internal security and train as reserve for the IA in external security.
While Federal Police were reported as graduating four weeks of VIP's guard training course by the Italian Carabinieri forces, not all of the uniforms were FP. These personnel are being trained to form an Iraqi Federal Police dignitary protection and personal security for the Arab League Summit under the FP's Major General Ali al-Ithari, commander of the newly-established Security Detail Force. The assignment of a Major General in command indicates a multi-brigade force is being assembled and trained. Some or all of the 2 Presidential Brigades [6 battalions] and 14 Independent Protection Battalions of the IA may be transferring to the FP. The 20 IA Protection Battalions are filling an internal security duty and the IA is shifting its focus to external security.
The Department of Border Enforcement’s 9th Brigade has shifted to the Iranian border. This reduces DBE presence on the Saudi border and doubles its presence in Basrah’s border regions.
"The 1st Train the Trainers (T3) Course for the Iraqi Oil Police held a closing ceremony at the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Camp Dublin in Baghdad, Iraq February 03. The T3 course was conducted by the Italian Carabinieri of the NTM-I Gendarmerie Training Unit on a training program lasting one month and started last January 2." Also, "NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) conducted a graduation ceremony for 136 Iraqi policemen who completed the second Oil Police training course at Camp Dublin Feb. 10." The training of the expanding Oil Police is a new task for NTM-I. With the reductions in US Forces, NTM-I has been assuming more training responsibilities of Iraqi Forces. Unlike US Forces, NTM-I is not scheduled to leave by 2012.
For the last 3 months, writing an update on the Peshmerga has been on the to-do list. However, the Peshmerga still has the best OPSEC in Iraq. Most of the update data has come from Iraqi MoD/MoI and USF-I reporting.
Recent reporting describes the Peshmerga as reducing from 200,000 to 70,000 with the other 130,000 either retiring or getting “government” jobs. Those “government” jobs would include the 30,000 Zerevani Paramilitary Police transferred to Iraqi Ministry of Interior [MoI], the 29,500 transferred to the Iraqi Army [IA], and 5,000 being formed into the KRG’s Oil Police.
The most significant Kurdish provided details came from the Secretary General of Peshmerga Forces over a year ago. He described a reorganization and unification of PUK/KDP Peshmerga into a 21 brigade force to be called the Kurdish Regional Border Guards [KRBG]. He also described the un-commissioned 15th and 16th Iraqi Army Divisions as separate from those 21 planned Peshmerga brigades and already under IA command.
Former Peshmerga forces that are under Government of Iraq control and are receiving Iraqi Security Force training include 4 Regional Guards Brigades [RGBs] and 30,000 Zerevani Paramilitary Police.
The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd RGBs are located in areas that were planned for the IA 16th Mountain Division and are formed by merging smaller PUK/KDP brigades that had been designated for this IA division. These RGBs are being trained in Sulaymaniyah, Kirkuk, Balad, and Taji. The 4th RGB is unreported/un-located. These are the same Kurdish forces that are participating in joint US/IA/FP/IP/Peshmerga patrols in the disputed zones.
Reporting on the un-commissioned IA 15th Mountain Division elements has been absent. There have not been reports of them training in Irbil, Dohuk, or Ninawa. There are reports of 10,000 Peshmerga in the IA guarding the Iraqi Government. The 2 Presidential Brigades were formed around Peshmerga Special Operations Force cadre. Also, 3 IA brigades in and adjacent to the Iraqi Government’s International Zone are designated with numbers that should belong to the 15th Division under the IA numbering system [54/6, 55/17, and 56/6 Brigades]. All of these brigades are reported to have significant Kurdish representation.
The 30,000 Peshmerga “Zerevani” paramilitary police have been receiving Federal Police training since 2009. Part of this force is to be commissioned as the Iraqi 6th Federal Police Division in 2011 or 2012. Given those numbers of Zerevani, there is probably a second Federal Police division to be formed at a later date.
That leaves the 70,000 personnel that are to remain under actual Peshmerga command – the Kurdish Regional Border Guards [KRBG]. While the KRG has declined to provide a breakdown of these 21 unified/mixed KDP/PUK brigades, reporting from 2008 indicates the probable brigade mix.
In 2008, Peshmerga brigades averaged only 2,000 personnel each. They are being reorganized along IA lines by merging PUK’s and KDP’s smaller brigades into the larger size [3,000-3,500]. This merger indicates a probable brigade mix of:
- 1 Armor Brigade formed by merging the smaller PUK and KDP Mechanized Brigades built out of captured old-IA T-54/55 tanks and APCs.
- 0-1 Engineer Brigade formed by merging the engineer forces. If they form divisions, this could be split among the divisions.
- 4 Field Artillery Brigades equipped with a mix of D30 howitzers, Katyusha, and Grad Rocket Launchers plus 120mm mortars.
- 1-3 Special Operations Force Brigades. If they form divisions, this could be partially split among the divisions.
- 12-15 Mountain Infantry Brigades.
- 0-1 Aviation Brigade. While not official, there has been reporting of an Observation Helicopter Squadron, Training Squadron, and an Air Medical element that could be formed into a brigade or remain separate squadrons.
There is unconfirmed reporting suggesting the KRBG will be organized into 4 divisions. 8 total divisions including the 4 FP/IA divisions. However, UPI’s track-record on military reporting is shaky at best. They probably are counting division-equivalents vice actual divisions.
Details are not clear but, much can be inferred from the limited reporting and extrapolation from the 2008 reporting. Of the 200,000 existing Peshmerga, 60,000 are transferring to IA/FP, 5,000 are becoming Oil Police, and 65,000 are retiring. The remaining 70,000 are in being merged into 21 apolitical brigades under a unified Kurdish Regional Border Guards and are receiving US and GoI assistance in training. The KRBG will still be the second largest armed force in Iraq even with this reduction to 70,000 until the Iraqi Federal Police absorbs the remaining provincial emergency police and Zerevani. Then they will still be the third largest armed force in Iraq and will have significant representation in the larger IA and FP forces…
Related: Iraqi Order of Battle [Updated monthly]
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during January 2011. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 January 2011. The articles “Is the Iraqi 7th Division Mechanizing?”, “Thoughts on ISF Development and Iraq's Ability to Defend Itself”, and “Emergency Response Brigades Return to Iraqi Federal Police?” were addressed separately and will not be addressed here. Highlights in this update include:
- GoI/KRG agreement?; RGB personnel training at Taji; Peshmerga in Baghdad; KRG MedEvac Squadron; Light APCs provided to Zerevani ERB; KRG Oil Police Brigade Forming.
- BTR4s start delivery in February?; 586 M113s being refurbished for IA; Truck-mounted MRLs; 4 IA Divisions identified as retraining for external defense; Maysan Operations Center; 3 IA Division’s Commandos training; IA Counter-Battery Radar training.
- 4 Mi-171s delivered; Down-payment of F16s authorized; Weather Radars; Training Squadrons renumbering?
- First 24-hour PB patrol; 2 PBs delivered; OSV simulaters.
- ERF getting armor?; ERF Battalion identified; 200,000 Police for Baghdad; FPS transitioning to Police.
The Government of Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government have come to a deal, however the details are only trickling out. The Peshmerga is reducing to 70,000 personnel with 130,000 to be pensioned or get government jobs.
Elements of the 4th Battalion, 3rd Regional Guard Brigade are training at Iraqi Army facilities at Taji. This Brigade is based in Khanaqin – Diyala Provinces. Training Kurdish forces at Taji are a first and are probably part of the deal.
Mala Bakhteyar, a senior member of the PUK’s political bureau, said in an interview with Kurdish television channel Gale Kurdistan that the PUK had prepared for the “worst case scenario,” including military coups. "Ten thousand members of the Kurdish peshmerga forces have been sent to Baghdad to protect Jalal Talabani – the Kurdish president of Iraq – and all other Kurdish officials there from the possibility of a military coup, says a senior official from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of Iraqi Kurdistan’s two ruling parties." At first read, this appears to be exaggerated, however, both of the Presidential Brigades were formed around Kurdish troops and there are 3 other IA Brigades in and adjacent to the International Zone that are predominately Kurdish. The other 14 Independent Protection Battalions in Baghdad are of undetermined composition. Of note, the 54/6, 55/17, and 56/6 Brigades in Baghdad are numbered with what should be 15th Division brigade-numbers [54-57] – and 15th Division is a planned Kurdish IA Division.
An "aero medical emergency service" based in Sulaymaniyah is being formed. This MedEvac Squadron adds to the existing Light Observation Helicopter Squadron and the basic Pilot Training Squadron run by the Peshmerga.
Photos of black painted Saxon light APCs were taken in Zahko in the summer 2010. This indicates that elements of the Zerevani police are converting to Iraqi MoI Emergency Response Force and receiving light armor. The only Saxons in the ISF were provided to the IA 14th Division in Basrah before the UK Forces departed Iraq. Iraqi MoD apparently transferred them to Iraqi MoI as part of the plan to reduce the number of vehicle types in the IA.
"The Interior Minister in Kurdistan Regional Government Kareem Sinjari, in a press statement said that his ministry formed a 5000 men force to protect the oil refineries in Kurdistan Region’s three provinces Erbil, Duhok and Sulaimani." Apparently the KRG is establishing its own Oil Police.
The first shipment of 26 BTR-4 armored personnel carriers are to be delayed and are now scheduled to be delivered in February. Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau blamed the gun producers from Kamianets-Podilsky. Shortcomings were exposed when Iraqis were examining the APCs. Ukraine tried to deliver An32s with used engines and avionics. Apparently, they did something similar with the BTR4s. The BTR4s were supposed to be delivered in time for the 6 January Army Day Parade. The Ukrainian contract is reported in danger of being cancelled.
A total of 586 M113A2s and 21 M88s are being refurbished for delivery to Iraq. "The vehicles to be repaired are from an excess stock of M113s at Sierra Army Depot in California." The M113s are to be refurbished at a rate of 50 vehicles per month. The first delivery of M113s to Iraq is set for July 2011. The original FMS Notice was only for 440 M113A2 APCs, however, M113A2 Ambulances do not require a notice. This indicates that 440 APCs and 146 Ambulances are being delivered. The other 440 M113-varients are not broken down yet but are to be a mix of M577A2 Armored Command Posts, M548A1 Cargo Carriers, M1064A2 120mm Mortar Carriers, and M577A2 Emergency Medical Treatment Vehicles.
The only new ground equipment noted in the 6 January Army Day Parade were the delivered M1A1 tanks and Ford 350 truck mounted Type 63 107mm 12-tube rocket launchers. The IA appears to be salvaging these towed systems and mounting them on pickups as light self-propelled artillery.
US Forces are retraining all of the battalions of 4 IA Divisions in preparation for their shift to external security. The first 5 battalions identified as completing this 25-day training are the 1-11/3 and 2-12/3 in Ninawa, 3-21/5 in Diyala, 2-28/7 in Anbar, and 1-40/10 in Dhi Qar. All of these divisions [3rd, 5th, 7th, and 10th] have border sectors with Iran or Syria. Of note, while 9th Division is in conversion training for its ongoing upgrades to M1A1 tanks, M113 APCs, and BTR4s – so far it has not been reported undergoing this training. Previous reporting indicated that the US Forces were to prepare 1 mechanized and 3 infantry divisions for external defense duties. This could be confirmation that 7th Division is to be mechanized. If the 7th Division is mechanized, it will probably move to Basrah – Basrah has strategic priority second only to Baghdad.
The Maysan Operations Center, led by 10th Iraqi Army Division, conducted its first Command Post Exercise on 30 December 2010. This is the first mention of a Maysan Operations Center and probably is in preparation for the shift of the rest of the 10th Division to Maysan as part of assuming duties of external defense. Dhi Qar and Muthanna provinces will probably be backfilled with new or transferred IA/ FP forces.
The training of the youngest of the Iraqi divisions appears to be concentrating on their scout/recon elements. 11th, 12th, and now the 14th Division’s Commandos are reported being trained by US Forces.
The Iraqi Army Artillery School is receiving 5-weeks Counter-battery radar training. "U.S. artillerymen recently began a new training program on Forward Operating Base Constitution with the Iraqi Army to assist them in combating terrorist indirect-fire-attacks. The fire finder radar system training is a 30-day class designed to teach the IA how to operate and maintain a system that will allow them to detect and track incoming artillery and rocket fire." The IA has not been reported ordering this system as yet. This could indicate they are planning to order these or that the US is providing them as part of the post-2011 security of the US Embassy [and the rest of the IZ].
The IA is also being trained in computer simulations for command-post exercises. IA personnel are being trained as instructors for a Military Simulations Operators Course.
There is confused reporting as to the status of the IA Tank School. One report indicates: "...Contingency Operating Base Taji, where the Iraqi army tank school is relocating." Other reports still indicate that Besmaya is the center of Armor training.
SA342 Gazelles and EC635s were the only new aircraft types at the Army Day Parade compared to last year. As mentioned above, the AN32s did not make it in time for parade because the Ukrainians tried to deliver them with used engines and avionics in violation of the contract.
"The Iraq Army Aviation Command accepted delivery of four new Mi-171E helicopters at its headquarters in Taji, as two were delivered Jan. 16 followed two more Jan. 23. This latest delivery brings Iraq Army Aviation Command’s total inventory of Mi-171E helicopters to 14, as part of a foreign-military-sales purchase made by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense." "Iraq’s fleet of multipurpose helicopters now includes 30 Mi-17 (which includes a number of aircraft that were already in the Iraqi inventory) and 14 Mi-171E helicopters."
Iraqi negotiators were authorized to negotiate with France for 18 used Mirage 2000s. Instead France offered 18 Mirage F1s for sale with delivery starting late 2011 instead. Apparently France wants to clear the Iraqi debt from the Saddam-era stored/embargoed 18 F1s before any new sales. This could explain why the sudden authorization to buy 18 new F16s from the US instead of the 6 authorized in the earlier CoM decision – GoI is redirecting the money from the French to the US buy. While there are reports of Chinese J17s being negotiated for, the only down-payment for any jet fighters authorized by the Iraqi Government is a $900 million down payment on F16s.
The IqAF has been receiving weather radars. "The process started last October with the purchase of four Ellason Weather Radar 600’s. The first of these radars was installed at the Baghdad Iraqi Air Operations Center where the Iraqis have been training on system ever since. The Ellason Weather Radar 600 isn’t the only system to provide real-time weather data. The Iraqi air force currently uses a TMQ-53 Weather Observation System on loan from the U.S. Air Force, but recently purchased eight new units to be set up throughout Iraq. Once the new systems are in place, the only thing missing for the Iraqis to run their own weather operation will be training."
The Training squadrons may have been renumbered. Training Squadron No. 3 is now being called the 203rd Training Squadron. Of interest, NATO may be expanding its training assistance. Unlike USF-I, NTM-I is authorized to remain in Iraq beyond 2012.
Iraqi Navy and Marines
"The patrol was the first-ever 24-hour perimeter defense patrol of the Al Basrah Oil Terminal conducted by the Iraqi Navy since the Coalition Naval Advisory Training Team initiated operations, said United Kingdom Royal Navy Lt. Richard Hurman, a CNATT training officer. The patrol was planned and conducted entirely by the Iraqi Navy, and was the result of several months of effort." This indicates the IqN is improving and preparing to assume the patrol duties. Iraq also took delivery of 2 more Swiftboat PBs delivered on 26 January at Umm Qasr. Only 12 of the 15 ordered Patrol Boats are expected to be delivered by 2012.
A contract has been awarded “to provide the design, fabrication, installation, and testing of the Iraqi navy training systems and the training development and delivery for the 60-Meter Offshore Support Vessel (OSV).” The work is anticipated to be complete in November 2011. “VSD will develop, construct, and deliver training for and manage the team of contractors in the development of four simulators to include the Full Mission Bridge Trainer, 30mm Fire Control Trainer, Engine Control Room Trainer, and Small Arms Trainer. The training effort will involve OSV operation and maintenance to Iraqi naval personnel in one training session in Morgan City, La. The effort also includes support for Iraqi engineers who will monitor the ship’s construction. The training shall ensure the Iraqi sailors have a working knowledge of OSV operation and maintenance to sustain operational requirements and systems availability throughout the OSV service life." These OSVs are to be the supporting mother-ships for the IqN patrol boat force.
Ministry of Interior
The Iraqi MoI Emergency Response Force [ERF] is getting armored vehicles. "As black, Russian-made armored vehicles rolled into Fire Base Stack in Hillah, Dec. 20, it was evident that significant changes were occurring on this small special operations compound, previously occupied solely by U.S. forces. The day marked the transfer of authority of the fire base, known locally as Bayt Al-Wazeer, between the U.S. Special Operations Forces unit and the "Scorpions" of 2nd Company, 3rd Battalion, Emergency Response Brigade, an Iraqi special operations unit that has been conducting training with U.S. forces on the compound for many years.” In addition M1117s were seen in Baghdad painted in ERF colors during the Police Day Parade and Saxons have been photographed in ERF colors in Zakho.
An ERF battalion has been identified in Basrah. This is the first mention of 12th Emergency Response Battalion in Basrah.
The Deputy Minister of Interior says the Council of Ministers has agreed to recruit 200,000 more police for Baghdad. This could mean that more than 14-18 Federal Police Divisions are planned. It could also indicate that elements of the FP and IA are being relocated from Baghdad and that IP/FP personnel are being recruited to backfill. Even expanding the existing Baghdad Police forces to a total of 200,000 would be a significant increase in the forces. By comparison, the entire Iraqi Army is only reported to be about 290,000.
The January 2011 SIGIR Report provided some details on the plan to reform the Facilities Police Service and partially explained the increase in the Iraqi Police. "The plan for transitioning FPS personnel to the IP service has slowly evolved since 2008. In November, the Minister of Interior announced that he had approved MOI funding to train approximately 76,000 FPS as police officers in 2011. Under the transition agreement, all FPS contractors are to become Iraqi Police in late January or early February 2011. Currently, the FPS comprises approximately 91,650 personnel. Of these, about 17,330 are fulltime FPS police, and about 74,320 are MOI contractors. Twelve MOI training academies will be used throughout Iraq to conduct the FPS training. The plan calls for 11 training cycles, spanning several months, with 6,700 contractors to be trained in each four-week cycle. This will take approximately 18 months to accomplish. The curriculum will incorporate elements of both the basic recruit training and the FPS curriculum."
There is little data concerning the Iraqi Ministry of Interior’s Emergency Response Force’s developments. This force is known to be expanding but, little is ever reported about the Ministry of Interior’s Special Operations Force. Some of what follows is speculation or rumor intelligence [unconfirmed].
All of the Provincial Iraqi Police Paramilitary forces are planned to be retrained and reequipped as part of their conversion to Emergency Response Brigades and Federal Police. The ERBs have first chance at the personnel from the provincial SWAT forces. They are sent to the Operator Selection Course and the best 50 percent join the ERBs while the others return to the provincial forces or go to Federal Police training.
Only 9 of the existing 12-14 Emergency Response Battalions have been identified so far. They appear to be being organizing into 6-7 brigades at this time. The Federal Police plans to have at least a brigade in each province while the ERF plans to mirror this with at least a battalion of SWAT personnel in each province. The Federal Police plans to grow to 16-20 divisions and the ERF to 16-20 brigades.
The original MoI Emergency Response Unit [battalion] was part of the National Police. The National Police lost operational control of the ERU to the National Operations Command long before the NP was renamed the Federal Police. There are unconfirmed reports indicating that the Emergency Response Brigades may be returning to the Federal Police – at least as far as administration and logistics support is concerned. This would explain the planned change in the Federal Police divisional-structure to 5 brigades, 4 Federal Police Brigades and an Emergency Response Brigade per Federal Police Division. By doing this reorganization, the Ministry of Interior avoids building a parallel and redundant support structure. Instead the ERF piggybacks on the FP’s logistics and equipment support. This would push the probable end-strength of the Federal Police to 18-20 divisions.
Several Emergency Response Battalions have been reported using armored vehicles – some former Army and some from the Federal Police.
- Before the UK left, they turned over 60 Saxon light APCs to the IA 14th Division in Basrah. Six black-painted Saxons were seen and photographed last summer in Zahko. Black is the color of ERF vehicles and elements of the Zerevani are reported training to be ERF. Apparently the IA has transferred the Saxons to the MoI and they were provided to the ERF. The Federal Police plan to form the 6th FP Division from part of the 30,000 Kurdish Zerevani that have transferred to the Iraqi MoI in 2011-2012. The ERF appears to be developing ahead of the FP in this region.
- Black painted M1117 ASV/APCs with ERF markings were in the Police Day parade. M1117s were the exclusive property of the Federal Police prior to this.
- "Black, Russian-made armored vehicles rolled into Fire Base Stack in Hillah” on 20 December 2010. “The day marked the transfer of authority of the fire base, known locally as Bayt Al-Wazeer, between the U.S. Special Operations Forces unit and the "Scorpions" of 2nd Company, 3rd Battalion, Emergency Response Brigade, an Iraqi special operations unit that has been conducting training with U.S. forces on the compound for many years." Either armor from the Iraqi Army or BTR94s from the Federal Police have been provided to at least 1 company of the former Hillah SWAT. Hillah SWAT was among the first of the provincial forces to be added to MoI’s Emergency Response Brigade when the force started to expand.
The Emergency Response Battalions are probably not fully mechanizing. More likely they are organizing similar to what the Iraqi Special Operations Force [ISOF] appears to be converting to. Each battalion of the Emergency Response Force will probably have 2 Assault Companies, only 1 Mechanized Company, and 1 Intelligence & Reconnaissance Company.
The Iraqi Security Forces are in Phase 2 of their development.
- During Phase 1 [2006-2010] the US Forces turned over primary internal security to the Iraqi Army. When the US turned over internal security to the IA, the IA and FP had a total of 16 divisions performing internal security [not including the KRG].
- During Phase 2 [2011-2015] the IA will turn over primary internal security to the Federal Police while shifting the Army’s focus on external threats. The consolidation of the ERF with the FP would facilitate this turnover. Including the 2 KRG Divisions being added to the FP, the probable end-strength of the FP/ERF combined is 18-20 divisions.
- In Phase 3 [2016-2020] the Federal Police will turn over primary internal security to the provincial Iraqi Police while moving to over-watch and back-up to both the IP for internal and the IA for external defense. The FP Divisions and ERF Brigades have secondary functions augmenting the Iraqi Army in wartime. They are part of the de facto IA reserve.
Previously, the Emergency Response Forces were expected to transfer to the Counter-Terrorism Service. Now it appears the plan has changed and the ERF is now returning to its origins with the Federal Police and is partially mechanizing. The law authorizing and funding the CTS has been held up for over 2 years because Parliament is worried that it could become a new Republican Guard. This could also mean the CTS is to be disbanded and that ISOF is returning to the IA…
ISF Brigade OOB as of 31 December 2010. At this point, most are just speed bumps to a conventional invasion.
This is a pure opinion piece – a rant. Most of the times I write about what I think the Iraqi Security Forces are doing or report on what they are actually doing. Some readers think that I agree with what is being done to develop those forces. Not true. I think that they are making some very dangerous errors.
Politics – the Ruling Politicians are in Fantasyland
When I outlined my top 5 procurement priorities if I were the Iraqi Minister of Defense in an e-mail, one of my regulars replied: “Actually DJ your top priority should be the agreement to keep US forces in Iraq after 2011. All the items below are secondary.” He was quite correct.
However, both the current US and Iraqi administrations apparently do not want to listen to realistic appraisals of the ability of the ISF to defend Iraq in 2012. The ISF is a good counter-insurgency force but, it is incapable of defending Iraq against a conventional invasion. The ISF was never planned to be ready for external defense in 2012 – that capability was planned for 2020. Both US and Iraqi politicians chose the 2012 withdraw date without regard to military advice.
The ISF in 2012 will be capable as a counter-insurgency force but, would be a speed-bump to any conventional invasion by any of its neighbors. I could see a late 2012 Iranian invasion as things stand. Without the US air defense and armor presence, the IA is dead in less than 2 weeks against Iran. And the US cannot react fast enough to prevent the fall of Iraq if we are not already there – especially given the political delays. Iraq needs the US air cover and tripwire forces guaranteeing Iraq for another decade.
Even with every weapon reported on order - delivered tomorrow instead of over the next 4 years - the IA fighting on its own would lose any fight it got into. Against an Iranian conventional invasion, the ISF would be driven back to the Shatt-al-Arab/Tigris/Diyala river line in the first 48 hours. The fall of Basrah and Baghdad would occur 5-7 days after the start of the invasion. Iranian forces would the Euphrates river line south of Baghdad at 1 week with most of the ISF destroyed.
Also, I could see the Turks being given the green-light to occupy the Kurdish region by the Iranians - "To protect the Turkic minority". While Syria gets Anbar. There would be a COIN fight for the invaders after that but; insurgents have historically only won when the enemy loses its will or if they have a conventional Army to assist them...
These are optimistic estimates - it would probably be faster. The ISF is like the South Korean Forces in June 1950: Without the necissary weapons to be more than a speed bump. Without the terrain and geographic advantages that Korea had – there will be no Pusan Perimeter.
My priorities for rearming Iraq are not all inclusive – they are just the top 5 weaknesses. Iraq will still need 10 years to effectively field them. Maybe longer if the budget isn’t there. The following priorities are not their only needs – just the 5 most urgent. [Note: I would not cancel the existing orders/options – this is just what the follow on focus should be IMO.]
Priority 1 – Real Air Defense
It does not matter how bad the enemy's Air Force is if you have nothing to counter it. Iraq has no air defense and will not start to field an effective air defense prior to 2018-2020. That is not just my opinion – it is the stated plan. In 2012, Iraq will not have a single operational fighter squadron. Fighters are expensive and the training pipeline for effective combat pilots is 2-3 years after receipt of aircraft to train on. At least 100 operational fighters are needed with 200 total fighters being optimal given the potential threats. Iraq also needs a squadron of airborne radar aircraft to provide low-altitude and gap-filler coverage. These aircraft do not need to be top of the line – they just need to be better than the most likely threats – Iran/Syria.
Iraq is currently negotiating for 18 used French Mirage 2000s and 6 US F16 plus is reported to be considering 24 Chinese J17s. The Mirages and F16s are a start but, the J17 suffers from the same problem all Russian/Chinese aircraft have. Russian engines only last half as long as western jet engines and Chinese engines are either Russian or based on Russian. Put that together with the engine overhaul facilities being in Russia or China, with the exorbitant prices and delays in spares/overhauls, means half would be grounded at any given time. Spares and engine overhauls are where the Russians and Chinese make their profit.
Currently the US provides Iraq’s air defense and there has been no reported agreement to keep that air cover beyond 2011. If I were the Iraqi Government, I would have already commenced negotiations for 8-10 USAF or NATO Fighter Squadrons [with AWACS support] to remain until the Iraqi Air Force can replace them with OPERATIONAL squadrons. I would put 50 percent of the equipment procurement budget towards this problem until they have 200 fighters with sufficient spares and munitions to be operational.
Priority 2 – Field Artillery: and I am not talking mortars.
At this point the Iraqi Army could be destroyed by stand-off howitzers since they have nothing to counter-battery enemy howitzers. Considering that their most likely enemy is an infantry heavy force - they need this firepower to offset the greater Iranian troop numbers as well. This means they need more howitzers than Iran has.
Each division needs a minimum of 72 howitzers, preferably 155mm. Not just the IA requires these. All division planned to be used in frontal roles in a total mobilization require these. That means that the IA will need to stand up separate Field Artillery Regiments to augment the Federal Police, Border Enforcement, and Kurdish Divisions in wartime or that the Ministry of Interior/KRG will need to buy their own modern artillery. About 3,000 howitzers and/or long-range [accurate] multiple rocket launchers are needed.
The only howitzers in the current Iraqi inventory are salvaged pre-war and are of questionable functionality. They have not been reported firing since they started showing up 2 years ago. They are probably worn-out training dummies. The US is providing 120 towed and 24 self-propelled 155mm howitzers in 2011 – enough for 2 divisions.
NATO standard 155mm howitzers are common and Iraq needs 3,000 of them and their ammo. About 20 percent of them should be self-propelled. I would put 20 percent of the equipment procurement budget towards this problem until they have 2,000 howitzers with sufficient spares and munitions to be operational. After that I would reduce to 10 percent until the remaining 1,000 howitzers and/or Multiple Rocket Launchers are bought and use the remaining 10 percent for other needs. The US does not have to be the only source, some of the best are made in South Africa.
Priority 3 – Anti-Tank Guided Weapons
At this point the only element of the ISF capable of defeating enemy tanks is 9th Division and that limited amount of armor cannot be everywhere at once. Company-sized armor spearheads could punch thru the IA Infantry Brigades as the IA is currently armed. The only capability Iraqi infantry have to deal with enemy armor is short-ranged RPGs. The only ATGWs currently on order are the Barrier ATGWs for the 350 combat versions of the BTR4 on order and they only carry 2-4 missiles each. Why the Iraqis have not ordered larger orders of the relatively cheap ATGWs for their infantry heavy force is baffling.
Providing 100-200 ATGWs of TOW II level or better per infantry Battalion would force Iran to concentrate its armor into Brigade or larger sized formations to break-thru. This is 350,000-500,000 missiles including MoI Battalions with secondary external security roles.
This reduces the number of potential axis’s of attack. Only 7 of the 48 Iranian Divisions are heavy. Combined with the need to concentrate at least 2 heavy Divisions opposite any IA heavy Division, the missiles in the infantry forces would reduce the number of potential armor attack points by an order of magnitude. By mounting them on vehicles – even pickups, they could be shifted within the Division to concentrate fire as needed.
I would put 10 percent of the equipment procurement budget towards this problem until filled. I would provide each non-tank equipped battalion with 25 launchers and 100-200 missiles. Using existing vehicles – even pickups – they would provide each of the battalion’s heavy weapons companies with the ability to stop armored Battalions and even possibly Brigades from breaking through and seriously complicate enemy planning. At this time only the tank and BTR4 equipped(ing) Battalions have any realistic anti-tank capability – the rest are just grease for tank treads.
Priority 4 – TANKS
The only place that the IA has a concentrated armor capability is Baghdad. And that is a slowly converting Armor Division. With the exception of terrain limitations, the rest of Iraq is wide open to armor attack. Iraq needs a mobile counter-attack force to make the opposition have to further concentrate their armor.
Once the 9th Division is up to full strength, a 3-heavy Iranian Division force would be needed to strike at Baghdad. But south of Baghdad there is nothing but terrain to slow the Iranian armor down. If 7th Division does fully mechanize and deploys to Basrah then the Iranians would need 2-heavy Divisions to strike for Basrah. Those 2 IA Divisions are the only heavy forces potentially available to Iraq and Iran has 7 heavy Divisions. This does not include potential Syrian participation – with the Israeli front pining most Syrian forces – Syria could invade Iraq as an Iranian ally with a maximum of 4 heavy Divisions.
Once the IA has 5 heavy Divisions or more [1,000 tanks], the Iranian armor options start to shrink rapidly. But that will not be anytime soon. I would put 10 percent of the equipment procurement budget towards these Tanks until 4 Armored Divisions are upgraded and use existing/delivering Armored Personnel Carriers for the infantry component. Then I would shift the funds to mixed Tanks/APCs and convert the 6 Mechanized Divisions. About 2,400 Tanks for the 10 heavy Divisions are needed.
I would not buy all M1A1 tanks as the IA is doing now. I would buy large numbers of cheaper used operational T72s as-is or M60s up-gunned to 120mm NATO smoothbore guns. After getting the numbers, I would then modernize the older tanks. [“Perfection is the enemy of good enough.”]
Priority 5 - Attack Helicopters
Existing orders/options for 50 SA342s, 50 EC635s, and 50 Bell 407s provide adequate Scout/Utility helicopter forces. Iraq needs to follow this up with a buy of 4 squadrons of real dedicated Attack Helicopters  to provide the anti-tank/anti-infantry mobile quick reaction force for any enemy break-thru.
I would put 10 percent of the equipment procurement budget towards these. As expensive as these are - they will not have enough to deal with more than 1 major break-thru at a time. Aircraft are grounded by weather that does not significantly affect ground forces which is a potential limit on their usefulness. This is why they are 5th in priority and the infantry's ATGWs are 3rd. If there are limited funds, the ATGWs come first. Once these are bought, then I would shift to expand the transport helicopter force to expand the number of infantry air-assault forces.
Without the weapons and training on using those weapons, it does not matter how good your troops are. It is like using lance armed horse cavalry against panzers in early World War II – an ineffective waste of good troops. Iraqi Forces are missing or grossly under-equipped in several key areas. Even Kuwait - the smallest country bordering Iraq - will outgun the ISF in all five of these key capabilities in 2012. Iraq will not be able to effectively defend itself until 2020 against its most likely enemies – that was always the plan.
Related Link: ISF Order of Battle
While there is RUMINT [Rumor Intelligence] that the Iraqi Army’s 7th Infantry Division in western Anbar is mechanizing, there is no hard data confirming or denying this. The RUMINT claims that some of the M113s that Iraq is acquiring are to be used to mechanize this division.
Normally, RUMINT that thin would not rate an article. However,
- The 7th Division is planned to be a heavy division. The only real question over the last 3 years has been: When will it upgrade?
- The 7th Division has armor maintenance facilities but, so does Maysan and Baghdad and the priority has been Baghdad. So far.
- While Anbar is a threat border region, so are the Iranian sectors and they are in greater need of armor, Anbar has more considerably more depth to defend in. However, Anbar also has ample room for training mechanized in the field.
- The 7th Division could be planning to relocate in part or whole after upgrading and training. This would eliminate the argument that this is the wrong area to upgrade.
- The 7th Division is part of the Quick Intervention Corps like the upgrading 9th Armored Division. It could be taking over the mechanized reaction role for all of northern and western Iraq.
- The recent movement of the US Army’s 4/10 Cavalry Squadron of the 3/4 Heavy Brigade Combat Team from Basrah to Al Asad to help train the IA 7th Division. Anbar has a US Light Infantry Brigade already so why the additional battalion? The only thing this heavy battalion brings to the training that was not already there are Tracked Mechanized Combat Vehicles and their methods of employment. Since 4/10 Cavalry has only about 3 months left in Iraq – this indicates that the IA 7th Division is upgrading soon. Of note, the training reported so far is only infantry training. [This report is what tilted the balance.]
While 1,026 M113 Family of Vehicles are being provided this year, only 440 are Armored Personnel Carriers [APCs]. The rest are a mix of 120mm mortar carriers, armored ambulances, field surgery vehicles, command vehicles, and cargo carriers. The majority of the 440 M113 APCs are to go to the 9th Armored Division and some are going to the 56/6 (Baghdad) Brigade. There has been some redistribution of armor and mechanized equipment to 6th, 3rd, and 8th Divisions. 3 battalions of BMP1s, 1 of T55s, and 2 of M113s are transferring to those divisions so far.
However, when combined with the remaining BMP1s, MTLBs, Talhas, T55s, and T72s being redistributed from the 9th Armored Division, there is still more than enough armor becoming available this year to upgrade the 7th Division to mechanized status. The remaining tanks and M113s becoming available are enough for 5 Tank Regiments organized on a modified US Combined Arms Battalion structure. 7th Division already has 2 BMP1 equipped battalions and 2 more could be converted from transferred equipment. There are also enough M113, Talha, and MTLB APCs for 4-6 more battalions.
This could mean that the 7th Division is converting to 3 Mechanized Brigades of 1 Tank Regiment [CAB] and 2 Mechanized Battalions plus an Armored Brigade of 2 Tank Regiments [CABs] and 1 Mechanized Battalion. However, the mechanized/armor distribution in the IA indicates partial upgrades, so the 7th Division is more likely to be only partially upgraded this year.
There are 2 circumstances that would support full mechanization of 7th Division this year. They could be assuming the role of northern mechanized reserve or relocating to a more strategic location after completing upgrade and training. Given their location, they are more likely to be relocated to Basrah after upgrade. Basrah is strategic and has no defensive depth which means it requires a heavy division.
The current indications are that 7-8 IA divisions are planned to be armored or mechanized. The 4 currently identified as upgrading are 9th, 6th, 3rd, and 8th. The 4 additional candidate divisions for upgrade are 7th, 11th, 5th, and probably the 1st. These are listed in apparent priority. If the 7th Division is fully mechanizing, then it will probably relocate to Basrah to augment or replace the 14th Infantry Division. Even if only partially mechanizing, the 7th Division would be available for partial redeployment as part of the QIC.
Related: ISF OOB
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during December 2010. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 December 2010.
- 25/17 Brigade CALFEX – salvaged FA non-operational?; IA Surge in Boot Camp; IA Chemical Defense Regiment; Increase in EOD for route-clearance; 4-54/6 Battalion upgraded with BMP1; Instructors sought for M109A5 Regiment to be formed; 1st Field Artillery Pre-Commanders Course; Light mortars trained by Infantry School; 9th Division HQ and East Wing of Armor School move to Besmaya; 63 M1A1s now in IA.
- New F16s and used Mirage 2000s to be bought; An-32s delivering; Trainer Bell 407s delivered.
- Second PB delivering; 1st Marine Brigade moving to Bucca.
- Carabinieri training of FP continues; Basrah Emergency Police tribal levees being disbanded?; 120 Oil Police Directorate officer instructors graduated Carabinieri training.
The combined arms live-fire exercise of the 25/17 Brigade on 30 November included helicopters, Intelligence/Surveillance/Reconnaissance, Commandos in an Air Assault, plus a Search and Rescue Exercise. While D30 howitzers are in the footage from the exercise, they are not seen firing. To date, none of the salvage howitzers have been seen firing or with signs they have fired – just in static display and parades. It is entirely likely that they are being used as training dummies and are not operational.
A surge in Iraqi basic training has been in progress. In late November and early December, Taji and Habbaniyah graduated almost 3,000 from boot camp. Even the Engineer School, Bomb Disposal School and Field Engineer Regiment were pressed into service training new recruits and graduated 200 on 30 November. While reporting from the other training centers is limited, this indicates the size of the surge in training: "Presently, Habbaniya has grown into a Regional Training Center, supporting both the 1st and 7th Iraqi Army Divisions, training about 12,000 soldiers this year.” An IA division is only about 15,000 personnel and Habbaniyah only supports 2 of the 14 commissioned IA Divisions. This indicates a significant increase in IA manning is in progress.
The Iraqi Army is building its first Chemical Defense Regiment. "The regiment began training as a company in October 2009. Within a month, the Ministry of Defense designated it as a full 300-member regiment, complete with two companies and a headquarters. Although, the regiment now only has 110 trained chemical defense soldiers, 150 new recruits – fresh out of Basic Combat Training – are being trained as chemical defense specialists to join the ranks." Eventually each division and each corps will require a Chemical Defense Regiment-equivalent.
The 12th Division’s Field Engineer Regiment is reported to have 2 Explosive Ordinance Disposal Companies. There has been reporting of increasing the strength of the IA route clearance forces, but, this could be just a local modification vice indicating a general upgrade to the 15 Field Engineer Regiments. It also could be an indicator of a force-wide increase in EOD companies.
The 4-54/6 Battalion has or is upgrading to mechanized with hand-me-down BMP1s from the upgrading 9th Division. Apparently the 4-54/6 Battalion needs maintenance personnel [bottom page 7 in arabic] with experience on the BMP1s. Three of the 4 brigades in 6th Division have now been identified as receiving tracked armor indicating this division is next in priority after the 9th Division. Four of the 6 battalions identified as receiving upgrades from hand-me-down 9th Division armor have been in 6th Division so far. The upgraded battalions identified are: T55 Tanks in a battalion of the 12/3 Brigade, M113 APCs in 2 battalions of the 56/6 Brigade, and BMP1 MICVs in the 2-22/6, 4-54/6, and 1-33/8 Battalions. These upgrades indicate one division in each of the 4 planned corps’ are being upgraded to a mix of mechanized and motorized: 9th Mechanized Division in the Quick Intervention Corps, 6th Mech/Motor Infantry in the central, 3rd Mech/Motor Infantry in the north, and 8th Mech/Motor Infantry in the south.
The first batch of BTR4s was to deliver in December and the second batch of the Ukrainian armored vehicles will be delivered to Iraq in early 2011. This first delivery has not been confirmed but, the BTR4s are supposed to participate in the 6 January Army Day Parade. The BTR4s are expected to be employed in the Battalions’ Scout Platoons, Brigades’ Scout Companies, and the Divisions’ Reconnaissance Battalions. The only identified IA battalion receiving these is the 3-35/9 Battalion whose personnel have returned from training on BTR-4E in Ukraine. [IA calls Scouts, Recon, and Cavalry units “Commandos”.]
Iraqi artillery is progressing and instructors are being sought for M109A5s. "The M109A5 Artillery Trainer shall create and prepare a 28 day Program of Instruction (POI) to provide collective training for one Iraqi Army M109A5 Artillery Regiment consisting of 3 batteries. The M109A5 Artillery Trainer will train one artillery battery consisting of 6 - M109A5s (SP)(155MM), Fire Direction Center and Forward Observers at a time." This confirms the formation of an M109A5 equipped regiment is planned and previous reporting indicated this will be part of the 9th Division.
“Seventeen Iraqi Army majors graduated from the first Iraqi Field Artillery Pre-Commanders Course taught at the Iraqi Field Artillery School in Abu Ghraib Dec. 1. The four-month pre-commanders course qualifies officers in the Iraqi field artillery to be placed into a commander's role.” “The goal is for the officers to develop the skills and knowledge required to perform as the commander of a regiment.” This is the start of training battalion/regiment commanders for the Iraqi Army field artillery.
More junior FA officers are also being trained: "Iraqi Army soldiers with 6th Iraqi Army stand by prior to their Iraqi Army artillery school graduation ceremony in Baghdad, Dec. 14. Iraqi Army soldiers completed a four week artillery school." This could indicate that 6th Division is the next after 9 Division to upgrade to howitzers. All of the graduates in the photo are 1Lts.
Of note, the 81mm and 60mm mortar training is apparently being done by the IA Infantry School vice the FA School. Personnel from the 1st, 11th and 17th Divisions were being trained on 81mm Mortars by the Infantry School.
The Iraq Armor School, Eastern Wing, moved from Camp Taji to the Combined Arms School at the Besmaya Combat Training Center on 24 November. The school’s 69-vehicle convoy moved 320 soldiers to the BCTC along with thousands of training aids and equipment, including everything from beds to tanks. M1A1 tank training is in the process of turning over to Iraqi Army personnel.
The initial order of 140 M1A1 tanks and most of the M113s are to be employed by 9th Mechanized Division which has moved its headquarters to FOB Hammer – next to the Armor School at Besmaya. [IA calls it “Armored” but, US considers it to be mechanized.] Another batch of 12 M1A1 Abrams tanks purchased by the Government of Iraq from the United States arrived on 22 December at Umm Qasr. Once the tanks are de-processed, this will total 63 tanks integrated into the Iraqi Army. All 140 M1A1s of the first order are expected to be delivered by the end of 2011.
Iraqi press reported and Iraqi government confirmed that Iraq’s Council of Ministers authorized the Defense Minister to negotiate with Washington to buy six new F-16 combat jets and continue negotiations with the French side to buy 18 used Mirage 2000 jets as of 2012.
According to Antonov State Enterprise, the first three An-32 aircraft will be delivered to Iraq by the end of this year , and another three each in the years 2011 and 2012.
The Iraqi Army Aviation Command received three Bell T-407 training helicopters on 11 December. These unarmed helicopters will be used to train pilots with the Iraqi Army Air Corps’ 21st Squadron to fly the Iraqi Armed 407 which is an Armed Scout with forward-firing ground attack capabilities. Additionally the IA-407 is equipped with Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and data-link capabilities. A total of 27 IA-407s are scheduled for delivery to the 21st Squadron in late 2011 and early 2012.
Iraqi Navy and Marines
The second of 15 ordered Swiftship Patrol Boats is delivering. "Military Sealift Command-chartered heavy lift crane ship MV Ocean Titan delivered the second of a new class of U.S.-built patrol boats to Manama, Bahrain, today. The 115-foot boat is destined for Iraq, where it will be turned over to the Iraqi navy and used primarily to patrol coastal waters and provide security for the country's oil platforms.”
The Iraqi 1st Marine Brigade is moving to Bucca. Bucca is converting to a commercial center with offices, warehouses, aviation, and fuel services to support investors. By basing Iraqi Marines at this site, the Iraqi Government is providing security for the new commercial center. This is also the first mention of a 1st Marine Brigade, which infers there is a 2nd Marine Brigade forming. Camp Bucca was turned over to the Iraqi Marines in July 2010.
Ministry of Interior
Phase III Carabinieri training continues in the Iraqi Federal Police. "Members of the Iraqi Federal Police and Zerevani, Kurdish regional government police forces, graduated from a specialized NATO Training Mission-Iraq training course Dec. 19 at the Federal Police Special Training Academy at Camp Dublin. They join more than 9,400 members of the Iraqi Federal Police that have graduated since its initiation in 2007. This is the 15th Federal Police class graduation with 749 students from Basrah, Baghdad, Mosul and regions in northern Iraq."
It is possible that some of the Basrah Emergency Police tribal levees are being disbanded. "Iraqi tribesman prepare their weapons during a weapon handover event to the Iraqi government in Basra, 420 km (260 miles) southeast of Baghdad December 11, 2010. Several Iraqi tribes handed over their weapons, acquired during the Saddam Hussein era, to the Iraqi government, as part of a security plan to improve the security situation in southern Iraq."
NATO Training Mission Iraq graduated 120 Oil Police Directorate officer instructors on 9 December 2010. This is the first class of Carabinieri trained Oil Police.
At this point, it is impossible for the Iraqi Air Force to field a credible air defense prior to 2018-2020. Any delays in delivery or training, reductions in funding, or failures to develop the base infrastructure will make the eventual achievement of a credible air defense even later.
The combined forces of the Iraqi Air Force and Iraqi Army Air Corps are only recon, transport, training and support groups [wings]. It is one of the weakest air forces in the Middle-East – on par with Lebanon’s Air Force. Until ~2016, when they might reach parity with Kuwait’s small Air Force, Iraqi aviation services will only be a speed bump to any aggressive neighbor.
Iraqi Air Force [IqAF]
The target strength of the IqAF is 21-23 squadrons of which 7 are formed but, are under strength. None of these existing squadrons are jet-equipped so far; however, Iraq has decided on new Block 52 F16s and used Mirage 2000s for its initial fighter force. The first fighter squadron’s aircraft [18 used Mirage 2000s] are to arrive in 2012 [first 6 new F16s in 2013]. If the pilots train in France prior to delivery, then squadron level coordinated ops training can begin then and provide the IqAF with 1 operational combat capable fighter squadron by 2014.
Iraq needs a minimum of 5 fighter squadrons to provide a credible basic air defense capability.
The Iraqi Government does not buy more than a year’s budget’s worth of capital equipment at a time. This order of 18 used Mirage 2000s and 6 new F16s should be looked at as just the first annual order of fighters.
Based on existing, ordered, and required aircraft, the IqAF is to be organized into 7 wings:
- 4 Fighter Wings of 3 Squadrons each [16-18 fighters per squadron]. Aircraft to be purchased are a mix of F16/Block 52 and Mirage 2000s. At 6 annual purchases of 18 used Mirage 2000s/6 new F16s each and 4 additional annual purchases of 18 new F16s each, the last of this planned fighter force will be purchased in 2019 and operational by 2023. This is a 12 squadron planned force. The 6 squadrons of used Mirage 2000s will probably reach the end of their service life in 2025, which means low rate purchases [of Rafale?] to replace these used fighters will probably begin after the last of the initial 10 annual purchases in 2020.
- 1 Reconnaissance Wing of 3-4 Squadrons. 3 of these squadrons are formed but under strength. The 3rd Squadron is equipped with a mix of 5 Cessna 208 Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance [ISR], 3 armed ISR, and 5 Light Transport Aircraft [LTA]. The 87th Squadron is equipped with a mix of 10 King Air 350 ISR and 14 LTA. The 70th Squadron is equipped with 16 CH2000 and 2 Seeker ISR aircraft. All of these prop and turboprop recon and light transport aircraft can only function in a permissive air environment – they are dead in any air-to-air/surface-to-air threat environment. An additional squadron equipped with more combat survivable jet reconnaissance aircraft is probably planned. The Reconnaissance Wing is dispersed between Kirkuk, New Al Muthanna, and Tallil with a fourth squadron probably planned for Al Asad.
- 1 Transport Wing of 2-3 Squadrons. Only the 23rd Squadron is formed but under strength with only 3 C-130E and 6 more C-130J on order. Another squadron equipped with AN-32s is starting to form – 10 AN-32s have been ordered with 3 delivered and 3 per year delivering in 2011-2013. A third transport squadron is probably planned. The Transport Wing is based at New Al Muthanna.
- 1 Training Wing of 4 Squadrons. 3 training squadrons are formed and equipped with 12 Cessna 172s [basic flight], 10-20 Lasta 95s [intermediate], and 15 T-6A [advanced]. The 24-25 aircraft for a fourth [Jet] training squadron are to be purchased. The competition has been between the Korean T-50, British Hawk, or Italian Maki 346 trainers. However, recent reporting indicates the Iraqis are considering buying used Czech L159 instead, which indicates a budget issue. The Flight Training Wing is based at Tikrit with the new Air Academy.
The IqAF basing is fairly clear except for a limited number of bases in southern and western Iraq. The IqAF needs additional basing between Baghdad and Tallil [Ali Base at Nasiriyah] plus a base in western Anbar. They will probably use the existing international air ports as forward operating bases.
The only confirmed planned fighter base is Qayyarah West. Its new assigned commander stated that they will eventually get 3 F16 squadrons and an AAC helicopter squadron. Tallil and New Al Muthanna [Baghdad International] are also likely fighter bases. Where the fourth fighter wing will be based is not clear.
Iraqi Army Air Corps [AAC]
The target strength of the AAC is 17 squadrons of which 4 are formed and 4 are forming. Basing is still being developed and will be shared with the IqAF. Based on existing, ordered, and required aircraft, the AAC is to be organized into 4 Aviation Brigades with 4 squadrons each plus a training squadron.
- The 4 Squadrons formed are the 2nd Scout [UH-1], 4th Transport [Mi-17], 12th Helicopter Training [Bell 206/OH-58], and 15th Transport/Air Assault [Mi-17] Squadrons.
- The 4 Squadrons forming are the 21st Scout [Bell 407], 88th Scout [SA-342], ? Scout [EC-635], and ? Transport [Mi-17] Squadrons.
- The 9 additional Squadrons planned are 3 Scout [Options for additional Bell 407, SA-342, and EC-635 Squadrons.], 2 Transport [Crews already trained for 2 Mi-17 Squadrons], and 4 probable Attack Squadrons [Reportedly they want AH-64s.]. Each Border Province with Syria/Iran requires a base - at least a contingency base. Those are wartime Corps Sectors. The reported planned basing does not properly cover Maysan, Diyala, and Anbar.
The 12th Helicopter Training Squadron is relocating to Habbeniyah to be co-located with the new Army Air Corps College.
[While there are currently no indications of this, it is possible that additional squadrons will be formed by reducing the number of helicopters per squadron from 24 to 16. This would increase the probable planned aviation brigades to 5-6 with a total of 21-25 squadrons, but would not increase the number of aircraft.]
Iraqi Air Defense Force
So far there are 4 Sector Operations Centers formed or forming. These are at Kirkuk, Al Asad, Taji, and Tallil. Their ground radar coverage leaves major tracking gaps in low altitude coverage. Even with the planned IqAF, AAC, and civil air port radar coverage networked - there are still major low altitude gaps in Maysan, Diyala, and Anbar. No surface-air missile or gun purchases have been reported. There are also no reports of airborne radar systems to fill the low-altitude gaps.
Iraqi Navy and Marine support
The Iraqi maritime forces require at least 1 squadron of helicopters for support. Previous reporting had mentioned the purchase of French helicopters for this role. Reporting has since dried up.
Iraqi Ministry of Interior [MoI] Air Corps
This element is planned but not formed yet. The MoI plans to purchase utility and scout helicopters to support the Department of Border Enforcement and the MoI Emergency Response Force. At least 5 helicopter squadrons are required – possibly organized into an eventual 3-5 aviation brigades.
The Kurdish Regional Guards are reported to have a helicopter Observation Squadron and desires to purchase more helicopters. Probably plans to organize its own aviation brigade.
The Iraqi Aviation forces are developing but, will not be able to effectively defend their air space until 2018-2020 at the earliest. Any further delays push this eventual capability into the 2020s. Until then, Iraqi Aviation is an army-centric support, transport, and training force.
[I hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year.]
[Disclaimer: This is a speculation piece. If 60 percent of this turns out correct, I will consider it good. Until (if) the Counter-terrorism Law is passed and a legal structure authorized, this force is limited to what the Prime Minister’s Emergency Fund can support.]
Unity of command is stressed by militaries because; divided command structures have cost battles and wars throughout history. So why are militaries, especially ground forces, not unified?
There is a rarely discussed factor about military organization and why it is almost always divided. "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely." Concentration of military power in one organization, especially ground forces, invites military coups and dictatorships. Even splitting the forces [power] between 2 ministries just means that the more powerful ministry gets to choose the dictator.
The catch is that overly divided militaries leave a country’s armed forces weak and dysfunctional in the face of foreign attack.
The ground forces and communications are the key elements for military coups. The most common compromise made to reduce the possibility of a coup while reducing the disruption of a divided command is to divide the ground forces into three separate components with the better-trained components being smaller to balance them. The smallest and most elite of these component ground forces is usually given the honor of guarding the government [praetorians]. This forces any potential dictator to gain control at least two of the three ground forces to secure power or to perform a coup. Rivalry between these forces is usually encouraged, as they may be called on to shoot at each other in event of an attempted coup.
This is true of all types of governments, whether they be dictatorships, republics, or democracies. In the US, the Troika was established by President Washington after the Continental Army offered him the Kingdom at least 3 times. He established the division of US ground forces into the State Militias [National Guard], the Continental Army [US Army], and the US Marine Corps. The USMC, as the smallest and most elite force, received the honor of guarding the White House and the US Embassies. With the exception of the civil-war, when both the Army and the States Militias split on regional lines, this has been an effective deterrent to military rule in the US.
In Iraq, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) controls the largest ground forces in personnel size. The Iraqi MoI currently includes the Iraqi Police, Federal Police (FP), Emergency Response Force (ERF), Department of Border Enforcement (DBE), Customs Police, Oil Police Directorate, and Facilities Protection Service. Three of those services [FP, ERF, and DBE] have a secondary role augmenting the Iraqi Army in event of a mobilization against a foreign threat.
The Iraqi MoI has more than twice as many personnel as the Ministry of Defense (MoD). However, the MoI forces are dispersed and relatively lightly armed compared to the MoD forces. The MoD currently includes the Iraqi Army (IA), Air Force, Navy, and Marines.
Then there is the delayed but slowly evolving third leg of this troika: The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), which operates as a de facto third ground force but, has not been legally authorized by the Iraqi Parliament in the 3 years since the Office of the Commander-in-Chief [Prime Minister] established it.
Counter Terrorism Service
The Counter Terrorism Bureau was first proposed over 3 years ago. The Prime Minister apparently thought that the Counter Terrorism Law authorizing this new ministry would pass in short order, since the operational command of the IA’s Iraqi Special Operations Force was shifted to the CTB. The Iraqi Parliament did not agree.
There has been a resistance to any organization that appears to be a new Republican Guard. This has hamstrung development of this service and left the Ministries of Interior and Defense officially splitting power of the armed services. However, there are major elements of the MoD/MoI that are not under their ministry’s control – just as ISOF has not been under the IA’s operational control since it was assigned to the CTB [Since renamed the Counter Terrorism Service.]. Those potential additions to the CTS, if and when the Counter Terrorism Law is passed, are described below:
Ministry of Defense elements
While there are signs of additional divisions forming in the Iraqi Army, the Minister of Defense is talking about a reduction in the size of the Iraqi Army. His comments do not make sense until you realize that:
- There are 3 division-equivalents of personnel that are probably transferring to the CTS from the IA.
- Most of the elements for the planned additional 4 IA divisions are already built – all but 1 IA division has more than the standard numbers of line battalions. The IA is at least 29 battalions over standard strength for the current 14 commissioned Divisions [35 by my count]. That accounts for 2 of the 4 planned additional divisions. The 2 planned mountain divisions already have manning from the KRG under IA training.
Iraqi Special Operations Force:
ISOF is the only combat force assigned to the CTS at this point. The planned size of this element is 5 brigades. Based on the 1st ISOF Brigade structure and reported BTR80 training, these 5 brigades are to include a HQ Battalion, Support Battalion, and 3 combat battalions. The combat battalions are to be an air mobile battalion trained in close-quarters assault, a light mechanized commando battalion for perimeter security, and intelligence/reconnaissance battalion.
The delay in authorizing the CTS has also delayed the expansion of ISOF. The IA is only providing minimal support to this nominal subordinate since they expect to lose it. This has hindered development of the best force in the ISF. While ISOF has its own recruiting and training program separate from the IA, the IA is supposed to eventually transfer 1,800 personnel to ISOF. This transfer has been delayed for over a year now.
The 2 Presidential Brigades are officially IA but, are under the control of the National Operations Center and responsible for protection of the President, Vice-Presidents, and Prime Minister. Their assigned role does not fit with the duties of the IA. Personal security of governmental officials is more in line with the duties of the CTS.
Independent Protection Battalions:
The 14 Independent Protection Battalions are officially IA but, are under the control of the National Operations Center and responsible for protection of members of the Council of Ministers and the Council of Representatives. Their assigned role does not fit with the duties of the IA. Personal security of governmental officials is more in line with the duties of the CTS.
56th IA Mechanized Brigade:
The 56th Brigade is administratively part of the IA 6th Division but, is under the control of the National Operations Center and responsible for perimeter security of the International Zone. Their assigned role does not fit with the duties of the IA. Personal security of governmental facilities is more in line with the duties of the CTS.
37th IA Light Mechanized Brigade elements:
ISOF has had personnel trained in maintaining BTR80s for over a year now but, ISOF does not have BTR80s. The only ISF BTR80s are in the IA’s 1-37, 2-37, and 3-37 Battalions plus the 4-1 FP Mechanized Battalion [BTR94 variant]. The 37th has already started to receive tanks to replace their BTRs but, in separate battalions. This could mean some or all of the BTR80 and EE9 personnel in 37th Brigade are transferring to CTS/ISOF with their armor. The IA has been reportedly postponing transferring 1,800 IA personnel to ISOF for over a year now. 1,800 personnel fit for the transfer of those 4 Lt Mechanized/Lt Armored Recon Battalions from the 37th to ISOF.
Ministry of Interior elements
Like the MoD, there are elements of the MoI that are more in line with the CTS roles/missions. There are 3-4 division-equivalents of ERF [MoI SOF] and 1 security division-equivalent of FP that are likely candidates for transfer to the CTS.
Emergency Response Force:
The ERF is officially part of MoI but, like the IA’s 14 Protection Battalions, 2 Presidential Brigades, and the 56th Brigade, the ERF is under the direct command of the National Operation Center. The ERF’s role is the same as ISOF’s except they operate as the local response forces. At least 6 brigades of the ERF are formed and this force is continuing to expand by absorbing, retraining, and reorganizing the better 50 percent of the local SWAT trained Emergency Response Unit Battalions. Eventual ERF strength is expected to be 12-15 brigades.
Federal Police Security Brigades:
There are 3 security force brigades under the FP that are more in keeping with the CTS duties. The Ruins and Antiquities Security Force is responsible for protecting artifacts that can be stole to provide funding for terrorism. The Central Bank Security Force guards the bank – again a source/target for funding terrorism. The Embassy Security Force guards foreign embassies in the International Zone – a favorite target for terrorism.
4-1 FP Mechanized Battalion:
ISOF has had personnel trained in maintaining BTR80s but, ISOF does not have BTR80s. The only ISF BTR80s are in the IA’s 1-37, 2-37, and 3-37 Battalions plus the 4-1 FP Mechanized Battalion [BTR94 variant]. This could mean some or all of the BTR94s are transferring to CTS/ISOF.
Wartime and Peacetime roles/organization of the CTS
The peacetime role of the CTS is high end counter-terrorism - internal security. They are also the de facto praetorian force to prevent military coups. To perform these roles, they require legislation authorizing them and transfers of MoD/MoI formations currently filling these roles.
CTS is unlikely to organize most of its commando forces into divisions since, in wartime mobilization, they provide 2 commando brigades of ISOF/ERF to each of the frontal corps. The Baghdad based Brigades may be organized into a Special Operations Division composed of 56th Mechanized Brigade, 1st ISOF Brigade, and 2 ERF Brigades as part of the central reserve. The security/protection forces are unlikely to change roles in wartime – only the ISOF, ERF, and 56th Mechanized Brigades would have a wartime front-line combat role.
If all of the above elements are incorporated into the CTS then the force would probably become an 8 division-equivalent sized service composed of [probable is 65 and possible is 35 percent]:
- 5 ISOF Commando Brigades [already happening – 1 division-equivalent].
- 12-15 ERF Commando Brigades [probable – 3-4 division-equivalents].
- 1 Mechanized Brigade – 56th [probable].
- 2 Personal Security Divisions or division-equivalents - Presidential and Council [possible].
- 1 Facilities Security Division – Bank, Embassy, and Antiquities [possible]
If the commando elements are organized into regional divisions, then the 5 ISOF Brigades are likely to be the regional/divisional quick reactions force while the 12-15 ERF Brigades operate as local QRFs.
The CTS is not a legal service yet but, if and when it is authorized, it will grow rapidly to a 5-8 division-equivalent force – the elite third ground force to balance the MoD’s and MoI’s combat forces.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during November 2010. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 November 2010. The Table of Organization and Equipment [Appendix B] has been reorganized for readability. The articles “Iraqi Armor Update November 2010” and “ISF Total Force Mobilization Update November 2010” were addressed separately and will not be addressed here. Highlights in this update include:
- Most M113s going to 9th Division; No Bradleys planned for IA at this time; M1A1 training ammunition to be ordered; Iraqi Air Force may be getting used L159 Jet Trainers vice new aircraft; MoD is considering used French and US Fighters; Last 4 T-6A trainers delivered; Naval C4ISR system to be bought.
- Training of Peshmerga forces to integrate them into the ISF continues to progress.
- 2 Protection Battalions to protect Allawi; Surge of 5,000 new IA recruits; M1A1 training continues; Howitzers in 17th Division?; Strategic Bridging Company in training.
- 70th Squadron moves and may be reconfiguring; 12 Squadron may be moving; AAC College being established at Habbeniyah; Mi-17 weapons training.
- 6th ERF Brigade identified in Mosul.
Arms Purchases and Deliveries
During a Blogger-roundtable on 4 November, Brigadier General Buchanan said that the Iraqi Army now had 43 of the 140 ordered M1A1 tanks. The 24 M109A5 Self-Propelled Howitzers being provided are to go to a 9th Division Field Artillery Regiment. He could not provide a break-down on the 1,026 M113 Family of Vehicles but, he did say that some are already in-country, with the rest delivering over the next year. The majority of the M113 variants are going to 9th Division [showpiece]. This indicates a greater concentration of M113s in the 9th Division than previously estimated. [Hence the armor update.]
In response to a follow-up request for information Captain Leslie Waddle, Press Desk Officer, Media Operations Center US Embassy-Baghdad stated: “In reference to your question below, this is the breakdown of what variants they are. We can't provide the numbers, we recommend you contact Government of Iraq for their breakdown. The following is a list of the different variants of M113s being supplied to the GoI: M113A2--Armored Personnel Carriers, M113A2--Ambulance, M548A1--Cargo Carrier, M1064--Mortar Carrier, M577A2--Command Post Carrier, M577A2--Emergency Medical Treatment Vehicle.”
As usual, GoI/IMoD is not answering inquiries but, previously reported FMS notices indicate at least 440 of the 1,026 are M113A2 APCs. The probable range of M1064 120mm Mortar Carriers in this mix is 250-300 with the remaining 4 variants splitting the remaining 250-300.
Despite inaccurate press reporting to the contrary, USF-I Press Desk says that Bradley Fighting Vehicles are not being provided or sold to the ISF at this time. It is probable that the erroneous press reporting was confusion over the actual M113 APC deal.
A 30 November FMS Notice of a possible sale of M1A1 ammunition was also hyped without the press reporting noting that over 90 percent of the ammunition is practice rounds. The notice was for:14,010 TP-T M831A1 120mm Cartridges, 16,110 TPCSDS-T M865 120mm Cartridges, and 3,510 HEAT-MP-T M830A1 120mm Cartridges.
To put this into perspective, Iraq is taking delivery of a total of only 140 M1A1 tanks over the next year. Each of those tanks carries 40 120mm main-gun rounds. To fill those tanks with war-shots would take 5,600 rounds vice the 3,510 HEAT rounds in the order. The above order is for 215 training rounds and 25 HEAT rounds per tank. Considering that Iraq has an option for another 140 M1A1s to be delivered within 2 years, this is just initial training ammo.
There is reporting that the Czech Republic might sell up to 25 used Aero L-159 to Iraq. Iraq has been holding a competition for 24 jet trainers between Korea’s T-50, the UK’s Hawk, and Italy’s Maki 346. It is probable that the price of new aircraft proved prohibitive and that Iraq is now looking at buying cheaper used jet trainer aircraft.
The Ministry of Defense “is studying the possibility of buying used French and U.S. planes, until being able to get new ones. The Minister, also, denied that Iraq has (F16) aircrafts, but is in the process of contracting to buy them; adding that, at present, Iraq has no aircrafts capable to repulse any aerial aggression, and that the U.S. Air Force is, now, protecting the Iraqi air-space. He, then, pointed that the coming government and parliament will have to decide whether accepting the building of U.S. Air Bases in Iraq or finding an alternative." Of note, there has been a further delay of the initial F16 purchase caused by the lack of a budget for 2011 but, that is in the process of being resolved.
The last 4 of 15 ordered T-6A trainers departed Wichita Beech for Iraq on 4 November, according to Marco Dijkshoorn of the Dutch Aviation Society.
A 30 November FMS notice of a possible sale to Iraq of Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) system for monitoring Iraq’s coastline has also been released. This system is to “ensure that the Iraqi Naval Force (INF) is better able to efficiently use its vessels and manpower to police Iraqi territorial waters and protect its strategic maritime assets."
"Four-hundred-nine Regional Guard Brigade Soldiers successfully completed Basic Combat Training in Beneslawa Nov. 3. These RGB Soldiers, all from the 1st Battalion, 2nd Regional Guard Brigade, represent the second class of RGB Soldiers to complete this BCT course. Conducted at the Beneslawa Zeravani Training Center, the course was modeled on the Iraqi Army's training program and was conducted by RGB officers and noncommissioned officers. These soldiers were trained in the latest basic infantry skills to prepare them for future service with the Iraqi Army." 2nd RGB is a component previously identified as a probable part of the planned IA 16th Mountain Division.
"Thirty-seven Regional Guard Brigade Soldiers successfully completed the Iraqi Army Intelligence School at Camp Taji Nov. 15. The 37 RGB Soldiers accompanied 268 additional Iraqi Army Soldiers in graduation ceremonies capping off the first-ever class to jointly integrate RGB Soldiers jointly into intelligence training in the school’s specialty courses. “The purpose of the joint Regional Guard Brigade and Iraqi Army Intelligence training is to ensure that Regional Guard Brigade intelligence capabilities are interoperable with Iraqi Army Division Intelligence capabilities,” said Peter Fischer, director, Iraq Training and Advisory Mission-Intelligence, who oversees the school’s training under the United States Forces-Iraq’s joint partnership with the Iraqi Military.” This is part of establishing a divisional intelligence component and tying it into the IA Intelligence network.
“Thirty-One Regional Guard Brigade soldiers from the Sulaymaniyah, Arbil and Dahuk provinces completed the Basic Combat Instructor Course at the Zeravani Training Center in Beneslawa, Oct. 28. As qualified instructors, these soldiers will report to the new Bapshtian Training Center to begin training solders in a Basic Combat Training Course that is scheduled to begin Nov. 20.” This new training center for KRG forces is the second divisional training center being established to train Kurdish forces on IA lines indicating both 15th and 16th Mountain Divisions are being assembled.
The US 2-7 Cavalry Battalion, 4th “Advise and Assist” Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division is reported training the 9/3 IA Brigade and 15th Regional Guards Brigade in Wanah. This is the first mention of 15th RGB. Six Kurdish Brigades have been identified receiving IA style training. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd RGBs in the planned 16th Mountain Division area and the 12th, 15th, and 43rd RGBs in the planned 15th Mountain Division area.
A pair of protection battalions may be employed protecting Allawi. "Allawi, who was the target of more than 13 assassination attempts, will have protection made up of two regiments from the Iraqi forces..." There are 14 Independent Protection Battalions and 6 more Protection Battalions in the 2 Presidential Brigades.
The IA continues to expand. "As part of a country-wide surge of 5,000 new Iraqi Army recruits, Iraqi Army Engineer School cadre are leading a 60-day Basic Combat Training course that began Oct. 6 at Camp Taji." If the IA Engineer School is being used to train new recruits, then the training system is filled to current capacity and this indicates an expansion of the IA.
Training on M1A1 tanks continues. "Forty-two Soldiers from the Iraqi Army’s 9th Armored Division graduated from the M1A1 Familiarization Course at the Besmaya Combat Training Center Nov. 2 This latest class, which was conducted with the assistance of Iraqi Armor School cadre, brings the total number of Iraqi Army Soldiers who have completed this course to 504."
Salvaged D30 howitzers reported in Iraqi TV news employed in 29 November live-fire exercise of 17th Division in south Baghdad. The only D30s known in the IA are in 9th Division. This indicates either a transfer of the artillery to 17th Division or a 9th Division augment for the exercise. There is some question as to the functionality of the D30s.
The new Strategic Bridging Company has been reported in training. This is a first report of the unit which is to be equipped with excess US equipment.
On 30 November 2010, Major Adrian Henegan, formerly with MNSTC-I working the IA mortar and M1A1 tank programs, provided comments concerning the developments of those programs during his tour in 2008-2009. Appendix F [Oct13 and Nov24], Appendix G [Feb19, Feb20, Mar01, Mar28, Mar31, Apr02, Apr03, Apr9, Apr25, Apr28, and Jun19], and Appendix H [Nov30] have been updated with these corrections, clarifications, and addendums.
The Iraqi Air Force 70th Reconnaissance Squadron finally relocated to Tallil in November. "The new unit proudly displayed its new aircraft, a group of CH 2000 reconnaissance planes, an AC-208 and an Iraqi C-130 cargo plane, similar to the U.S. version.” The C130 is probably just visiting but, the addition of an AC-208 indicates an upgrade to the squadron.
The Iraqi Army Air Corps 12th Training Squadron is probably moving to Habbeniyah. Habbeniyah is becoming the AAC training Base according to the Commander of the AAC on Al Hurrah 14 November. The Iraqi Army Air Corps College is being established at Habbeniyah. Taji is becoming crowded and this move helps alleviate this problem.
Weapons’ training continues for Iraqi helicopter pilots. "Three Iraq Army Aviation Directorate instructor pilots completed the flying portion of Mi-17 weapons re-qualification training Oct. 27. Assisted by representatives of United States Forces-Iraq’s Iraq Training and Advisory Mission-Air Force, the instructor pilots were required to plan the mission and then execute firing operations for 80mm rockets at targets."
On 11 November, 7th Division troops were training on embarking and debarking from Iraqi Hueys and US Blackhawk helicopters. While the division has had elements training on air assault befor, this is the first reported employment of Iraqi UH-1 Hueys in this role. The only Hueys in the Iraqi AAC are in 2nd Squadron, last reported based at Taji.
Ministry of Interior
A US Division – North press release on 17 November mentioned the 6th Emergency Response Brigade operating in Mosul. This indicates that the Ministry of Interior’s Emergency Response Force has expanded to 6, possibly 7 brigades. Only the 1st, 3rd, and now the 6th ERBs have been located. Baghdad, Baqubah, Basrah, and the Kurdish Region have all shown signs of ERF training/formation and are the probable locations for the un-located brigades.
The ERF is expanding by taking provincial police SWAT personnel through a training program and then reorganizing/re-equipping the 50 percent that pass into centrally controlled ERF battalions/brigades. Those that do not pass the selection course revert to the province police and will eventually be absorbed by the expanding Federal Police. The ERF is expected to grow to 12-15 brigades by 2015.
This is one of the few lawyers that I agree with. Take the time to watch. He starts at 4:45.
The irony not mentioned is that most of those elite schools were founded and were originally funded by the US Federal Government to provide officers for the military…
There are all sorts of people speculating as to what the Iraqi Security Force should or should not do and what the ISF defense concept should be. The concepts range from conventional forward defense to people who are confusing delaying tactics for defense. Most are unaffordable. Many are unsuitable due to Iraq’s limited strategic depth. Basrah is in artillery range with a 4 mile advance into Iraq. Baghdad is less than 3 hours drive for a tank division coming from the Iranian border unopposed. Iranian tanks would not even need to refuel on the way if unopposed.
Only in the Anbar, Najaf, and Muthanna border areas opposite Jordan and Saudi does Iraq have the strategic depth necessary for a mobile defense concept. Everywhere else, forward defense is the only real option. That major detail has not stopped some amateur proposals from talking using a mobile defense concept supported by aircraft. However, such a defense requires a minimum of 100 kilometers depth of maneuvering room, minimized lines of communication in that zone, and an unaffordable large air force.
This is why Saudi Arabia is not developed for 100-150km depth along most of its borders. That is the military combat zone with its limited roads to channelize an enemy’s advance. Saudi’s concept of operations is to delay an invader in that zone with air strikes and small well armed blocking forces until an ally [US] arrives in strength to intervene. The exception to this rule is the Kuwait border which was developed for the oil – which is why invading Kuwait is a tripwire for US intervention into Saudi. Iraq does not have this defensive depth.
Saudi did not invent this concept of operations and it has several major flaws. The biggest flaw is it is not a stand-alone defense – it is a delaying tactic - it requires intervention by an outside force. This delaying tactic did not work so well on the eastern front for the Wehrmacht in 1943-45 when the miracle split in the allies never happened. The German’s employed this same concept and they had considerably more room to work with on the eastern front. All it did was delay the fall while they prayed for a miracle that never happened. Iraq does not have any mutual defense treaties to guarantee the miracle intervention.
If Iraq were to employ such an operational concept on any border except the Saudi/Jordanian border – E.G. Iran: It would hand every major city in Iraq to Iran in less than 2 weeks of combat operations. Too many strategic cities and oil facilities are just too close to the border. Iraq also is too built up in those regions with a road network that facilitates multiple axis of attack. Iraq does not have the strategic depth necessary to employ that set of mobile defensive tactics. It could be argued that Iraq needs to be pre-emptive and attack Iran in such a situation – so as to gain the strategic depth needed but, that did not work out so well for Saddam.
Fortunately for Iraq, the Iraq Security Forces understand that they are going to have a hard time buying enough fighter aircraft and SAMs for their air defense. The decision-makers understand that light COIN aircraft are not cost effective if the cost is the loss of the country – they need the advanced fighters first and cannot afford wasting the budget on large numbers of single role aircraft. The Iraqi Air Force in 2020 will be lucky to have enough capable combat aircraft to provide air defense given their budget. The Iraqi Air Force will not be wasting money on large numbers of aircraft that can be easily shot down by any fighter built since WWII – the money will be going to air defense. The Iraqi Defense concept is forward defense and the ground forces are not expecting much air support.
As depicted on the map, the forward defense concept planned by the Iraqi Security Forces utilizes the Total Mobilization Concept. The DBE provides the forward screen with a mix of Iraqi Army, Iraqi Federal Police, and Kurdish Regional Guards providing the primary infantry line. The Iraqi Army plans to add significant armor to its force so that it’s mechanized and armor divisions can operate as corps/army reserve to react to any enemy breakthrough. Supporting those heavy divisions will be the limited Army Aviation working with the Iraqi Special Operations Force brigades and the MoI’s Emergency Response Force Brigades as part of the quick reaction forces. However, all of these forces are not ready for external defense. They would be only a speed-bump to the Iranian forces at this point. To put it into perspective, the 3-phase Iraqi Ministry of Defense plan is:
· Tactical Independence (2006-2010) – Internal security which is effectively done.
· Operational Independence (2011-2015) – unlikely to meet the schedule. IA needs to be out of internal security operations by then and it is unlikely that the FP will be ready to take over in time. Also, the FP needs to train and equip for its secondary role as infantry in external defense.
· Strategic Independence (2016-2020) – unlikely to meet the schedule. This requires a functional and credible air defense, at least 6 heavy IA divisions, and the FP trained/equipped for its secondary role of external security.
Each of the services are at differing points in the development time-line, almost none of them are really on schedule.
The Iraqi Army is in early Phase 2 with the armor and artillery programs behind schedule. Originally, the artillery program was to start in 2007 but, the addition of 4 divisions for internal security diverted resources from upgrading the existing divisions. The Iraqi Army is just starting to re-equip and train the 9th Armored Division for that role, and this is the only division in the Iraqi army with any howitzers.
The IA has only 14 of 20 planned IA Divisions; 4 more appear to be forming – 16th, 18th, President, and Council. Only 1 armored division exists and that is in M1A1/M113/BTR4 conversion training.
The 20 IA divisions are planned to be 4 Armored, 6 Mechanized Infantry, 6 [truck-mounted] Motorized Infantry, 2 Mountain, and 2 Security Divisions. All except 1 division is missing their howitzers and some of their other necessary support components. The planned armor and mechanized upgrades will not be completed by 2020. Too much of the budget is needed for air defense to upgrade more than 6-8 divisions to mech/armor.
Iraqi Air Force
The Iraqi Air Force is in late-Phase 1 and will not be starting Phase 2 until it starts to field an air defense with teeth.
The separation of the helicopter assets to the Army Air Corps should facilitate re-focusing the Air Force on its primary air defense mission but, the price and delivery times make it unlikely that a credible air defense can be fielded by 2020. The first fighters are not expected to start to deliver until 2014 at earliest. Budget issues may delay that further. A minimum of 5 fighter squadrons are necessary for Iraqi air defense – preferably 8-10. Given Delivery and training time, the minimum needed 5 squadrons could be operational by 2020 – barring any further delays. This also requires further development of the support structure.
To date, no SAM-based air defense has been ordered. The earliest SAMs could be added is 2013-2014 and sufficient numbers/training/support would push their effective operational date to 2017-2020.
Iraqi Navy and Marines
The Iraqi Navy and Marines are in Phase 2 but, that in more a factor of their limited objectives. The Marines still need to expand to a Division-sized force to cover the expanding Al Faw ports and the Navy needs missile boats and coastal defense missiles. The existing force is gun armed.
Iraqi Special Operations Force/Emergency Response Force
ISOF is in Phase 2 but, the expansion to 5 brigades is slow and facing delays. The ERF is in Phase 1 and facing similar problems to ISOF. Screening, training and expanding by taking in the best 50 percent of the province SWAT forces is not a fast program.
The Iraqi Special Operations Force and the Emergency Response Force are a Division-equivalent in size but, mostly dispersed in battalion-sized detachments. Both forces are expanding slowly to a probably planned 5 ISOF and 14-15 ERF Brigades. This will be a slow expansion, probably not complete until 2018-2020. In wartime these forces would be assigned to corps or army headquarters as airmobile quick reaction forces and reconnaissance forces.
The Federal Police is in early to mid-Phase 1. The FP is in the process of forming its 5th and 6th Divisions out of the Mid-Euphrates emergency police and part of the 30,000 Kurdish Zerevani that are transferring to the Iraqi MoI. This is less than half of the 14-16 planned Federal Police Divisions being built by retraining/re-equipping the existing provincial emergency police. Until the FP finishes this “Nationalization” program, they will not be training or equipping for their secondary external security role [Phase 2].
4 of 14-16 planned FP Divisions exist at this time with 2 more forming. These ~15 Divisions are planned to be 14-15 [truck] Motorized Infantry and 1 Security Division. These new Divisions are being formed by transferring, retraining, and re-equipping existing Province Paramilitary forces. This will probably not be done until after 2015, after which training on their secondary external defense role will commence.
Department of Border Enforcement
The DBE is also in Phase 1. They are short 5 brigades in strength and the DBE has few mobile units – they are based on fixed border fortifications. This makes its function as a forward screen a very short-lived one in event of an attack. They are also missing field artillery and mortars. The 5 existing under strength DBE Divisions are mostly static forces tied to their border “forts”. This is the only force planned to be used in external defense with a “Maginot Line” mentality.
Ministry of Interior Aviation
Ministry of Interior Aviation is in Phase 0. They are ordering their first aircraft.
Oil Police Directorate
OPD is in early Phase 1. OPD is only at 1/3rd strength and slow training. However, the Italian Carabinieri is starting a training program for the Oil Police similar to the program for the Federal Police – this could make those 4 forming security divisions much more useful in the future. At this point the OPD is 4 badly under strength Oil Police Divisions. For now, these are static forces; however, the Carabinieri training could convert them into a more capable mobile force. Due to the importance of guarding the oil infrastructure – these forces are unlikely to be used in external security. They will be rear-area security releasing the IA from securing the all-important oil infrastructure.
Facilities Protection Service
The Facilities Protection Force is at Phase 0.5 – only 10 percent has transitioned to the IP pay scale and they probably will never be more than “rent-a-cops” at best. The 3 forming Facilities Police Divisions are low capability static security and unlikely to be used in external security.
Kurdish Regional Guards
The Kurdish Regional Guards are Phase 2 but, only recently started Iraqi Army training. The delay in merging the Peshmerga forces from 2 de facto political militias into 1 security force has hurt training. In addition to the 2 IA, 2 FP, and 1 DBE Division being manned or to be manned by the Peshmerga, there are 21 Regional Guards Brigades are being organized on standard IA structure. The 21 forming Regional Guards Brigades are being formed by combining PUK and KDP smaller sized “brigades” and forming more conventionally standard sized brigades. KRG forces are restricted to Kurdish areas unless the Kurdish Regional Government agrees to their deployment. Total forces in the Kurdish Region are 2 corps equivalents – 1 army.
The ISF is developing but, budget issues and politics has delayed many key components. It is unlikely to meet the planned schedules for 2015 and 2020. Air Defense is still the major issue and the price-tag associated with air defense will impact any plans for other purchases. Without the essential air defense, everything else is just targets…
[Important item first: On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11 month in 1918 – Armistice. To my fellow vets: Have a happy Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day.]
Details concerning armor developments in the Iraqi Army are slowly being released. However, much remains speculative. As with all speculation pieces, I will be happy if 60 percent proves correct. My comments and analysis in this lead section are in italics.
The first 11 BTR4 line, command, and staff variants are arriving this month. Apparently the engine delivery problems with sub-contractor have delayed/reduced the initial delivery from 24 in October to 11 in November. All 420 of these vehicles are to be delivered over the next 3.5 years. Only elements of 1 battalion have been identified training in using BTR4s.
This could mean the entire 3-35/9 Battalion is upgrading with BTR4s. It could also mean that only part of the battalion is upgrading [E.G. 3-35/9 Battalion’s Scout/Commando Platoon]. The battalion personnel in training could also be transferred to another division after training.
During a DoD Blogger’s Roundtable, Brigadier General Jeffrey Buchanan, the Director of Strategic Effects USF-I provided some details on US armor being sold or provided to the IA. The majority of the 1,026 M113 Family of Vehicles delivering to Iraq over the next year are going to the 9th Armored Division. All 24 of the M109 155mm Self-Propelled Howitzers are going to the 9th Armored Division’s Field Artillery Regiment. The IA has now taken delivery of 43 of the initial order of 140 M1A1 tanks. The tanks are also going to the 9th Armored Division.
The IA already has 283 M113A2 APCs and 44 Talha APCs [Pakistani M113 clone], with most already assigned to 9 Armored Division. A Foreign Material Sales notice identified 440 M113A2s as being refurbished as part of the 1,026 M113 FOVs being provided to Iraq. These numbers , combined with most of the M113s being assigned to 9th Armored Division, indicate that only 7-8 heavy brigades are being upgraded with M113A2s and that 4 of those heavy brigades are in the 9th Armored Division.
It also points to an additional 350 [minimum] of tank orders to fill out the mix. Only 280 M1A1s have been ordered/optioned for so far.
This also indicates that the BTR4s, if they remain in 9th Armor Division’s mix, are being used for the battalion scout/commando platoons, brigade scout/commando companies, and the division’s commando battalion. This would explain the abundance of command vehicles in the BTR4 purchase. However, this does not exclude the alternate possibilities.
In response to a follow-up request for information Captain Leslie Waddle, Press Desk Officer, Media Operations Center US Embassy-Baghdad provided the following amplification to BG Buchanan’s response:
“In reference to your question below, this is the breakdown of what variants they are. We can't provide the numbers, we recommend you contact Government of Iraq for their breakdown. The following is a list of the different variants of M113s being supplied to the GoI:
M113A2--Armored Personnel Carriers,
M577A2--Command Post Carrier,
M577A2--Emergency Medical Treatment Vehicle.”
Apparently, Iraqi OPSEC applies to numbers; however, US law will require public Congressional notification of those numbers eventually. Iraqi Ministry of Defense is operating under a news blackout and last responded to my inquires almost 3 years ago.
The APCs have been identified by DSCA as 440. The M1064 120mm mortar carriers are probably 288 in number at 8 heavy brigades with 3 battalions each [6 per battalion plus 18 per brigade]. The remaining 4 variants probably total 298 vehicles divided into roughly equal numbers.
The Command Post Carriers combined with the 30 BTR4Ksh Staff vehicles and 80 BTR4K Command vehicles indicate either the BTR4s are going to other divisions or they are being distributed among the heavy battalions, brigades, and divisions as the scout/commando elements.
Likewise, the absence of M901 Improved TOW Vehicles supports the use of the BTR4s as filling the scout/commando and anti-tank roles in any M113 equipped battalions that do not include tanks.
The M1A1 equipped tank regiments are to have 35 tanks and require a total of 80 vehicle bays. This indicates a combined arms battalion mix of vehicles: 2 tanks companies of 17 tanks each, 2 mechanized companies, 1 mortar battery of 6 mortar carriers, scout platoon, and supporting Headquarters Support Company.
[The remainder of this article is all my analysis and comments. Italics discontinued.]
Suggested Heavy Brigade Structure
One of the reoccurring indications is that the BTR4s are to be used for the scout/commando and anti-tank elements of 8 planned heavy brigades while the M113s fill the armored Personnel role. This could indicate an IA Armor Brigade structure of:
Brigade Special Troops Battalion with:
- Scout/Commando Company with 12 BTR4s [3 BTR4K Command/9 BTR4 line vehicles].
- Engineer Company.
- EOD Company with ILAV Badger Engineer Combat Vehicles.
- MP Company with HMMWVs.
- 2 Tank Companies with 35 M1A1s.
- 2 Mechanized Companies with 28-29 M113A2s.
- Mortar Battery with 6 M1064s.
- Scout Platoon with 4 BTR4s [1 BTR4K Command/3 BTR4 line vehicles].
- 3 Mechanized Companies with 33-36 M113A2s.
- Anti-Tank Company with 11 BTR4s [2 BTR4K Command/9 BTR4 line vehicles].
- Mortar Battery with 6 M1064s.
- Scout Platoon with 4 BTR4s [1 BTR4K Command/3 BTR4 line vehicles].
- 3 Mortar Batteries with 18 M1064 120mm Mortar Carriers.
- Howitzer Battery with 6 howitzers.
- Security Company with HMMWVs.
- [Suspect an Air Defense Battery planned.]
- Maintenance Company with M88 and BREM-4K repair and recovery vehicles.
- Medical Company with M113A2 and BSEM-4K ambulances plus M577A2 EMTVs.
- Security Company with HMMWVs.
- Transport Company with M548A1 Cargo Carriers and M1070 HETs.
The remaining unaccounted for vehicles would be part of the Battalion Headquarters/Support Companies, Brigade Support Battalions, Brigade Special Troop Battalions, Division Special Troop Battalions, Division support troops, and maintenance/training float.
A possible Mechanized Brigade structure would be identical except they would have 1 Tank Regiment and 2 Mechanized Battalions. So far, there are no formations organized or identified as organizing in this possible Mechanized Brigade structure.
The number of ordered/optioned M1A1s is only 8 Tank Regiments worth so far [140/140]. The existing T55s and T72s are only enough to fill the tank component of 6 Tank Regiments. Only using the M113A2s in this structure [Without including the 60 MTLB APCs and the 434 BMP1 MICVs.], the IA is 2 Tank Regiments  short of tanks in current orders/options.
Based on this structure and including the MTLBs and the BMP1s, the IA is a minimum of 350 tanks short in its existing orders and options to go with its existing and ordered mechanized infantry elements. While some of that will be additional US orders of M1A1s, the Ukraine is a likely source for those missing tanks to fill out the IA Armor structure. [The only tanks I know of ordered/optioned at this time are the 280 total M1A1s and those are factored in - This means a minimum of 350 additional tanks that need to be ordered. More are likely.]
In addition to the ongoing US upgrade of all 4 of 9th Armored Division’s brigades [34/9 thru 37/9], the following units have been identified with armor [underline indicates US armor]. There are 7 total IA brigades identified as upgrading with US armor at this time, 4 brigades are in 9th Armored Division.
1st Division in eastern Anbar:
- 3/1 Brigade is equipped with 3 battalions worth of refurbished mostly western wheeled APCs [Panhard/Shorland/Mohafiz]
- 10/3 Brigade has 1 battalion of M113s.
- 12/3 Brigade is receiving refurbished/redistributed T55s from 9th Armor Division.
- 20/5 Brigade has 1 battalion of M113s and 1 battalion (-) of salvaged wheeled APCs.
- 22/6 Brigade has received a battalion of BMP1s from 9th Armor Division.
- 56/6 Brigade has received training for 2 battalions of M113 crews.
- 29/7 Brigade has 2 battalions of BMP1s.
- 33/8 Brigade receiving training in maintaining BMP1s.
- 42/11 Brigade has 1 battalion of MTLBs.
- 44/11 Brigade has 1 battalion of BMP1s.
Additional IA divisions that have been regularly augmented by 9th Armored Division and are potential candidates for armor brigade upgrades include:
- 14th Division in Basrah has had a battalion augment from 9th Armored Division [T55/BMPs] for over 2 years. Basrah is strategic and will have armor. The question is whether the 14th Division upgrades or another division rotates in after upgrading. There are indications of a planned IA division rotation.
- 17th Division in south Baghdad has had 35/9 Brigade augmenting [T72/BMPs] for almost 2 years.
The publically reported support structure for maintaining armor is limited to Baghdad, Anbar and, Maysan provinces to date. The majority of the armor upgrades are in the Baghdad area. The facilities at Memona in Maysan indicate either the transfer of a mechanized force there or the establishing of a new division with armor based there. Ramadi [Anbar] is already the headquarters of the 7th Division which is the parent division of the 2 BMP1 battalions in 29/7 Brigade. There are no reports of mechanized maintenance support in Ninawa but, 6th Division in Baghdad is reportedly going to Ninawa, which could mean they are to replace 3rd Division while the 3rd is upgraded.
Despite the Iraqi Government driven increased OPSEC, details of the increasing IA armor continue to become public. The orders of equipment point towards significant additional tank orders to go with the armored personnel carriers arriving over the next year.
[Note to my readers: Yes, I am concentrating on IA armor as late. The armor upgrades are 1 of the 3 largest purchasing programs in the ISF and 1 of the least transparent. Only the Peshmerga has tighter OPSEC. The Iraqi Air Force, Army Air Corps, Federal Police, etc., are much clearer in their development and plans.]
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during October 2010. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 October 2010. The “Possible distribution of Iraqi Armor” was addressed separately and will not be addressed here. Highlights in this update include:
- Peshmerga training in air assault; 6 Federal Police Division announced as part of MoA between Iraqi and Kurdish MoIs.
- Iraqi Army armor developments and redistribution; “Presidential Guard Force”.
- Training Squadron No. 3; 2 Squadrons move in southern Iraq; New Rocket for Army Air Corps.
- Tal Afar SWAT now a Brigade; 2nd Emergency Police Brigade reported in Salahadin; NATO Training Mission-Iraq shifting to training Oil Police.
Photos of Peshmerga receiving air assault training in Kirkuk were published by USF-I. The uniforms are a mix of Regional Guards Brigade and Federal Police, indicating Kurdish elements of both forces are receiving this training. Elements of the Peshmerga are being trained and added to Iraqi Army and Federal Police.
“The Iraq Ministry of Interior and the Kurdish Regional Government Ministry of Interior signed a memorandum of agreement pledging greater cooperation among the two ministries in Arbil Oct. 20. Facilitated by United States Forces-Iraq, the signing of the document by Jawad Al Bolani, Iraq's minister of Interior, and Karim Sinjari, Kurdish minister of Interior, reflects an important step toward greater cooperation and integration of forces. Additionally, the agreement calls for the integration of the Zeravani and Bargiri-Fryakawtin forces to form the 6th Federal Police Division. The two ministries' cooperative efforts come in the form of strengthened internal security, as the 6th Federal Police Division will be available for nation-wide deployment to conduct missions. Furthermore, the 6th Division will be formed upon Federal Police common standards in which all new recruits will be required to meet specific requirements for entry, including education, physical qualifications and background checks.”
On 14 October, a M1A1 tank rollout ceremony was held at the Iraqi Defense Ministry headquarters. Many U.S. and Iraqi military leaders attended the event in which the Iraqi Army received 35 of 140 M1A1 tanks that Iraq is purchasing from the US. This marked the formal delivery of the first 3 sets of tanks needed to form the first Iraqi Tank Regiment. Facilities for Tank Regiment training at Besmaya are being built. Each Tank Regiment is to have 35 tanks and requires 80 vehicle bays:
“The M1A1 fielding and storage site boasts 80 fully-enclosed bays, two wash racks, maintenance bays, training buildings, headquarters buildings, warehouses, guard towers, and a motor pool workshop. “This will provide enough tanks to establish four M1A1 tank battalions of 35 tanks each,” said John Hutchings, ITAM-Army’s M1A1 project officer. “The facilities will, in the long term, become a part of the Combat Training Center at Besmaya,” Hutchings said. “The facilities will be handed over to the BCTC for use by battalion-size units conducting training on the Besmaya Range.”
80 vehicle bays is a fit for the US Combined Arms Battalion [CAB] structure with 17 tanks per company vice the US standard of 14. This probably means that Iraqi CABs [aka Tank Regiments] will have the following:
· 35 tanks [2 companies of 17 each with 1 at battalion]
· 31 APCs [2 companies of 14 each with 3 at battalion]
· 6 mortar carriers [1 battery]
· 2 command vehicles
· 2 armored ambulances
· 2-4 repair/recovery vehicles
The July SIGIR report confirmed that mortar carriers are part of the remaining 1,026 M113 Family of Vehicles being provided to Iraq. 440 of those have been identified as M113A2 Armored Personnel Carriers. So far, there has been no breakdown on the remaining 586 M113 FOVs. The majority are probably mortar carriers with the rest probably a mix of command, repair/recovery, and cargo vehicles.
Only 11 BTR4s are delivering in November. This is the 1st delivery and apparently, the reported engine delivery problems with the sub-contractor delayed/reduced the initial delivery from 24 in October to 11 in November. The BTR4s are expected to fit the cavalry role in a modified US heavy brigade combat team structure.
The redistribution of former 9th Division Russian armor is progressing. Photos of a refurbished T55 with 12/3 Brigade markings and a photo of BMP1s in Ghazaliyah in "2nd Battalion" were taken by an Iraqi soldier this year. The 2-22/6 Battalion is the 2nd Battalion based in Ghazaliyah. These photos indicate that this is not 9th Division armor anymore. This transfer of armor indicates that 6th Division and 3rd Division are next in priority for upgrade.
As of 27 Sep, at least some of the BTR80s are still in 9th Division at Taji. The BTR80s are planned to transfer to the Iraqi Special Operations Forces.
The Iraqi press is now referring to a "Presidential Guard force". This possibly indicates the Presidential Brigades [and independent security battalions?] are being organized into divisional structure(s).
Iraqi Air Force and Army Air Corps
Apparently the training squadrons are being numbered sequentially without regard to operational squadrons’ numbering. The "Iraqi Training Squadron No. 3" in Tikrit is using the new T-6As delivered this summer. The operational 3rd Squadron is in Kirkuk and is a C208 ISR-equipped reconnaissance squadron.
According to a media advisory from USD-S, the Iraqi Air Force 70th Squadron [Recon] is moving from Basrah to Tallil and the Army Air Corps 4th Squadron [Mi-17s] is moving to Basrah from Taji.
Ministry of Interior
The Tal Afar SWAT is now being called the 2nd Brigade. This indicates a progression of reorganizing the Ninawa Emergency Police into standardized brigade structures. The provincial paramilitary Emergency Police is being retrained/re-equipped and absorbed by the Federal Police and the MoI Emergency Response Force.
A 2nd Brigade in Salah al-Din Police Emergency Forces has been reported. The 3rd Brigade was previously nationalized into the Federal Police and a 1st Brigade has never been reported in Salah al-Din. The 1st Brigade could be the previously reported Sharqot Emergency Brigade.
“The minister of Interior, partnering with NATO Training Mission-Iraq has started a new program to train Iraq's oil police. These students will undergo a six-week basic course taught by Italian Carabinieri that expands upon the current NATO Training Mission-Iraq Federal Police Training Program. The top 25 graduates of this course will then attend a four-week train-the-trainer course and become certified Oil Police instructors to sustain the training for future classes of Oil Police training. Each class will consist of 50 Shurtas, 50 noncommissioned officers and 25 officers. Additionally, nine more courses are planned between now and December 2011. During this time, the program is expected to develop more than 1,100 Oil Police and some 225 instructors.”
This indicates a shift in NTM-I’s focus from Federal Police to training the OPD. The OPD is seriously under-trained, under-equipped, and under-manned. Many of its “battalions” are only company strength.
What follows is a speculation piece. It is one of several possible options for the redistribution of old armor and the distribution of the new armor during the next 5 years.
With the exception of 2 divisions, all the Iraqi Army divisions with armor or indications of receiving armor are in only 1 brigade per division. This could indicate that only 2 divisions are planned to be heavy by 2016 [end IMoD Phase 2] and that each of the remaining truck-motorized divisions are to get a single heavy brigade quick reaction force.
- 1st Division: All of the armor [Panhard/Shorland/Mohafiz] is in 3/1 Brigade.
- 2nd Division: No armor reported but, Mosul has been regularly augmented with armor from 9th Armor Division.
- 3rd Division: 1 battalion in 10/3 Brigade is equipped with M113s.
- 4th Division: No reports of heavy armor
- 5th Division: 2 battalions of 20/5 Brigade equipped with salvaged wheeled APCs and M113s. Also Diyala has been regularly augmented with armor from 9th Armor Division.
- 6th Division: 56/6 Brigade is administratively attached to this division. 56/6 personnel have been reported receiving M113 crew training.
- 7th Division: 2 battalions in 29/7 Brigade are equipped with BMP1s.
- 8th Division: 1 battalion of the 33/8 Brigade has been receiving training in maintaining BMP1s.
- 9th Armor Division: In restructuring, receiving M113s, M1A1s, and BTR4s. All 4 line brigades are being configured has heavy brigade combat teams.
- 10th Division: No reports of heavy armor.
- 11th Division: 2 battalions in 42/11 Brigade and 44/11 Brigade are equipped with MTLBs and BMP1s.
- 12th Division: No reports of heavy armor.
- 14th Division: No armor reported but, Basrah has been regularly augmented with armor from 9th Armor Division.
- 17th Division: No armor reported but, south Baghdad has been regularly augmented with armor from 9th Armor Division. Also, elements of this division have been reported conducting combined-arms training with US mechanized forces.
This conversion to 2 heavy divisions while providing the motorized infantry divisions with an armor brigade each could be a Phase 2 [2011-2016] objective. With further upgrades adding to the number of mechanized or armored divisions during Phase 3 [2016-2020].
This would require the tank buys from the Ukraine to be 600-720 and an additional order of APCs but, that is well within the price zone of the reported 2.4 billion dollar purchase. The variance [600-720] depends on whether the 18th and 19th Divisions are equipped with heavy brigades during their formation in Phase 2 or upgraded in Phase 3. This would make for a total of 420 M1A1s and 600-720 Ukrainian tanks by 2016 plus the existing 180-200 T55s and T72s.
The 2 Kurdish Mountain divisions planned could be equipped with refurbished salvaged armor taken from the 3 old-IA heavy divisions surrendered in 2003. That equipment is held by the Peshmerga. An estimated 2 mechanized brigades worth of armor is in the Kurdish Regional Guards. The 2 security divisions forming are personnel security and would not require heavy armor.
This would mean an Iraqi Army of 20 divisions in 2016:
- 4 infantry corps: Each corps with 4 truck-motorized infantry divisions - each infantry division with a heavy brigade.
- The 2 armored divisions [9th and 11th] would be in the Iraqi Ground Force Command’s strategic reserve.
- The 2 security divisions [Presidential and Council] would remain under the Office of the Commander-in-Chief.
- The 3-4 Peshmerga division equivalents [21 brigades] in the Kurdish Regional Guards could form a fifth “mountain” corps in wartime.
This pattern of upgrades could be partially driven by internal security needs. The Federal Police is not ready to take over internal security and heavy brigades are not as effective in counter-insurgency. The most developed Federal Police forces are in Baghdad where the 9th Armor Division and the 11th Division are located. By spreading the brigade conversions among the IA divisions in the other provinces, they reduce the impact on IA internal security operations until the Federal Police are more capable in the provinces.
While this possible distribution of armor disperses 75 percent of the Iraqi Armor among 16 infantry divisions, it is a viable intermediate stage in development that provides an armor component to each IA divisional area. During Phase 3 [2016-2020], more divisions would be upgraded to mechanized and/or armored.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during September 2010. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 September 2010. The June 2010 quarterly report to the US Congress “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq” was summarized in a separate article and will not be addressed here. Highlights in this update include:
- Peshmerga graduate IA Engineer School; Zerevani Federal Police getting HMMWV maintenance training.
- 2nd batch of M1A1s arrive; IA training on BTR4s in Ukraine; order for 440 M113A2s.
- Iraqi AF College restarts; 18 F16s to be ordered; AN32 delivering; 3 more T-6As arrive; Russians claim negotiations on air defense equipment.
- PB301 arrives; simulators for OSVs being purchased.
- Carabinarie training graduation; DBE Region V restructuring?
Integration and training of Peshmerga into the ISF continues. The Iraqi Army is training and integrating 4 Kurdish Regional Guards Brigades [1 division equivalent]. The 1st Regional Guards Brigade is being trained at Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah. Zerevani Police continue to be trained by the Federal Police and NATO Training Mission-Iraq at Camp Dublin.
Thirty-three Kurdish Army Soldiers graduated from the Iraq Army Engineer School at Camp Taji on 15 September.
“As part of an introduction to the Iraqi Army, the Peshmerga officers and enlisted soldiers became familiar with current tactics, techniques and procedures being used by Iraqi Army engineers. The 30-day course covered the most high-profile aspects of combat engineering, including route clearance and mine identification and detection. Students learned and conducted practical exercises on mounted and dismounted route clearance, mine-detecting robots and the capabilities of the Badger, an Iraqi Light Armored Vehicle. A number of these graduates will likely return to the Engineer School at a later date to continue training in specialized engineering tasks.”
If the Kurdish Regional Guards are being trained to use this equipment then they are probably going to be issued it. An IA division normally has approximately 42 ILAV Badgers in its 14 engineering route-clearance detachments.
The Zerevani Police in the Kurdish region are also getting up-armored HMMWVs. A contract for training mechanics for the Iraqi Interior Ministry to repair HMMWVs with an estimated completion date of 15 September 2012 has been awarded. Work is to be performed in the cities of Erbil, Dahuk, and Sulaymaniyah in Iraq. The Federal Police plan to form a 6th FP Division out of the Kurdish Zerevani in the near future.
The 2nd batch of M1A1s arrived at Basrah. According to Al Sumaria News, 12 M1A1s were delivered to Umm Qasr in early September. Similar sized monthly deliveries are expected until all 140 of the initial order are delivered. The option to order another 140 M1A1 tanks will probably be exercised later this year.
The first batch of BTR4 armored personnel carriers are due to deliver in October 2010. This initial batch is 24 of the 420 ordered vehicles. The turret on the BTR4s has been identified as the Parus turret with a 30mm cannon, 40mm grenade launcher, 7.62mm light machine gun, and Barrier laser guided anti-tank missiles. Approximately 120 Iraqi Army personnel are training in the Ukraine as commanders, gunners, drivers, and maintenance troops. Part of that training contingent has been identified as elements of the BMP1-equipped 3-35/9 Battalion. This battalion is upgrading to the BTR4 as part of the modernization of the 9th Division. Iraqi BTR4s will be used in the cavalry role filled by M3 Bradley CFVs in US heavy brigades.
The FMS notice for the sale of 440 M113A2 Armored Personnel Carriers, being offered as Excess Defense Articles, has been published. This is the 1st 440 M113A2s of 1,026 M113 Family of Vehicles being offered to Iraq. These armored personnel carriers are to be used as the mechanized component of the combined arms battalions being built around the M1A1 tanks. Based on US modular heavy brigade combat team structure, the remaining 586 M113 FOVs being offered to Iraq are probably a mix of M1063 120mm Mortar Carriers, M901 Improved TOW Vehicles, M113 Ambulances, M806 Repair and Recovery Vehicles, and M548 Cargo Carriers. Also possible but unlikely options include the M125 81mm Mortar Carrier [The IA is probably going with all M1063s.] and M577 Command Vehicles [The excess BTR-4K Command and BTR-4Ksh Staff vehicles ordered make this doubtfull.].
Iraqi Air Force
Training at the Iraqi Air Force College has restarted. Iraqi Air Force training split from the Iraqi Army earlier this year and with the Iraqi Air Force’s planned expansion this is a significant event. “The Iraqi air force has approximately 5,000 airmen [officer and enlisted] today. That number is projected to grow to nearly 12,000 by the end of 2012.”
The FMS notice of a possible sale of 18 F-16IQ aircraft has been published. Some of the ordinance included in this notice was: 200 AIM-9L/M-8/9 SIDEWINDER Missiles, 150 AIM-7M-F1/H SPARROW Missiles, 50 AGM-65D/G/H/K MAVERICK Air to Ground Missiles, 200 GBU-12 PAVEWAY II Laser Guided Bomb Units (500 pound), 50 GBU-10 PAVEWAY II Laser Guided Bomb Units (2000 pound), and 50 GBU-24 PAVEWAY III Laser Guided Bomb Units (2000 pound). That part of the notice was unusual in that the numbers are small and the delivery time for this ordinance is much sooner than for the aircraft. This could mean that the ordinance part of this order is for live-fire training of Iraqi aircrew prior to the delivery of the aircraft. Iraqi pilots intended for the F16 are being trained in Texas by the USAF.
The 1st Iraqi Air Force AN32 has been produced and is delivering this month. This aircraft was photographed flying near Kiev. 3 AN32s are to be delivered by the end of 2010. A delivery rate of 3 each year is planned with the last of the first order of 10 delivered in 2013.
A batch of 3 more T6A Texan trainers transited to Iraq arriving in Tikrit on 21 September. 4 more of these trainers are scheduled to arrive in November 2010. Only 15 are ordered but Iraq has permissions to buy 20 total T-6A and 36 AT-6Bs. Budget issues reduced the planned purchases.
While Iraq is reported by the Russians as negotiating with Russia for Air Defense equipment, this must be considered unconfirmed and possible false reporting. Russian sources have repeatedly claimed major arms sales in negotiation with Iraq only to have nothing result.
The 1st Swiftship built Iraqi patrol boat arrived at Umm Qasr. PB301 was welcomed to the Iraqi Navy just in time for Navy Day. Three more Swiftship PBs are scheduled to arrive in December with the remaining 11 to be delivered in 2011.
Iraq is purchasing four simulators and associated training for Iraqi Naval Forces in support of Iraq’s 60 meter offshore support vessel hull production. These 2 ships are scheduled to be delivered in 2011 and 2012.
Ministry of Interior
NATO Training Mission-Iraq (NTM-I) held a graduation ceremony for 527 Iraqi policemen and Kurdish Zerevani as they completed joint Federal Police training at Camp Dublin, Iraq on 23 September 2010. This is the 14th batch if Federal Police (5th batch of Zerevani) to graduate from Carabinarie training. Of note, this is only 1 battalion plus Zerevani contingent – for over a year now, these courses have been training batches of 2 battalions (over 900). Identification of this graduating battalion and the reason for the slowdown in training are not available.
The Region V Department of Border Enforcement headquarters and training appears to have moved to Diwaniyah from Najaf. Also, Region V appears to be short a brigade. The 9th DBE Brigade is in training in Basrah and the 11th DBE Brigade is also reported in Region IV. Only the 12th DBE Brigade is still reported in Region V – an area covering the Saudi border from the Kuwait tri-border to Ar’Ar.
The unclassified version of the June 2010 quarterly report to Congress “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq” was publicly released on 7 September. While the report includes information on Iranian Influence, Iraqi Budget, Iraqi Unemployment, Shia Militants, and Attacks, this summary will not address those topics.
This article highlights and summarizes key items concerning the Iraqi Security Forces. The data cutoff date for this report, unless otherwise stated, is 31 May 2010. Italics are quotes from the report. [ ] marks indicate added comments or amplification. Boldface has been added to highlight key points.
Another indicator of increasing national unity this period was the progress made on Arab-Kurd issues, including the integration of additional Kurdish Security Forces (KSF) into the ISF. Prime Minister Maliki’s April 16, 2010 acknowledgement of four unified Peshmerga Regional Guards Brigades (RGBs) as part of the ISF eliminated legal constraints in training and equipping the RGBs, and cleared the way for integrated Peshmerga-ISF training and operations in the future.
USF-I initiated new discussions between the KRG and the GoI to integrate KRG Peshmerga forces into the ISF. Integrating the Peshmerga forces into the ISF will increase the security partnership between the MoD and KRG, and ultimately increase capability to secure Iraq from internal and external threats. Actual integration of Kurdish Security Forces (KSF) into the ISF occurred when PM Maliki recognized four Peshmerga Regional Guards Brigades (RGBs) as part of the ISF in April 2010, opening the way for these units to receive training and equipping assistance from USF-I. The unification of these RGBs may serve as a model for KSF-ISF integration in the years ahead, but lack of clarity on, or rather the loss of, command and control (C2) relationships associated with integration has made KRG put the brakes on further integration of Peshmerga for the time being.
The KRG continues to make progress in its strategic goal of clarifying the legal status of Kurdish Security Forces: Peshmerga (military), Zervani (police), Assayesh (internal security), and Parastin/Zenyari (intelligence). In 2003, under Coalition Provisional Authority 91, the PUK and Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) Peshmerga were both classified as militia. In 2005, Article 9 of the Iraqi Constitution outlawed independent political party militias, while a single guard force beholden to the regional government was authorized under Article 121. In 2006, the Iraqi Kurdish Parliament (IKP) approved legislation outlining a framework for Kurdish Peshmerga unification and integration into the IA, but did not identify a timeline. Following elections in June 2009, the 6th KRG was formed in October 2009, merging the final party-controlled ministries into single KRG entities. In December 2009, yet to be passed draft legislation introduced in the IKP called for, “disarming militias/unregulated forces for the building of one force.” In January 2010, the PUK and KDP command authorities were brought under the control of the new ministry.
In January, the first integrated, apolitical Peshmerga brigade was formed as a Regional Guard Brigade (RGB), with three more formed and integrated by March 2010. In April 2010, KRG Minister of Peshmerga Affairs, Jafar Mustafa Ali, asserted the two commands of Peshmerga were united, with a total number of 90,000 men under the ministry’s authority. Minister Jafar also confirmed the ministry’s financial and administrative unification. Although the four RGBs have been integrated, Kurdish intelligence forces continue to operate under political party control. In April 2010, the IKP ratified the 2010 KRG budget. Portions of the budget still allocate funds to both KDP and PUK Assayesh forces, with a note “to unify the budget of the two administrations within the next six months.” The ministerial advisory team was established in Irbil in April 2010, and on April 16, 2010, PM Maliki acknowledged the RGBs as part of the ISF. PM Maliki’s letter, recognizing the integrated RGBs as security forces of Iraq, enabled USF-I to incorporate them into the training and equipping plan, setting the course for the full integration of Peshmerga forces into ISF training and operations.
[5 RGBs have been reported on: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 12th, and 43rd. Additional RGBs beyond this may have been added. This is just the start. Originally, 2 Peshmerga Divisions with 8 total brigades [almost 30,000 personnel] were to transfer to the Iraqi Army in 2008 and this may be the restart of that deal. There are 5 to 6 Peshmerga division-equivalents in the KSF.]
On April 28, 2010, the Iraqi Minister of Defense and the Minister of Peshmerga Affairs signed an agreement committing to the establishment of liaison offices at the MoD and the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs. Additionally, the MoD also agreed to several initiatives designed to enhance training opportunities for RGB officers and noncommissioned officers at IA Training Centers and Schools beginning in July 2010.
In May 2010, the Minister of Interior recognized a portion of Kurdish Zerevani forces as agents of the GoI with the responsibility for internal security in the Kurdish region. Specifically, Minister Bolani’s letter acknowledged the lawful security authority under Article 121 of the Iraqi Constitution for those KRG internal security forces in the employ of the Kurdistan Regional Ministry of the Interior and disassociated with political parties and private interests. This federal recognition of Kurdish Government forces paved the way for USF-I’s training and equipping initiatives and set the course for the full integration of Zerevani forces into Iraqi FP training and operations. Later in May 2010, the Kurdish Minister of Interior and Iraqi Minister of Interior signed a tripartite agreement with USF-I outlining steps for integrated training, operating and equipping between the FP and the Zerevani. In this agreement, the ministers clearly stated the future objective of integrating the Zerevani into the FP, unifying this force.
[30,000 Zerevani police are reported to be transferred to Iraqi MoI. This is a 2 division-sized force. Zerevani police have been included in Carabinarie training since 2009.]
With the formation of RGBs and the pending integration of the Zerevani forces into the FP, a unique opportunity has arisen to promote stability between the northern region and the rest of Iraq. Additional resources are required to support advising, training, assisting, and equipping efforts in support of this integration.
There are currently 196 IA combat battalions conducting operations. Although the IA continues to make steady progress toward MEC, it will not achieve a foundation for defense against external threats before December 2011 because of equipment procurement timelines and subsequent training requirements to complete development of four modern divisions (one mechanized and three infantry). Specifically, equipping, training, and combined arms integration of the M1A1 fleet, artillery units, and key mechanized enablers will not be complete.
[The ISF OOB indicates 7 battalions more than the June report. These are either new battalions (at least 5 known new battalions reported on in the 24th and 37th Brigades this summer) and/or re-designated/transferred battalions.]
As of May 2010, there are 196 IA combat battalions conducting operations, as well as 20 Iraqi protection battalions and six Iraqi special operations forces (ISOF) battalions. The force generation of the COIN force enablers (Logistics, Intelligence, Communications, and Engineering) will be completed by July 2010. The force generation goal for 2011 is to establish a foundational capability to defend against external threats, which is the MEC. A key component of this foundational capability is the development of four modern divisions (one mechanized and three infantry) in the IA. Although the IA continues to make steady progress, these four divisions will not be complete before December 2011 because of equipment procurement timelines and subsequent training requirements. Specifically, equipping, training, and combined arms integration of the M1A1fleet, artillery units, and key mechanized enablers will not be complete.
[The ISF OOB indicates 1 protection battalion more based on the previous 2 quarterly reports. There were 6 battalions reported in 1st and 2nd Presidential Brigades plus 15 Independent Security Battalions. This reduction could indicate a reorganization of this 2 division-sized security force.]
Maintenance operations continue to improve, but an inability to fund and maintain a trained workforce and a lack of long-term contracts at the national level for repair parts could detrimentally affect critical equipment readiness. Fleet rationalization – decreasing the number of total vehicle variants from 214 down to 71 – is the first in a series of steps the Iraqis have taken to optimize repair part requirements in the form of an Authorized Stockage List. Currently they are working to develop required stockage lists for their top five systems.
The IA currently has 13 infantry divisions and one partially fielded mechanized division organized under the IGFC. Ground forces include 196 IA battalions in 55 combat brigades organized into 51 infantry, three mechanized, and one tank brigade. Recent force generation focus has been on enabler units such as Logistics, Communications, Intelligence, and Engineering.
[There are signs and reporting of additional new battalions, brigades, and divisions being assembled or planned, however, they apparently did not form in the March-May period of this report.]
During the last six months, 46 enabler units have completed Unit Set Fielding. The force generation of these essential Combat Support (CS) and Combat Service Support (CSS) units into the IA will be completed by the end of July 2010.
[What enabler units? Other than the support commands in Maysan, there has been no reporting of additional support units during this period. CS/CSS designation is normally a brigade-level or lower reference. Are these components for brigade support battalions forming? Only 9th Mechanized Division’s brigades have Brigade Support Battalions – are they adding them to the other IA brigades? This could mean that 50 of the 55 existing IA brigades have at least partially formed BSBs.]
The school’s cadre of instructors provides all instruction on the 120mm mortar system. The 120mm fielding and training of 55 batteries is expected to conclude in June 2010. At the end of June 2010, the 81mm mortar fielding will reach a significant milestone when all 180 mortar platoons complete training.
[All of the IA infantry/motorized battalion equipped with 81mm mortars and all of the IA brigades equipped with 120mm mortars. Next phase: howitzers.]
Iraqi Special Operations Force
Iraqi National Counter-Terrorism Force (INCTF). Under PM Directive 61, signed in April 2007, the INCTF is independent of both the MoD and MoI. The CoR, however, has not ratified the CT Law that would establish the CTS as a separate ministry. The proposed CT Law (bill) was initially introduced in September 2008. After being returned to the CoM, the bill had its first reading before the CoR in July 2009. Under the Iraqi Constitution, once a general election has been successfully certified, the previous CoR’s tenure is expired along with any un-passed legislation. This is now the case with the expired CT Law legislation. The legislative process will now have to be restarted with a completely new bill and submitted for a first reading by the new CoR members who are expected to be seated sometime in mid-2010. If the CT Law had passed, it would have formalized a ministerial-level position for the CTS Director and provided regular appropriations and funding. Currently, CTS’ status as an extra-constitutional agency hinders coordination as well as maintenance and sustainment support from the MoD. INCTF leaders and U.S. advisors continue to emphasize to key Iraqi leaders the need for a robust CT capacity in Iraq under the control of a constitutionally recognized body such as the MoD.
[Further political delays in organizing the 3rd ministry of the security Troika.]
INCTF is currently manned at 5,725 personnel. The CTS is currently manned at 384 personnel, and the CTC currently has 915 personnel. The 1st ISOF Brigade has 2,793 personnel, and the 2nd ISOF Brigade has 1,633 personnel. Recently, after being pressured by the PM, the Minister of Defense promised to transfer 700 active duty soldiers to the ISOF Brigades to help ease manpower shortages. During this reporting period, 290 of the transferees arrived to participate in the selection process at the CTC’s “Academia” organization of which 263 were selected to continue on to Commando Training to be conducted in June 2010.
[No mention of the ISOF BTR80s or the training reported on maintaining them. This armor upgrade may have transferred later or still be pending. It is possible that the IA BTR80 equipped battalions may transfer to ISOF as intact formations.]
Iraqi Air Force
The Iraqi Air Force’s (IqAF’s) December 2011 goal is the development of a capability to support ISF COIN operations and to have an initial air sovereignty capability in place. The IqAF is on the path to achieving MEC by the end of 2011 in all mission categories except airspace control and fixed-wing airlift. USF-I assesses that the IqAF will achieve MEC in C2, ISR, rotary-wing airlift, ground attack, combat support, and personnel development by December 2011. Airspace control is a subset of air sovereignty that has been identified by USFI as sufficient for IqAF MEC. Airspace control includes the ability to surveil the airspace, warn of an incursion, and the ability to respond. Due to delivery timelines of an appropriate platform, the IqAF will likely lack an ability to respond with force to airspace violations, and will lack sufficient fixed-wing airlift. With continued support from U.S. Air Force advisors and adequate resourcing from the GoI, improvements in accessions, airlift, flying and technical training, air staff effectiveness, ground attack, combat support, and C2 should demonstrably contribute to internal security while setting the stage for future growth to a full military capacity. In order to help the IqAF achieve this goal and to build an enduring strategic relationship, Iraqi Training and Advisory Mission-Air Force (ITAM-AF) remains engaged across Iraq.
Based on the IqAF’s move to Habbinyah and the likelihood of pilot training operations remaining at Kirkuk and Tikrit, the 321 AEW modified its Main Operating Base/Forward Operating Base (MOB/FOB) advising strategy. The strategy now includes five MOBs (Tikrit, Taji, New Al Muthana Air Base - NAMAB, Kirkuk, and Ali Air Base), and six FOBs (Qaiyara – Q-West, Al Asad, Al Hurriya – Kirkuk, Balad, Al Kut, and Basrah). 321 AEW continues to take advantage of partnering opportunities between operational U.S. Forces and IqAF counterparts to accelerate the capabilities development of the IqAF.
In 2010, IqAF Officer Training will move from Rustimayah to Tikrit, and portions of the flying training wing are expected to move from Kirkuk Airbase to Tikrit Airbase. For the IqAF, Tikrit will become the Center of Excellence for training. The IqAF currently has 207 qualified fixed and rotary-wing pilots with another 167 in the training pipeline. Included in the 167 are 34 pilots who are attending out of country training in the U.S., the UK, Italy, and Jordan. Three of these students are enrolled in the U.S. Aviation Leadership Program (ALP). One of the ALP students is expected to graduate this summer, and the other two are expected to graduate in December 2010. Also included in the 34 out of country training student number are 13 qualified pilots undergoing initial and recurring training in the C-130E and King Air 350 in the United States. In April 2010, the first IqAF pilots began academic training in the T-6A. This first class is expected to produce the first six IqAF T-6A instructors. The pilots have now started the flying portion of their training and are expected to complete their T-6A instructor pilot training in summer 2011.
The IqAF currently has a total of 106 fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. The IqAF received four Gazelles this quarter with the remaining two expected in the next few months; these aircraft are armed with a 20mm cannon and will be used by the IqAF to develop ground attack pilots. The new Gazelles will be based at Taji. In May 2010, the first two Mi-17MMs arrived in country. They will undergo initial testing for the door guns and then be turned over to the GoI in mid-June 2010. These aircraft have advanced avionics and defensive systems that will expand Iraq’s battlefield mobility capabilities. Delivery of all 22 Mi-17MMs is expected by December 2011.
The IqN’s December 2011 goal is to be capable of providing maritime security of territorial waters and to be able to defend key infrastructure, including the Khawar Al Amaya Oil Terminal (KAAOT) and Al Basrah Oil Terminal (ABOT) oil platforms, the Umm Qasr port, and naval base. With the acquisition of new vessels, a comprehensive infrastructure build program for the Umm Qasr Naval Base, and an increase in training capacity brought about by an increase in the number of personnel supporting the training mission, the IqN is on track to achieve its short and medium-term transition milestones. On its current trajectory, the IqN will achieve MEC prior to December 31, 2011. By USF-I’s end of mission, the IqN will have the MEC to defend the critical oil export infrastructure against current security threats. However, the importance of this infrastructure to the Iraqi economy mandates a higher level of capability. Therefore, USF-I anticipates a requirement for a regional presence that can respond to emergencies as the IqN matures from MEC to a fully capable force. Achievement of MEC by USF-I’s end of mission is subject to shortfalls in manning, C4ISR, maintenance, and infrastructure being adequately addressed over the coming months.
The Iraqi Marines have received approval to recruit new accessions in the second or third quarter of the calendar year. As with other elements of the Iraqi Armed Forces, the IqM are in the process of establishing their self-sufficiency and are recruiting personnel from the IA. The future intent is for recruits to have completed the basic ‘Jundi’ course for marines and Iraqi Military Academy Rustamyia for the officers before joining the IqM. All recruits will then complete a rigorous IqM Phase-2 professional course to deliver specialist MSO and GSO-derived skills.
[IqM is showing signs of a planned expansion.]
Iraqi Federal Police
The MoI has an aggregate equipment fill of 90% in critical items for its police forces. Since March 2010, the MoI has received 49 armored security vehicles to complete the fourth of eight planned mechanized battalions for the FP. The FP now have 180 of these vehicles. Additionally, the MoI now has 1,000 patrol vehicles, 17 fuel trucks, and 24 water trucks to enhance its ability to expand operations throughout outlying provincial areas and along Iraq’s oil pipelines. In the third and fourth quarters of 2010, the MoI will receive major shipments of repair parts for its patrol vehicle fleet, training aids for its police colleges, and heavy equipment for the FP Engineer Company. Capabilities generated include the ability to sustain the MoI fleet of 42,000 patrol vehicles, crime scene training for officer candidates, and heavy lift capability for FP Engineers. Over the next 18 months, the MoI will receive all of its required critical items to achieve MEC by the end of 2011.
[Previous reporting indicated a planned FP mechanized division (maybe more than 1). Either that planned division is being reduced in size or the planned 8 mechanized battalions are an intermediate stage. It is also possible that a Mechanized brigade per each FP division is planned.]
The current quarter marks the start of the resubordination of the Baghdad Provincial Emergency Response Units into the FP ranks, which will potentially bring an additional 2,000 to 3,000 personnel into the FP. To support this expansion, the FP maintains a versatile and capable training system, assisted by the Italian Carabinieri, who continue to advise and train the FP. In turn, the FP have offered their training capacity to assist other MoI organizations in their readiness efforts, most notably the Kurdish Zervani, and in the coming quarter, IP Emergency Response Units from Mosul.
[FP continues to absorb provincial Emergency Police into their forces. Baghdad EP is more than 3,000 which indicates only a brigade was being absorbed from there. Mosul has 2 brigades worth of emergency police.]
Current FP organizational structure includes four FP divisions. The 1st and 2nd FP divisions currently stand at 62% and 63% of MTOE strength. The 3rd FP Division, currently manned at 53% of MTOE strength, controls four brigades and provides security in Diyala, Mosul, Salah ad Din, and Anbar. The 4th FP Division currently has one operational brigade and two more in force generation, and has a presence in Wasit, Maysan, and Baghdad.
[4th FP Division’s operational brigade is in Basrah. For some reason Basrah was left out of this discription even though 4th FP Division HQ is in Basrah.]
The vision of the FP CG is to field a force of five FP divisions. Continued expansion of the FP into the provinces is supported by a three year plan to base a brigade-sized FP force in each province, with five regionally-based division HQ controlling these units, and division support battalions providing logistical support. This would provide for a total force of five FP divisions, consisting of 25 FP brigades and 85 FP battalions, across Iraq. Recent discussions among FP and MoI leadership envisions a possible sixth FP division in the northern Kurdish controlled regions, formed from FP-trained Zervani personnel.
[Intermediate planned strength for 2013: 6 Divisions. Using this new structure of 5 brigades per FP division, there are enough emergency police to absorb into the FP to form 13-14 divisions.]
The FP continues to improve its capabilities to assume a greater role in the security of Iraq. The fielding of additional U.S. provided equipment, and assimilation of provincial IP Emergency Response Unit personnel into its ranks, will positively affect the FP’s ability to assume these roles. Public perception of the FP is increasingly positive, as they continue to be viewed as a federal force that is not tied to local influences, sectarian loyalties, or corruption. Challenges include the ability to sustain and maintain the force they have. The FP Sustainment Brigade suffers from the same issues that the line units do with regard to personnel and equipment, which will limit future growth. There is a lack of engineering staff at the division level. The FP leadership will be unable to provide facilities for the full force prior to 2016 due to facilities cost, which are approximately $15 million per brigade headquarters, and project time requirements.
The OP are tasked with securing and protecting the GoI’s oil infrastructure to prevent interdiction and theft. They are organized into four directorates: North, Central, South, and Headquarters. Each directorate has a mobile emergency battalion assigned. The OP is currently manned at approximately 29,000 personnel. There are 16 IA battalions assisting the OP in their mission by securing various sections of Iraq’s strategic pipelines. Although the OP is a capable force, they do not have the manpower to relieve the IA battalions from the pipeline now or in the near future.
The OP, assimilated into the MoI in 2009, became a line item in the MoI budget for 2010, which will increase assistance in manning, equipment, and training from the MoI. In the 2010 budget, the OP has an established authorization of 29,500 personnel, approximately 10,000 short of the requirement to replace the 16 IA battalions on the pipeline. In an effort to reduce manning requirements, USF-I funded outposts, consisting of guard towers with a pre-fabricated support building, were emplaced along remote sections of oil pipelines this quarter. These outposts raise the guards’ observation capabilities, allowing increased distances between outposts, thereby decreasing required manning. To focus unit training efforts, the OP have created a 2010 battalion-level master training plan.
ITAM-Police advisors will continue to assist the OP in developing a manpower requirements document for presentation to the MoI. ITAM estimates with the expected growth of the oil industry over the course of the next few years, the OP will require at least 47,000 policemen (an increase of 17,500 personnel) to relieve the IA battalions and effectively protect Iraq’s oil infrastructure. To increase training readiness, 2011 efforts will focus on developing and conducting advanced and specialized courses.
Facilities Protection Service
The FPS is tasked with securing and protecting over 13,000 critical infrastructure locations throughout Iraq, including government buildings, mosques and religious sites, hospitals, schools and colleges, dams, highways, and bridges. To accomplish this, the FPS headquarters is divided into three directorates. The First and Second Directorates protect sites and ministries within Baghdad Province. The third directorate, known as the Provinces Directorate, controls the FPS headquarters in each of the remaining 14 provinces. The total FPS force presently consists of a combination of approximately 17,000 police and 77,000 contractors.
In March 2010, the PM publicly announced that all FPS contractors that meet MoI hiring standards will be hired as full-time IP. This mandate, if executed, will resolve a 50% pay disparity between the full-time IP and their contractor counterparts, and is projected to increase morale of the force. Also in March 2010, the PM directed a consolidation of all security and facility protection personnel in the Ministry of Industry (with 12,000 facilities protection personnel) and the Baghdad Municipality (with 4,000 facilities protection personnel) into the FPS by the end of 2010. This will bring the FPS total force to approximately 110,000 personnel.
Items not mentioned or brushed over in the report.
The June 2010 report was released 1 month later than normal. This indicates a problem in sanitization of the classified version to produce the unclassified version. The problem with figuring out what hung up releasing the unclassified version is that you can only guess based on the absence of data that should be there.
Items brushed over and details not mentioned that are known - erased from the public version include but are not limited to:
1. All of the praetorian units [direct subbordinate to OCinC] were brushed over or not mentioned. No mention of 56th Brigade. No mention of Presidential brigades and ISBs. Just the bean count of the 20 protection battalions with no mention of brigade structure. No mention of MoI's ERF.
2. In ISOF, no mention of the BTR80 transfer even though ISOF personnel were reported training on them as early as December 2009.
3. No mention of the Karkh Area Command Strike Team either. KACST appears to have dropped off of all reporting this summer.
4. Even though the report addresses FMS and mentions modernizing 1 mechanized and 3 infantry divisions for external, no details. No mention of heavy equipment transfers. ICOD was 31 May 2010. At that point the transfer of major US Excess equipment [1026 M113s, 24 M109s, etc.] was already finalized. I wrote about it less than a month after the ICOD. Yet there is no mention of these major items...
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during August 2010. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 August 2010. The conversion of Iraqi heavy brigades to a modified US Army modular structure was addressed in a separate article.
Highlights in this update include:
- Lasta95s, Mi17s, and M1A1s delivered. 80 M1117s contracted for.
- Peshmerga start Iraqi Army training.
- New Operations Center in Kirkuk. 9th Division moving to Besmaya? Maintenance training course on M1A1s identified. Initial brigade receiving training on BTR4s identified. 37/9 Brigade upgrading to tanks. 16/4 Brigade converting to modular?
- Ministry of Interior concentrating on EOD.
Arms Deliveries and Purchases
Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced the 3rd installment of Mi-17s received from Russia for the Army Air Corps. These additional 8 Mi-17s is part of an ongoing order of helicopters. 5 squadrons worth of Mi-17 aircrew have been reported trained by 2009 but only 2 squadrons are commissioned. These aircraft are for the next squadron to be commisioned.
The 1st 11 M1A1s and 1 M88 have arrived in Iraq and been sent to Besmaya. The remaining 129 tanks and seven recovery vehicles are scheduled to be delivered on a monthly basis until about Dec 2011. This initial order is for upgrading the 9th Mechanized Division.
The Ministry of Interior has a contract for 80 more armored military vehicles for the Iraqi Federal Police, to be contracted through the U.S. Army Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process. Of the 80 vehicles, 72 will be configured as Armored Personnel Carriers. A total of 184 vehicles (122 ASV and 62 APC) have already been delivered to Iraq under previous procurements. This indicates that the FP is about to commission a 2nd Mechanized Brigade.
The Iraqi Ministry of Defense and Kurdish Regional concluded a deal to provide the Peshmerga with Iraqi Army training this summer. The 1st battalion of the Kurdish Regional Border Guards started training in August. The 1st Battalion of the 1st Regional Guards Brigade is in IA basic training at Sulaymaniyah Training Center. Zerevani Peshmerga Police have been training with Federal Police since late-2009.
There are also Peshmerga receiving maintenance training. “more than 80 soldiers in the Kurdish Regional Guard Brigade began training to perform preventive maintenance checks and services on the Iraqi International Troop Carrier Truck.” These units may “officially” transfer to Iraqi Army after training.
For the first time a “Kirkuk Operations Center” was mentioned by a USF-I spokesman. This command was mentioned on same level as Diyala and Ninawa Operational Commands and indicates a new corps-level joint command has been established.
There is a report indicating that the 9th Mechanized Division is relocating its headquarters and training from Taji with the departure of US forces from FOB Hammer. "Hammer will act as the home of the Mechanized Iraqi 9th Division." FOB Hammer is co-located at the Besmaya Combat Training center – the home of Iraqi Armor Training – and previously housed a US Brigade.
A new M1A1 maintenance course at Besmaya has been identified. “18 graduated the Unit Maintenance New Equipment Training Course at Besmaya 10 Aug. The 63-day course is a mirror of the U.S. Army’s M1 Abrams Tank System Maintainer course that U.S. Soldiers go through in the United States.”
According to an unconfirmed report, a platoon commander on BMP1s from the 35th Brigade [9th Mechanized Division] is going to Ukraine this month to be trained on the BTR4. There was no mention of his transferring from the brigade. BTR4s may be planned to fill the role of M3/Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles in IA heavy brigades.
Tanks have been transferred into 9th Mechanized Division’s 37th Light Mechanized Brigade, beginning the conversion into a heavy brigade. A photograph of 37th Brigade’s new tanks has been acquired showing former 34th Mechanized Brigade’s T55 and T72s. The T55s have 6-37/9 Battalion markings and appear to have been recently refurbished. The markings in the refurbished T72s are not visible but, probably belong to the 5-37/9 Battalion. The scene in the photo looks like preparation for a commissioning ceremony. The 6-37/9 [and inferred 5-37/9] Battalion are new designations and the BTR80s in 1-37/9, 2-37/9, and 3-37/9 Battalions are transferring to ISOF. The status of 4-37/9 Battalion’s EE-9 Scout Cars is not known but they are probably transferring to ISOF or the 56th Brigade.
The IA light brigades may be starting conversion to modular structure. According to a US Division-North press release there is a "...Commando Battalion of the 16th Iraqi Army Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division." This could be an error referring to the commando/scout company of 16/4 Brigade but, USD-N and US Forces-Iraq have not corrected it after being asked. 16/4 Brigade has not been previously reported with a commando battalion. Iraqi Army commando battalions fill the same role as US Army cavalry [recon] battalions and US modular brigades each have a cavalry battalion.
Ministry of Interior
EOD appears to be the Ministry of Interior’s focus at this time. The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Explosives Directorate is building a Training Center at Salman Pak. It is planned to be complete in mid-2011.
A photo of ILAV Badger engineering route-clearance vehicles [with claws] in MoI’s Federal Police colors has been acquired. It is not known which elements of the Federal Police have these MRAPs or how many ILAVs have been acquired by the FP. Prior to the receipt of this photo, only the Iraqi Army was known to have these vehicles. The only FP unit previously publically reported as receiving route-clearance training was the 1st Federal Police Mechanized Brigade in 2009.
According to Iraqi press, EOD is also becoming a training focus for some provincial police. "The al-Anbar Police Command has started anti-explosives departments in every police station in the province."
The Iraqi Army is modeled on a modified US Army division structure. While the motorized and infantry divisions are still pre-modular, the heavy brigades are organized on the modular pattern. Recent information [not all confirmed] on purchases, training, and the distribution of newly acquired armor point towards a target of 17 IA heavy brigades and an armor training brigade by the end of the Phase 2 upgrades [2011-2016]. This indicates 4 armor divisions and a heavy brigade or [more likely] 1 armored and 4 mechanized divisions plus a heavy brigade [not including the armor training brigade] are planned for the operational force by 2016. However, major components such as additional tanks, self-propelled artillery, and support are still to be ordered.
US Army Heavy Brigade Combat Teams are organized as follows:
- Brigade Special Troops Battalion consisting of headquarters troops including engineers, chemical defense, military police and admin troops.
- Two Combined Arms Battalions [CAB]. Each CAB has 2 tank companies and 2 mechanized companies. Primary equipment in each CAB is 30 Abrams tanks and 30 M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles.
- Cavalry Battalion [Armored Recon] with 3 troops [companies] equipped with 30 M3 Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles and 12 Bradley Fire Support Tracks [BFIST].
- Brigade Support Battalion providing the maintenance, support, and transport elements that makes the brigade capable of independent operations.
According to a single-source [unconfirmed], personnel from the 35/9 Armored Brigade’s BMP1 crews are going to Ukraine for training on BTR4 in September 2010. There was no mention of the personnel transferring from 35/9 Armored Brigade. 35/9 Armored Brigade’s M113 APC-equipped 4-35/9 Battalion are also receiving refresure training in M1A1 tanks in preparation for their upgrade. This indicates a mix of M1A1 tanks with M113s plus BTR4s are intended for this and the other brigades being upgraded. The 35th and 36th Brigades of 9th Division are the first brigades planned to upgrade to M1A1 tanks.
Also upgrading in the 9th Division [as illustrated in the photo above] is the 37/9 Brigade. The 37/9 Brigade was a light mechanized brigade equipped with 98 BTR80 APCs and 35 EE9 90mm gun armed Scout cars. Iraqi Special Operations Force personnel were noted training in maintaining BTR80s in December 2009 indicating those armored vehicles are being transferred from 37/9 Brigade to ISOF. The addition of tanks to 37/9 Brigade indicates it is converting to a HBCT. There has been no reporting of where the EE9s are going; possible candidates include ISOF and 56th Brigade. The 'new' tanks in 37th Brigade are probably refurbished transfers from the upgrading 35th and 36th Brigades.
The 56th (Baghdad) Brigade had crews for 2 CAB’s worth of M113s trained on M113s earlier this year. This training points towards this praetorian brigade being reconfigured to a HBCT. The 56th Brigade is administratively attached to the 6th Division but is actually under the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, responsible for the security of the International Zone. It is possible that the 56th Brigade will be augmented with the EE9s from 37/9 Brigade.
What this all indicates is a restructuring and upgrade of 17 Iraqi Army brigades with the following modifications to the US structure:
- BTR-4K Command Vehicles and BTR-4KSh Staff Vehicles - in place of M577 Command Vehicles in 2 divisions plus a brigade.
- BSEM-4K Armored Ambulance - in place of M113 ambulances in 2 divisions plus a brigade.
- BTR-4 Line [Still do not know which turret version.] in 9 brigades and probably BMP1 used in this role for 8 brigades - in place of M3 Bradley CFV.
- M113A3, MTLB, and Type 63 APCs - in place of M2 Bradley IFV in the 17 HBCTs.
- M1064A3 120mm Mortar Carriers - in place of 3 of the 4 field artillery batteries in US formations.
- Probably MOP-4K Fire Support Vehicles in 9 brigades and probably BMP1 used in this role for 8 brigades.
Total existing armor plus armor orders [and their options] point to the equivalent of 4 armored divisions [More likely 1 armored and 4 mechanized.] and a HBCT [56th Brigade] - 17 HBCTs plus a mixed-equipment Armored Training Brigade. Iraqi armored divisions will be organized with 4 HBCTs while Iraqi mechanized divisions would have 3 HBCTs and a motorized brigade. This is similar to the US structure where Mechanized Infantry Divisions are a mix of brigade types and the 1st Cavalry Division has all HBCTs.
All of the planned deliveries of armor are scheduled to arrive by 2014 but, major components are still missing – tanks, SP artillery, fire-support vehicles, and support vehicles. Total existing tanks and ordered/optioned tanks only equip 7 HBCTs and the training element, which means an additional 600 tanks are needed to fill out this developing structure. While some of that may be additional M1A1 Abrams, the price and delivery delays point towards tanks from elsewhere.
The BTR4 [and AN-32] order from the Ukraine is just the first $550 million of five annual orders from the Ukraine expected to total $2.4 billion. Some of that will be spent on additional repair/recovery vehicles and the 120 MOP-4K fire-support vehicles, as well as additional transport aircraft. Also likely is tanks; Oplot, Yatagan, or used T72s. It is possible that more than 600 tanks will be purchased from the Ukraine as the Iraqi Army plans to upgrade to more than just 17 HBCTs. 17 HBCTs and the training element are just the apparent target goal for Phase 2 [2011-2015] upgrades. The goal for Phase 3 [2016-2020] is 8-10 heavy divisions in the Iraqi Army.
Other items [besides tanks/FSVs], missing from the orders, and needed to fill out this Phase 2 structure includes:
* Artillery for all IA divisions [towed for motorized/infantry]. Approx 72 howitzers per division. Only about 3 divisions worth exist or are reported being provided and all but 30 M109s are towed. Each HBCT requires 6 self-propelled howitzers [24 total in Armor Division's HBCTs] plus each division artillery regiment requires another 48 howitzers.
* Armored Recovery Vehicles, Repair Vehicles and Heavy Equipment Transporters. Total existing/ordered only support 1 division so far.
* Only 1 bridging company’s worth of equipment is being provided so far, 4 companies [battalion] are the standard minimum per heavy division.
The likely candidates [other than 9th Division and 56th Brigade] for upgrade have been addressed previously and there are no further indicators as to which division(s) will be upgraded next.
While the light armor and command elements of the Iraqi Army’s armored structure are firming up, much remains to be purchased, trained on, and integrated. The APCs existing and en route combined with the training, point to where the IA wishes to be at the end of Phase 2 upgrades in 2015 but, major components are still missing and need to be ordered. The 4 remaining to be identified Ukrainian orders [$1.85 billion] will probably fill many of those gaps – but not all.
October 16, 2009: Iraqi Army Going Modular
March 20, 2010: Iraqi Total Force Mobilization Update: March 2010
June 27, 2010: Used US Equipment Transferring to Iraqi Army
July 11, 2010: Speculation on Iraqi Army Armor Forces by 2014
Updated Monthly: Iraqi Order of Battle
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during July 2010. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 July 2010.
During July, 2 articles extrapolating future Iraqi Army Armor Forces were written: The 1st [more conservative] “Speculation on Iraqi Army Armor Forces by 2014” and the far more speculative “SWAG on Iraqi Armor Distribution”. An article breaking down the Iraqi Army Air Corps split from Iraqi Air Force was also published and the details will not be addressed in this update. Highlights in this update include:
- Iraqi Request for 18 new Block 52 F16s; first 10 fighter pilots go to US for training.
- 11 M1A1s to arrive in August; 60 HETS ordered; Ukrainian BTR4 to start arriving in October; 1st AN-32 to deliver in September.
- Peshmerga battalion identified.
- Army Air Corps re-formed; future M1A1-equipped battalion identified.
- 1st group of Iraqi Navy Patrol Boat students graduate; Iraqi Marines take over Bucca.
- Ministry of Interior moving to purchase 1st helicopters.
Arms Deliveries and Purchases
As part of the program to sell 18 F16 Block 52 fighters to Iraq, Iraq has signed an agreement with the United States for the training of 10 Iraqi Air Force pilots. At graduation, these pilots will have completed the training necessary to move on to F-16 flying training. The training for each student will last from 12 to 17 months depending on the experience level of the pilot. According to Marco Dijkshoor, Dutch Aviation Society/Scramble Magazine, "On the F-16 front I am getting quite firm reports that the first 10 IqAF pilots will be trained from August onwards on Sheppard AFB (TX) and that 18 Block 52 with limited weaponry have been ordered, prone for delivery between 2012-2013."
According to Lieutenant Colonel Martin Downie, US Army, Public Affairs Chief, USF-I J9 PAO:"The first 11 of the 140 M1s that Iraq has purchased are expected to arrive in August. The entire 140 will be delivered in monthly batches over the following year. The M1s here now were not purchased but are being used for training only." This indicates that the first 140 M1A1s will be delivered by the fall of 2011 however; the official statements continue to include a fudge-factor and state “by December 2011.”
A contract for 60 Iraqi heavy equipment transporter systems (HETS) and associated ancillary items has been awarded. The HETS are M1070A0 tractors and the Fontaine 635NL trailers. The associated ancillary items include 6,240 spare tires; Iraqi HETS spare parts; non-standard trailer manuals; and IHETS operator training. This is part of the deal providing over 1,000 M113s to Iraq during 2011-2013.
The Ukrainian purchase is progressing. The delivery of the 1st An-32 Transport for Iraq is scheduled tentatively for September 2010. The first batch of BTR-4s is to deliver in October 2010. The Ukrainian manufacture has apparently had delays in subcontractor delivery of engines for the BTR-4 APCs. Further data breaking down the types of BTR-4 variants in this order were also reported however, the numbers for the types reported suggest erroneous reporting. There are too many command and staff variants and too few repair and recovery vehicles in the mix. To date, I have been unable to confirm this report and suspect the numbers should read:
* 270 line of armored personnel carriers,
* 80 of repair and recovery [vice “command”],
* 30 command [vice “staff"],
* 30 medical, and
* 10 staff [vice “repair and recovery”].
This unconfirmed corrected mix would fit for:
3 light mechanized brigades and a training/maintenance battalion float or
for the APC, support, and command elements of a mechanized division plus a training/maintenance battalion float.
The 2-12 Peshmerga Battalion was reported conducting joint ops in the Irbil disputed area. This is a first report of this battalion and its parent 12th Peshmerga Brigade. This unit is estimated to be part of the un-commissioned 15th Mountain Division.
Elements of the M113-equipped 4-35/9 Mechanized Reconnaissance Battalion were reported receiving M1A1 refresher training. This is the 3rd of 4 planned M1A1-equipped battalions identified to receive the 1st 140 M1A1 tanks. The battalions identified are the 5-36/9, 4-36/9, and now the 4-35/9. All have been reported employing M113 APCs. The 56th Brigade has also been reported training on M113s and is probably also receiving M1A1s.
The 1st group of 50 Iraqi Navy sailors received training at the Swiftships Shipbuilding facility in Morgan City, La and graduated 15 July. The Iraqi naval students spent 90 days at Morgan City training to operate, maintain and deploy 15-man patrol boats. The 1st 2 of 15 ordered PBs are to deliver this month.
Interestingly, Bucca was transferred from the US Forces to the Iraqi Marine detachment. This base is large enough to house a brigade. The Iraqi Marines may be preparing to expand and form a new battalion or even a 2nd brigade.
Ministry of Interior
The Iraqi Ministry of Interior plans to form its own Air Force. 15 Scout helicopters are reportedly being ordered. On 19 November 2009, a US Foreign Material Sales announcement that MoI intended to buy 15 Scout and 10 Utility helicopters and listed 3 possible types for each. This planned Police Aviation Force is apparently progressing to contracting, however the types picked were not specified in the report. The original FMS notice indicated the choices were:
- 15 AgustaWestland AW109 Light Utility Observation helicopters, or alternatively, 15 Bell Model 429 Medical Evacuation and Aerial Observation helicopters, or 15 EADS North America UH-72A Lakota Light Utility helicopters; and
- 12 AgustaWestland AW139 Medium Utility helicopters, or alternatively, 12 Bell Model 412 Medium Utility helicopters, or 12 Sikorsky UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopters.
“The Iraqi Army, which recently took control of their military's rotary-wing assets from the Iraqi Air Force, uses the Huey primarily as a scout and reconnaissance aircraft.” With this sentence, the announcement of the formation of the Iraqi Army Air Corps was made by Specialist Roland Hale, a journalist for the 1st Infantry Division Combat Aviation Brigade.
While there are limited details concerning this reorganization, the known structure of the Iraqi Air Force makes sorting out which squadrons are now Army Air Corps simple. The subordination of the air bases, training establishment, and the future air defense brigade are less clear and may be under joint or separate command in several cases.
Iraqi Army Air Corps
The existing, forming, and planned AAC squadrons indicate a forming structure of 4 aviation brigades and a training squadron. This fits the support aviation structure for the planned 4 Iraqi Army Corps. This is a work in progress and all new helicopter squadrons will be formed at Taji first and then assigned as needed.
Taji Regional Air Base is the primary helicopter base. Taji is the home of several Iraqi Army schools. It is also the home of the Iraqi Air Force’s Technical Training Wing and the Sector Operations Center for Central Iraq. This base will probably be a joint command with the Iraqi Army in the lead. The Technical Training Wing will probably remain under the Iraqi Air Force. The squadrons existing or forming at Taji are all helicopter squadrons:
- 12th Flight Training Squadron - while elements are located at Kirkuk, this squadron has been operating split between Taji/Kirkuk and is the principle helicopter training squadron. Currently equipped with 10 OH-58C (US loan) and 10 Jet Rangers.
- 2nd Utility/Scout Squadron – is equipped with 16 Huey II helicopters. This squadron has had some confusing reporting over the last year indicating it was a training squadron. It is likely that aircrew for the planned Recon/Lt Attack helicopter squadrons have been receiving advanced training in scout helicopter operations and the use of night-vision goggles in this squadron.
- 4th Transport Squadron – is equipped with MI-17 helicopters and operates detachments in Habbenayah and Basrah. This squadron is equipped with the oldest MI-17s and also operates the VIP helicopters.
- 15th Air Assault Squadron – is equipped with MI-17v5 and was formed for dedicated Iraqi Special Operation Force support. There are indications that this squadron has been retasked.
- 21st Armed Reconnaissance Squadron – is forming at Taji. This squadron is to be equipped with Armed Bell-407 helicopters to be delivered by 30 August 2011.
- 88th Attack Squadron – is forming at Taji. This squadron is being equipped with used SA-342 helicopters from the French Army. Delivery of initial helicopters reported in February 2010.
- ? Attack Squadron – is forming at Taji. This squadron is being equipped with new EC-635 helicopters with delivery to be complete in 2011. Delivery of initial 2 helicopters reported in May 2010.
- ? Air Assault Squadron – is planned to be equipped with MI-17CTs ordered to be delivered in August 2010.
Basrah Regional Air Base operates a detachment of MI-17s. The Iraqi Air Force’s 70th Reconnaissance Squadron recently transferred Ali AB, leaving only helicopters operating here. This base shares Basrah International Airport and military operations are planned to move to Shuaibah AB this year.
Habbenayah Regional Air Base operates a detachment of MI-17s.
Kut Regional Air Base plans to base MI-17s and is to support a ground-link for reconnaissance aircraft.
Planned Army Air Corps Squadrons:
- 2x Transport/Air Assault Squadron - planned. There are at least 5 squadrons of MI-17 aircrew trained but only 2 operational squadrons with a 3rd forming. At least 2 more squadrons are planned.
- 1x Armed Recon Squadron – planned. The initial order for Armed Bell-407s includes an option for 26 more. If executed, delivery is planned by October 2012.
- 2x Attack Squadrons – planned. Both orders for used SA-342s and new EC-635s included options for additional aircraft to form additional squadrons. Delivery prior to 2015, if the options are executed.
In addition to the known squadrons [existing, forming, or planned] there are 10 AAC/IqAF squadrons planned where the type has not been identified. The AAC is likely to get 4 of those squadrons and they are likely to be heavy attack helicopters such as the Apache.
This is a SWAG but, the SA-342s, EC-635s, and Bell-407s all fit for employment in the armed reconnaissance [Scout] role similar to what the UH- 1 Hueys of 2nd Squadron have been performing. The Iraqi Army plans to have 4 Corps: 3 Frontal Corps and a Central Reserve Corps. That could mean that the plan is for the AAC to be organized into:
- 3 Frontal Corps Aviation Brigades with 2 light attack/recon squadrons and 1 Mi-17 equipped air assault squadron plus a future planned heavy attack squadron [Apache?]. Basrah, Kut, and Habbenayah are the probable planned headquarters bases.
- 1 Reserve Corps Aviation Brigade with 2 Mi-17 equipped air assault squadrons and 1 Huey equipped utility/recon squadron plus a future planned heavy attack squadron [Apache?]. Headquarters at Taji.
- 12th Training Squadron probably administratively attached to the Reserve Corps.
Iraqi Air Force (IqAF)
The Iraqi Air Force structure is also fairly clear with the exceptions of the possible joint or separate commands.
Air Technical Training Wing at Taji will probably continue as a joint IqAF lead training command. However, some of the IqAF specific training will probably move to Tikrit.
Ali (Tallil) Regional Air Base is the location of the Southern Sector Operational Command and a probable future fighter base.
- 70th Reconnaissance Squadron – relocated to Ali (Tallil) this year. Equipped with CH2000 and SBL-360 aircraft, this squadron provides reconnaissance support to southern Iraq.
New Al Muthanna Regional Air Base (BIAP) is the base for the IqAF’s Transport Wing.
- 23rd Transport Squadron – is equipped with 3 C-130E and is to take delivery of 4 C-130J-30 in 2010/11 and 2 more C-130J-30 in 2012.
- 87th Reconnaissance Squadron – is equipped with King Air 350 ISR and Light Transport Aircraft. While primarily used as a reconnaissance squadron, the 87th also provides light transport services.
Tikrit Regional Air Base is the new IqAF training base. Elements from Rustimayah, Kirkuk and Taji have been and continue to relocate here.
- Air Academy – The first classes started in mid-2010. This is the IqAF’s officer academy. Previously the IqAF officer training was performed at the Military Academy at Rustimayah.
- Iraqi Air Force College - The first courses started in January 2010. Eventually 1,500 students are planned. This is the ground school for IqAF aircrew.
- 1st Flight Training Squadron – Currently located at Kirkuk but planned to relocated to Tikrit this year. Equipped with Cessna C172s, this squadron provides basic flight training.
- ? Training Squadron – Iraq ordered 20 Lasta-95 intermediate trainers and 9 have been reported delivered. All are to be delivered by the end of 2010. However, none of these aircraft have been reported in Iraq. This indicates the squadron is training in Serbia.
- ? Training Squadron – with the arrival of the first T-6A Advanced Trainers this undesignated squadron of the Flight Training Wing started forming. Currently equipped with 8 T-6A, 7 more T-6As are expected by the end of 2010.
Kirkuk Regional Air Base (Kirkuk IAP) was the IqAF Flight Training Base but, that function is relocating to Tikrit. Kirkuk is also home to the Northern Sector Operational Command and will probably be a fighter base.
- 3rd Reconnaissance Squadron – is equipped with Cessna RC-/AC-/C-208 Caravan ISR, armed ISR, and Light Transport Aircraft. Provides reconnaissance support for northern Iraq.
Al Asad Regional Air Base is the location of the Western Sector Operational Command and probably a planned fighter base.
Balad Regional Air Base is planned to be a main operating base indicating it is to be a fighter base.
Q-West Regional Air Base. The new commander of the base indicated that F16s and new helicopters are to be based here. Indicates this recently turned over base is to support IqAF and AAC assets.
Planned Iraqi Air Force:
- 1x Transport Squadron – is planned. 10 AN-32s have been ordered from the Ukraine with the 1st to deliver this fall. Possible 2 squadrons of these aircraft planned. Probably be based at New Al Muthanna.
- 5x Fighter Squadrons - planned to start forming in 2012. The first 18 F16 Block 52 aircraft are to deliver in 2013. Initial pilot training in the US is to start in August 2010. IqAF Chief of Staff has stated he wants 96 F16C/D by 2020 to provide a capacity for basic air defense.
- 1x Reconnaissance Squadron - was planned and may be only postponed. 36 AT-6B light attack trainers were planned to be incorporated with the 3 existing reconnaissance squadrons and forming an additional squadron.
- 1x (Jet) Training Squadron – planned. Procurement competition for 24 T-50, Hawk, or Maki 346 Jet Trainers has been announced. The Korean T-50 Jet Trainer will probably win and this squadron will be based at Tikrit.
In addition to the known squadrons [existing, forming, or planned] there are 10 AAC/IqAF squadrons planned where the type has not been identified. The IqAF is likely to get 6 of these squadrons. They are probably 1 more AN-32 transport squadron and 5 additional fighter squadrons [Rafale?]. Iraqi Ministry of Defense has made it clear that they do not intend to be dependent on any 1 country. So they will split their fighter force between 2 countries and France appears to have the inside track. This purchase will probably be post Phase 3 [2016-2020] due to budget; however, the purchases could happen in parallel with the F16 buys if the budget improves.
Joint or Separate Commands?
As mentioned above, at least Taji and Q-West will probably be joint operations with Taji under Iraqi Army lead and Q-West under IqAF lead. Since it makes no sense to duplicate the training establishments, much of the aviation technical training will also be joint and probably placed unde