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This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during May 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 May 2013. Key points include:
- 2nd IA Division Mechanizing; Sorting out Operational Commands; 8th Mech Division moving HQ.
- Funding authorized for F16 buy; Last 3 C130Js delivered; New squadron for the An-32s?; Mi-171 crashed; 24 IA-407s delivered; ADC developments; MiGs?; Army Aviation College-new Sqs ID’d; ROK TA50 competition stalling L159 deal?; Russian deal funded and implementing.
- 2nd FP Division being replaced in Baghdad by 4th FP Division and moving to Mosul?
- Speculation on Operational Commands.
The 8 May Khaima mentioned a visit to “the 2nd Battalion, 7th Mechanized Infantry Brigade in Al Baaj area of south-western Ninawa. This is the second Brigade of 2nd IA Division reported to be Mech [6/2 is the other] and this is normally an area between 3rd and 7th IA Divisions on the Syrian border. Apparently, 2nd IA Division is shifting from Mosul to the Syrian border while mechanizing.
The 14 May Khaima discussed is the cooperation between the Jazira Operations Command and Anbar Operations Command along their borders where terrorists cross the two adjacent areas and into Syria. Ninawa OC and Anbar OC are internally focused while Jazira OC is externally focused on the borders with Syria in Anbar and Ninawa. JOC may be a precursor to an IA Corps command while NiOC/AOC may be retained as MoI/FP Task Force/Corps commands.
The 8th Mechanized Division HQ may be moving to Babil province.
Aviation and Air Defense
Funding for the F16 buy has been confirmed available by GoI.
The last 3 of the 6 ordered C130Js has been confirmed delivered to Iraq.
A new Squadron for An-32s has been established. What happened to original 3rd Squadron?
An AAC helo crashed in Wasit. Photos indicate it was a Mi-171.
The 30 March Khaima mentioned the following:
- Air Defense Batteries opened in Baghdad.
- Air Defense Batteries opened in Salahadin.
- Southern Air Defense operations command opened in Dhi Qar.
- Air Defense Technical College opened at Taji.
- Early Warning Battalions opened (visual observers).
- Site surveying in Karbala and Najaf for future air defense radars and systems.
- The rest of the regions of Iraq will also be covered by air defense systems soon.
The 8 May Khaima mentioned the following:
- The Air Force receives three C130J-30 aircraft completing the contract for 6 aircraft. (Confirmation.)
- The Air Defense Technical College inaugurates its first Surface to Air Missile course.
- Full page interview with commander of the Air force. "From the plane of Hafdhi Aziz which first flew over the skies of Iraq in April 1931 to the MiGs or F16s that will fly over our skies by the middle of next year, Defense of Iraq's sky has once again fallen to the Iraqi pilots". (MiGs being bought?)
- The F16 pilots are training in the US and will return in September 2014 to begin flying the F16s over Iraq's skies.
- First F16s will arrive in September 2014 and final aircraft delivered in 2017.
- Now there are 6 Iraqi pilots flying F16s in the US and one is already a professional. More pilots are on the way.
The 14 May Khaima had a full page article on the Army Aviation College:
- So far 63 students have graduated.
- Because it’s now an Army Aviation College as opposed to a flight school as it was in the past, it issues its graduates with Bachelor’s Degrees.
- Recruits are high school graduates with a minimum of 65% grades, after physical and academic testing about 20% are chosen to attend the college. They spend the first year at the Military College (general military). In the past the second year was spent doing basic flight training at the Air Force Academy, but this has now been cancelled and pilots undergo basic training at Taji (part of the Army Aviation Academy) without going to the Air Force Academy. The third stage consists of both theoretical and flying courses. The pilot must achieve 120-140 hours. This flight training is in Habbaniyah.
- The flying instructors have visited aviation schools in the US, Italy, Australia to observe the training methods there.
- The college has 5 training squadrons: 200 Squadron – basic flight training (60 hours Bell 206); 300 Squadron (OH58) – basic flight training. 16 Squadron – advanced flight training (60 flight hours Mi17); 500 Squadron – advanced flight training (UH-1); and 95 Squadron – fixed wing training.
- Student starts with 60 hours on 200 Squadron, then another 60 hours on 16 Squadron before moving to the operational squadrons.
- 95th fixed wing Squadron will become active when the aircraft are received in the future.
The Czech deal is still in negotiations. Aero Vodochody continues to negotiate with the Iraqi government over the potential sale of 28 L-159 light attack and training aircraft. Senior management has stated that talks with the Iraqi government have stalled due to fierce competition faced by the L-159 from the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) TA-50 Golden Eagle.
Russia has started fulfilling its recent arms exports contract with Iraq after receiving an advance payment from Baghdad, Russian Technologies (Rostech) CEO Sergei Chemezov said. “The contract is being implemented, the production [of ordered equipment] has started,” Chemezov told RIA Novosti on Thursday. No details as to when delivering and the numbers and types of equipment continue to be all over the place: 28-42 Mi28NE, 42-50 Pantsir S1, 6 Mi35, and now MiG-29s have been mentioned in this buy.
Iraqi Ministry of Interior
The 8 May Khaima included an article on the IGFC commander visiting NiOC. The meeting was attended by the commanders of 2nd and 3rd Federal Police Divisions. 2nd FP Division is Baghdad based – this could mean 2nd FP Division is moving to Ninawa and replacing 2nd IA Division. On 20 May an Iraqi press report referred to a "4th Police Area" in West Baghdad. This area is normally a 2nd FP Division area - this could mean the 4th FP Division is taking replacing 2nd FP Division in west Baghdad. The 1-5/4 FP Battalion has been reported in Bayaa District of Baghdad – 5/4 FP Brigade was previously identified as Maysan Province based.
Speculation on Operational Commands
The ISF is reorganizing its de facto Corps-level commands. Some of the older commands have been eliminated while others have been retained. The 4 new Operational Commands have several things in common that indicate they are future IA Corps:
- Not named for province or city – these are regional commands. Tigris, Jazira, Rafidain, and Furat Awsat.
- Focus is on External security vice Internal security.
- 2-3 IA Divisions in each area – factoring in the planned IA division moves: 3 IA Divisions each.
The retained older Operational Commands are all focused on internal security and appear to have 2 division-equivalents each of Emergency and Federal Police. Ninawa, Anbar, Samarra, Maysan, and Basrah could each be becoming Police Task Forces/Corps. [Keep in mind that they command more police than just the 2 paramilitary divisions in their areas.]
Baghdad Operational Command and its subordinate Rusafa and Karkh Area Commands could also be splitting as the Federal Police take the lead in the cities. BOC could be becoming the IA Central Reserve while RAC/KAC becomes Police Task Forces/Corps.
A similar split is appearing in the Kurdish Region. KRG’s Task Force Police has been established with 2 divisions of paramilitary police. Hamirin and an unidentified Operational Command have been reported forming with each commanding 3 divisional equivalents of Regional Guards Brigades.
If this is the plan, then the ISF appears to be splitting into 4-5 IA 3 division Corps and 6-7 Police 2 division Task Forces plus the KRGs 2 Corps and a Police Task Force. Reorganization and re-tasking is in progress – this may be what is planned.