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Divisional OOB as of 30 November 2012


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. 

 map of kurd-exxon deal - Independent 

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...


Divisional OOB as of 31 October 2012 


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.


The Tigris Operations Command has conducted its first operations and has officially added the Salahaddin province to its area.


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 [2013], 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.


Iraqi Air Bases and Projected SAM Sites [click to enlarge]


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:

  1. A big rip-off.
  2. More equipment being bought but not reported.
  3. 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]


ISF Speculation



IA Moves? September 2012




Total Force Mobilization September 2012



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.


Divisional OOB as of 30 September 2012 



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 [8] 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.




Iraq’s First Super Hercules Takes to the Skies. 

"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." 


The first batch of Armed Bell 407s were delivered to Taji.  They have already participated in a live-fire exercise. 


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.


Brigade OOB as of 31 August 2012 


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.   


Brigade OOB as of 31 July 2012


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 fifth of 6 AN-32s has been confirmed delivered.  The last is due to arrive this month [Aug 2012]. 




"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.



ISF Total Force Mobilization July 2012 


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.


Iraqi Army


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.


Federal Police


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…


Related Articles: 

Armor July 2012

Iraqi Armor Upgrade Update July 2012


This is a correction.  The April 2012 PDF “Iraqi Army Upgrade Status chartlocated 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. 




Brigade OOB as of 30 June 2012 


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 MTLBArmored 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.




IMoD has been discussing buying Block 60 vice Block 52 F16s with USDoD.   No report of a change in order.  The radars for the first 18 F16s have been ordered with delivery to be completed by March 2015.


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.   


Brigade OOB as of 31 May 2012


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.


Despite defects in the fire-control system reported by Russian press, according to Ukrainian press the second batch of BTR4s [62] appears to be delivering after being accepted by Iraq.




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.


Brigade OOB as of 30 April 2012


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. 

IMoD is not bothering to update its English language site, although the Arabic version does get some updates, and the Federal Police site has been down since the fall of 2011. 

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.


The third AN32 delivered by the Ukrainians and confirmed delivered by IMoD.  The remaining 3 transports are to be delivered in 2012.


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.


Brigade OOB as of 31 March 2012


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.


Iraqi Army


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.


Iraqi Navy


The pennant numbers and names of the two building Offshore Support Vessels have been identified.  They are the Al Basrah [401] and Al Fayhaa [402].  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”.


Brigade OOB as of 29 February 2012


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.


Iraqi Army


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 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.
Divisions with 3 Brigades having elements upgrading/upgraded:
  • 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.
Divisions with 2 Brigades having elements upgrading/upgraded:
  • 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.


While there is still repeated reporting of an Iraqi buy of Korean T-50 jet trainers – no actual contract has been announced.


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. 



Brigade OOB as of 31 January 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."


Iraqi Army


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.


Iraqi Navy


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.

IA Div organization-Jan2012

Click to enlarge graphic.  Red indicates planned.  Orange indicates forming. 


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



Brigade OOB as of 31 December 2011 


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.


Iraqi Army


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.


Iraqi Navy


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." 


DJ Elliott