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This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during November 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 November 2013; however it remains by request only due to copyright infringement. Requests are by e-mail.
The 6 November Khaima provided some additional data and locations on Iraqi Depots:
In 2003, all our facilities were destroyed. 35 ammunition complexes were completely destroyed and from the remaining 10 ammunition complexes 25% was destroyed. When the new army was re-established, Baiji Depot was re-established as the primary depot as well as depots in Kasik, Taji, Habaniya, Kirkush, Nu’mania, Ur with the help of the US forces. These consisted of basic containers or disused aircraft shelters. These did not meet the standards for the safe storage of munitions and have driven us to establish proper facilities for munitions storage which are no less than 5km away from the main bases. In addition, we have begun to implement proper procedures for accounting, maintaining and distributing munitions. We begun in 2007, planning the reconstruction of the munitions depot system by visiting the old depots. IN 2008 we took possession of Baiji depot, and after discussing with the coalition forces they returned some bullets and 23mm ammunition that was stored there. We also then took possession of Najaf depot and the munitions stored there. We started off training our officers and staff in 2009, 50 officers and 50 enlisted men at a time. And soon we had enough staff to reopen 4 more depots including Adhaim, Basra, Habaniya, Mosul. In taji we had a show of the munitions for the light weapons including the eastern and western rifles and Pakistani rifles.
The 13 November Khaima indicated that there is a possible Romanian arms buy in negotiations:
The General of the Chief of Staff welcomes a visit by the Romanian Military Attaché. Ibrahim Mohammed welcomed Colonel Florin Disbo. They discussed the signing of the upcoming military cooperation agreement between the two countries which includes training and arming.
There continue to be indications of a new IA Division forming in Baghdad. There are also indications that 6th Division is to be converted to an armor or mechanized division vice converting 2nd Motorized Division.
There were reports that an Apache buy had been approved and that 4 Mi-35s had been received early in November. The 13 Novomber Khaima indicated that there are budget problems with buying Apaches and that the Mi-35s were arriving later in November:
The Apache helicopters need a massive budget that the MODs current budget can’t support. The pentagon and state department had agreed to the sale some months ago. At the same time new helicopters will arrive at the end of this month from Russia with an attacking power equivalent to the apache. The munitions for the Russian helicopters have been bought and will be supplied for 4 years, and have arrived already.
IMoD officially announced receipt of the Mi-35s on 2 December.
Ministry of Interior
The 5-6/II Commando Battalion was reported operating near Qaim in November. This is the first report of a 5th Battalion in 6/II Brigade [presumably a 4th Battalion as well.] This also points to an emphasis on the Qaim area as the 6/II Brigade’s HQ is at Sinjar [Ninawa].
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during October 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 October 2013, however it remains by request only due to copyright infringement. Requests are by e-mail. Changes reported include:
- Training underutilized due to operational commitments; Under strength Artillery Brigades have been established in all IA Divisions; Division Intelligence expanding to Battalion; HET Transport Battalion reported in 9th Armor Division for first time.
- Southern SOC Exercise; Unconfirmed reports of initial Russian Mi-35 deliveries in October.
- Ten 7 meter RHIBs produced for Iraq.
- New Mech Brigade in 4th Federal Police Division?
The 2 October Khaima includes an article on training. Only half the training availability has been used this year due to operational commitments which indicates the Iraqi army is overextended and need to add 2-3 divisions to fulfill its commitments. Key items mentioned in that article were:
- The biggest complaint received is that not the correct personnel were sent on training programs in the past. We aim to change this by sending the soldiers for the specialist training programs.
- We are supposed to train 79 battalions, but in reality only 36 battalions were freed from operations to be trained. Also 80 companies were trained, spread across 9 locations.
- With the current locations and capacity we can train the entire Iraqi army in 4 years. [If utilized.]
The 9 October Khaima confirmed that all of the Iraqi Divisions now have an Artillery Command [Field Artillery Brigade]. However, these brigades only have 2 of the planned 4 Artillery Battalions per Division. The Artillery Command HQ also has an Artillery Brigade with 3 Artillery Battalions that acts as a strategic reserve to strengthen units on a need basis. This Brigade has 2 roles – it is the Artillery Training Brigade and is the first of 8-12 planned Army-/Corps-level Artillery Brigades.
The 9 October Khaima also mentioned 12th Division’s Intelligence Battalion. Only 3 IA Divisions have been identified as having expanded their divisional Intelligence to Battalions.
The 23 October Khaima reported that 9th Armor Division’s Transport and Logistics Command has established a Heavy Transport Battalion. They have specialist repair teams with the units in the field to ensure that all vehicles are able to complete their transport duties. It consists of 4 transport companies and the HQ in Taji. Every company has 11 heavy tank transporters.
The 30 October Khaima reported on the Southern Sector Operations Center Air Defense Command exercise in October. Participants included the ADC commander, Chief of Central Operations of the ADC, Commander of Ali Air Base [Tallil], Commander of the Ali Flying Wing, and a number of pilots from 70th Squadron. Aircraft made approaches from multiple directions and altitudes to test the radar systems. Also tested were the communications systems of the ground controls. 70th Squadron also launched Hornet 71 targets in the direction west of Samawa. Targets were detected at altitudes from 100m-350m.
While there have been conflicting reports of initial deliveries of Russian helicopters in October, as of 31 October, no new helicopters have arrived in Iraq. [This may indicate the initial 4 Mi-35s have completed construction in Russia but have not been transported to Iraq during October. Delivery has different meanings depending on who is talking. The manufacturer considers delivery to be when they are built and locally accepted. The receiving country defines delivery as when they are accepted in their own country.]
The Iraqi Navy is accepting delivery of ten 7-meter aluminum RIBs. They will be serving as patrol boats and as tenders for larger vessels. [See above paragraph comment on delivery.]
Ministry of Interior
A Mech Brigade has been reported as assigned to 4th Federal Police Division. This could mean the 1st FP Mech Brigade has been attached to 4th FP Division or that a new FP Mech Brigade has been formed in 4th FP Division. Each FP Division is expected to have a light Mech Brigade eventually but only 1 has been confirmed existing in the Federal Police at this time.
Fair Use is not carte blanch to steal others work. You have to have permission to do more than quote bits of a copyrighted work. Giving credit to the author does not let you off the hook. Especially when you are selling that work.
Effective immediately, the Battalion-level ISF OOB is no longer available to the public. I have not seen a Battalion-level ISF OOB that was not a copy of my work in 5 years. Yet there are only 6 organizations that have asked permission to use/copy my work:
- US Department of Defense
- Center for Strategic and International Studies
- The Long War Journal [previously The Fourth Rail]
- Olive Group
- Scramble Magazine
- Defense Industry Daily
The rest are pirates.
If you are going to argue against this, be forewarned that I'm PO'd - so your ducks better be in a row.
I will entertain requests for current copies of the ISF OOB from reputable organizations.
I will continue to publish monthly updates of changes or significant events as well as service specific updates.
I'm done feeding pirates. The irritation is not worth the 80-120 hours I've been spending per month sorting through the chaff, propaganda, and pure BS...
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during September 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 September 2013. The Article “ISOF Expansion September 2013” was published 23 September and will not be addressed here. Key changes reported include:
- Army: Observation balloons/towers received; EPD Established; Numaniyah Base home to a Corps Logistics Depot?; Commando Battalions in the Area and Operational Commands?; Another Augment Battalion on the Syrian Border identified; Ordering BTR82s to replace BTR4s; IA plans 2 armored and 5 mechanized Divisions.
- Aviation: First F16 deliveries in spring 2014; First SAMs delivered; unconfirmed report of Mi35 delivery in October; KRG contracts for 12 MD500F.
- Navy: Shopping for missile boats, Russia not interested in selling.
Iraqi MoD celebrated the commissioning of observation balloons in August. Three 17m observation balloons and six 107 feet observation towers were received as part of the Strategic Framework Agreement with the US. US Personnel trained the Iraqi crews in Iraq during an 8 week course.
The Iraqi Minister of Defense visited the Samara Operations Command accompanied by the commander of the 4th Division and the commander of the newly established Energy Protection Division. [Machine translator translates as Corps]. This is the first report of the new EPD being already established. If IMoD is taking over security for oil then they are probably also taking over the 4 Oil Police Divisions – eventually a Security Corps of 5 Divisions.
Numaniyah Base includes: the Numaniyah Logistics Depot, Defense Battalion, Numaniyah Works [maintenance], Medical Center, and the Wasit Training Center. The main units at the site are the 8th Transport and Logistics Brigade [8th Mechanized Division], Center for Military Disciplinary School [MP School], Numaniyah Medium Factory [Maintenance Brigade], National Police School, and Numaniyah depot. This build up of support elements is an army-/corps-level support base second in size only to Taji National Depot.
The 28 August Khaima mentioned a “Commando Battalion of the Baghdad Operations Command.” This is the third Operational or Area Command reported to have a Commando Battalion and indicates all the Operational and Area Commands are to have Commando Battalions - maybe brigades.
A Youtube video of BMP1s operating near Al Waleed on the Syrian border was identified as a 3rd Battalion of 11th Division. The only BMP1s assigned to the east Baghdad based 11th Division are in the 3-44/11 Mechanized Battalion. The IA continues to increase its augment of the Syrian border.
Iraq is in negotiations for BTR82 ICVs and an upgrade of Russian APCs from the 1980s. One of the reasons given for this purchase is to replace the problematic Ukrainian BTR4s being used to mechanize the 5th Division in Diyala.
On page 7 of the 25 September Khaima was an article on the 85th Anniversary of the establishment of the armored corps. Key items included in that article were:
- The re-established armored corps managed to commission the 9th Armored and 8th and 10th Mechanized Divisions with little resources via the refurbishment of old Iraqi army stocks as well importing some weapons, they managed to equip these divisions with tanks, apcs and fighting vehicles.
- We are importing other quantities of tanks to close the shortage in the armored, mechanized and infantry divisions.
- The Ministry has issued orders for the establishment of an armored division, mechanized division, mechanized brigade and mechanized battalion.
- Our order, from the commander in chief is to achieve: 2 armored divisions and 5 mechanized divisions.
- The speech by the Engineer Talal Hussain Salman, Director of the Ibn Al Walid state enterprise (a part of the ministry of industry and mining) said in his speech: The Ibn Al Walid company was established in 1987 to produce T72 tanks after an agreement with the soviet union. Now it is being re-established and is collaborating with companies in Germany, England, Italy, Spain and Russia to rebuild its capabilities.
- Ali Ghaidan, ground Forces commander said: “We hope in the next year we see a development of the armored corps so the armored and mechanized divisions can receive their full complement of equipment.”
Notice the status breakdown:
- Current planned target is for 7 Armor/Mech Divisions: 2 Armor and 5 Mech.
- 9th Armor, 8th Mech, and 10th Mech are existing Divisions but are short tanks that are to be imported. The mention of tanks for the infantry divisions indicates the plan is to have a mech or armor brigade in each infantry or motorized division like the 12th Division's 47/12 Armor Brigade. This would indicate an IA target of 46-53 Tank Battalions [Regiments] - 1,610-1,845 total tanks needed. The 245 variance is due to the difference between a mech or armor brigade in each ID. The IA currently has ~350 tanks.
- Now building: U/I Armored Div, 5th Mech Div, U/I Mech Bde, and U/I Mech Bn. 5th Div was already announced Mechanizing but may replace the problematic BTR4s with BTR82. The preponderance of armor vehicles/training in 2nd, 7th, and 14th Divisions [multi-Brigades in each division] indicates one of those as being the new Armored Division is converting [probably 7th]. The Mech Brigade is probably the 56th Brigade.
- Also notice the plan to build their own armor with Germany, England, Italy, Spain and Russia assistance.
The first IqAF F16 deliveries are to be in Q2 2014 [Apr-Jun 2014] according to an RFI responsel from Mark D. Johnson, F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group Communications, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company.
The Iraqi Air Force has contracted for two F-16 Block 52 Weapon Tactics Trainers (WTTs), two brief/debrief systems and one mission observation centre. This contract modification follows a November 2012 award to build two F-16 Block 52 Full Mission Trainers (FMTs) for the IqAF. Plans call for the first F-16 Block 52 FMT to become ready during the first quarter of 2015 with the remaining training devices, brief/debrief systems and mission observation center scheduled to achieve readiness milestones during late 2015.
The first Avenger air defense systems were received by the Air Defense Command. “ADC receives a modern SAM system. This is the first SAM system inducted into the new ADC, and the ADC is now working hard on inducting new radars and new SAMs which are on their way to Iraq. In addition the operations commands are being rebuilt as well as AAA being reconstituted from the remains of the old army and installed onto vehicles.” ADC is conducting command post exercises (CPX) to prepare for further improvements. “Air Defense Command carried out Exercise Shining Star, using the command elements (without active units), to test the organizational capability of the ADC. The aim is to hone and revise the procedures, improve target prioritization.”
The Security and Defense Committee on Monday claimed "the imminent arrival of four helicopters, Russian-made during the current month," and indicated that "these aircraft are from the model (Mi 35) offensive," asserting that "other meal of these aircraft will arrive in November next year." The Security and Defense Committee is known for erroneous claims - a report from them is almost always wrong.
The Kurdistan Regional Government is reported to have contracted for 12 MD 530F helicopters equipped with the latest state of the art technology, including NVG compatible cockpit, high powered searchlight and advanced avionics, and will be delivered by the end of this year. “The KRG said the aircraft will help the Ministry of Interior Affairs in monitoring the region’s airspace, surveying the mountainous regions, and taking part in firefighting missions.” According to another source, "The 7th Group (current operator of all the KRG helicopters) is recruiting new aviators."
Iraq is shopping for 3 missile patrol boats. Apparently the Russians are not interested in selling them.
After five years the plans for expanding the Counter Terrorism Service appear to be implementing. ISOF is to expand from 1 to 3 Divisions with a total strength of 30,000-40,000 personnel: Approximately 50 percent the size of US Special Operations Command supported by a population base of only 10 percent of the US. This will require the absorption of the Ministry of Interior’s SOF to be effective.
Reporting of the expansion
The 14 August Khaima magazine mentioned that:
“The Commander in Chief commanded the execution of the order for the volunteer special forces, and the latest ministerial decree on the forming of two divisions for Special Forces. An electronic site was opened for volunteers to register for both the Special Forces as well as the energy protection division. With regards to the 2 Special Forces divisions, a special request was sent out to soldiers, officers in the Iraqi army and from the old Iraqi special forces to volunteer for the induction tests for the special force.”
This was followed by an interview with the ISOF commander where he discussed expanding to 30-40,000 personnel [from 10,000]. A Regiment [battalion] is to be added in each province except Baghdad will have 4 regiments and Mosul/Basrah will each have 2 regiments added for 20-22 additional Regiments. Further information has indicated that 1st Commando Division will have its headquarters in Mosul, 2nd Commando Division in Baghdad, and 3rd Commando Division in Basrah.
The variance of 20 to 22 additional regiments probably reflects an additional brigade for the Kurdish Region. It is 20 battalions without the KRG Brigade and 22 with this additional independent brigade. These numbers are of planned additional Commando and ICTF Battalions only and do not include support the necessary support battalions.
The variance of 30-40,000 personnel could be because of:
- The possible presence/absence of a Commando Brigade in the KRG [~2,000 personnel],
- The size of the engineering support [~1,500] and
- Whether or not the dedicated Army Air Corps elements are counted [~4,500] as ISOF.
Counter Terrorism Service Absorbing MoI’s SWAT Battalions?
This increase in ISOF could not be done in less than a decade using just volunteers from the old IA, current IA, and new recruits unless ISOF absorbs the MoI ERBs. ISOF’s existing training program only graduates the equivalent of 5 companies per year: 1 ICTF, 2 Commando, and 2 Recon. The training pipeline does not support this expansion without reducing the quality of the force unless the ERBs are being taken over. Effectively, they are improving/expanding C4I, Supply, Maintenance, and air support for the MoD/MoI SOF forces by consolidating them into 1 Corps sized command and adding the missing components.
The only high-end light infantry available to rapidly expand ISOF is MoI’s SWAT Battalions. If the better half of the Ministry of Interior’s Emergency Response Battalions [SWAT] is being converted to ISOF Commando Battalions and the remaining half of the SWATs become Reconnaissance or support – this could be done in 2-3 years. This would provide the C4I, Maintenance, and Logistics that the SWATs lack and coordinate the 2 separate COIN forces as one Corps. This was suggested in 2008 but MoI resisted losing their Special Operations Forces and was going to administratively attach the SWAT Brigades as a fifth brigade in each Federal Police Division. However, the MoI has insufficient C4I, Logistics, and Maintenance for their own forces in the FP. It appears MoI’s failure to provide support to the ERBs has resulted in a return to the original plan of consolidating the Iraqi MoD/MoI Special Operations Forces into a separate service under the Minister of National Security. The third leg of the Troika finally is forming.
This absorption of the ERBs is also inferred by the plan for at least a battalion per province – that is right out of the ERB/FP basing plan and not ISOF’s regional approach to garrisoning. While the addition of the 17,000+ ERB personnel to ISOF’s 10-12,000 existing personnel does not reach 30-40,000 total personnel – it does provide for the additional commandos and recon personnel needed, the remainder of the expansion would be support elements.
The reason that ISOF could absorb the Emergency Response Battalions as commandos without a reduction in quality of troops is based on the similarities in training. The personnel for MoI’s 30-42 ERBs* were selected by taking the 98+ Battalions of provincial Emergency Response Units [SWAT] and running them through a 3 month Selection Course based on ISOF’s Operator Selection Course. The top 50% of the graduates of the MoI Selection Course went to the National ERBs. In ISOF, the top 50% of OSC are also accepted except they are further broken down into:
- 91-100 percentiles go to ICTF,
- 71-90 percentiles to Commandos, and
- 51-70 percentiles to support such as Recon or Security.
[*30 ERBs identified in open source reporting out of a planned target of 42 battalions. 17,000+ personnel indicate they have approximately 34 ERBs.]
It would normally take 3-4 years to fill a third ICTF Battalion since there will need to be a new selection from the new personnel but, they can immediately form three 70% strength ICTF Battalions out of the 2 existing ICTF Battalions and fill those battalions to 100% with personnel from the SWATs that pass OSC over the next 3-4 years. Normally only ~3 percent of initial volunteers graduate into the top 10% of OSC and thus into ICTF. However, these ERB/SWAT personnel have already been through the MoI version of OSC and made the top 50% - Indicating that 10-20 percent of MoI’s 17,000 ERB personnel could be absorbed into the ICTF Battalions. This could mean the eventual target strength of 1 ICTF Battalion per Commando Brigade is intended vice the currently estimated 1 ICTF Battalion per Division. Until then the existing ERBs can be quickly sorted, reorganized and used in Commando, Recon, and Security Battalions. Additional support personnel will be required.
This expansion also puts a new light on IMoD’s Indonesian shopping trip last fall. Their interest in the Anoa Armored Personnel Carrier did not fit with IMoD’s focus – it is more the type of APC that COIN units would use. Planning for the new Commando Divisions would have been in progress a year ago if the actual order to execute was this year. This would not be the first indication of wheeled APCs being added to ISOF. In 2009 training of ISOF maintenance personnel on BTR80s was reported but the BTR80s never transferred. This could mean that the Commando Battalions are to be partially or wholly wheeled APC mounted like the old IA’s Commandos were. Traditionally, Iraqi Commandos are mounted light infantry…
Commando Division Organization and Support elements
The above illustration and organization listed in the ISF OOB is based on the number of personnel and battalions being added, the stated distribution of battalions and with a modified IA Infantry Division Organizational structure as listed in Appendix B. The modification to the standard Divisional TOE was to strip out the field artillery, mortar, ADA, AT and other battalions that ISOF does not use and does not require for its roles and missions while adding an AAC Aviation Brigade to support each Division.
The support structure reflects existing ISOF C4I, Logistics, Maintenance, and Training structures expanded to Corps size. Of the Iraqi Security Forces, ISOF has the best support structure while MoI’s ERBs have one of the worst support structures. Expanding the support structure as part of this reorganization will be the greatest difficulties faced.
One thing to remember concerning these administrative structures: In practice SOF troops rarely operate above Company strength detachments – most operations are squad or platoon strength. All Corps and Divisional Troops will normally operate in detachments supporting or augmenting the Commando Battalions. This is especially true of the ICTF Battalions and the ISOF AAC Air support - Both of those elements regularly operate in small detachments where and when needed. Effectively, the ISOF organization above battalion is administrative and support as SOF normally conducts small unit light infantry operations…
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during August 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 August 2013.
Possible Foreign Material Sales to Iraq announced this month included:
Iraq has requested a possible sale of 19 Mobile Troposcatter Radio Systems, 10 Mobile Microwave Radio Systems, spare and repair parts, support equipment, [etc].
Iraq has also requested a possible sale of
- 40 AVENGER Fire Units,
- 681 STINGER Reprogrammable Micro-Processor (RMP) Block I 92H Missiles,
- 13 AN/MPQ-64F1 SENTINEL Radars,
- 7 AN/YSQ-184D Forward Area Air Defense Command, Control, and Intelligence (FAAD C2I) Systems,
- 75 AN/VRC-92E SINCGARS Radios,
- 3 HAWK XXI Batteries (6 Fire Units) which include
- 6 Battery Fire Direction Centers,
- 6 High Powered Illuminator Radars,
- 216 MIM-23P HAWK Tactical Missiles,
- 2 Mobile Battalion Operation Centers (BOC),
- 3 HAWK XXI BOC Air Defense Consoles (ADCs),
- 1DS/GS Shop 20,
- 1 DS/GS Shop 21,
- 1 Mini-Certified Round Assembly Facility (MCRAF),
- Air Command and Control (C2) systems and surveillance radars for the Integrated Air Defense Systems that includes TPS-77 Long-Range Radars (LRR) and Omnyx-I0 Air Command and Control System, and
- 10 Medium Range Radars. Also included:
- Ground Air Transmit Receive Ultra High Frequency/Very High Frequency radio capability, facilities and construction for one (1) underground Air Defense Operations Center and two (2) Air Defense Sector Operations Centers, [etc]
A Russian report of a planned delivery of 800 Kornet-E ATGW in Sep 2013 and 12 Pantsir S1 in Dec 2013 also appeared in August. No details on what version of launcher system or vehicle platform for these ATGWs.
The 14 August Khaima magazine mentioned that
“The Commander in Chief commanded the execution of the order for the volunteers special forces, and the latest ministerial decree on the forming of two divisions for special forces. An electronic site was opened for volunteers to register for both the special forces as well as the energy protection division. With regards to the 2 special forces divisions, a special request was sent out to soldiers, officers in the Iraqi army and from the old iraqi special forces to volunteer for the induction tests for the special force.”
This was followed by an interview with the ISOF commander where he discussed expanding to 30-40,000 personnel [from 10,000]. A Regiment [battalion] added per province except Baghdad will have 4 and Mosul/Basrah each will have 2 regiments added for 20-22 additional Regiments.
Further information indicated that 1st Commando Division will have its headquarters in Mosul, 2nd Commando Division in Baghdad, and 3rd Commando Division in Basrah. A possible 4th Division was also mentioned but does not fit the number of battalions or personnel mentioned and may be confusion with the Energy Protection Division.
Some thoughts on how this ISOF expansion might be done:
- This increase in ISOF could not be done in less than a decade using just retreads from the old IA and new recruits. ISOF’s existing training program only graduates 5 companies per year: 1 ICTF, 2 Cdo, and 2 Recon.
- The only high-end light infantry available to rapidly expand with is MoI’s SWAT Battalions. If the better half of the Ministry of Interior’s Emergency Response Battalions [SWAT] is being converted to ISOF Commando Battalions and the remaining half of the SWATs become Reconnaissance or support – this could be done in 2-3 years. This would provide the C4I and logistics that the SWATs lack and coordinate the 2 COIN forces as one corps.
- This absorption of the ERBs is inferred by the plan for at least a battalion per province – that is right out of MoI’s ERB/FP basing plan and not ISOF’s regional approach to garrisoning.
- While the addition of the 17,000+ ERB personnel to ISOF’s 10-12,000 existing personnel does not reach 30-40,000 total personnel – it does provide for the additional commandos and recon needed, the remainder would be support elements.
- It will take 3-4 years to fill a third ICTF Battalion. But, they can form three 75% strength ICTF Battalions out of the 2 existing ICTF Battalions and fill those out with personnel from the SWATs that pass their course over the next 3-4 years [Only ~3 percent make it into ICTF].
- This also puts a new light on IMoD’s Indonesian shopping trip last fall. Their interest in the Anoa APC did not fit with IMoD’s focus at the time – it is more the type of APC that SWAT or COIN units would use. Planning for the new Commando Divisions would have been in progress a year ago even if the actual order to execute was this year. This could mean that the Commando Battalions are to be wheeled APC mounted like the old IA’s Commandos were.
While the initial indications for the new Energy Protection Division was that it would be in Anbar, further comments might hint as to why it was announced with the new Commando Divisions.
Major General Hamid Abdullah Ibrahim, chief of energy police directorate stated that they have plans to follow and investigate the smuggling with Iraqi oil by the formation of oil patrol teams in Kirkuk, Basra, Anbar and Baghdad.
This could mean the new IA Energy Protection Division is to be an IA Quick Reaction Force supporting the Oil and Electricity Police with motorized brigades based in Kirkuk, Basra, Anbar and Baghdad. This force might be formed from personnel that do not make the cut to join the ISOF Commando Divisions.
[Possible structures for the Commando Divisions and the Energy Protection Division in the OOB are based on IA standard Divisional Structure with Artillery and other ancillary units not used by ISOF or a Security Division omitted. However, I did keep 1 Engineer Battalion per Division for route clearance support to the QRFs. IMoD, ISOF, and the IA might disagree with my projected structure. If they disagree – please make it public so I can update the OOB.]
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during July 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 July 2013. Key points include:
- Army: Shifting Army Divisions?; Division Artillery Commands; 5-year maintenance support for vehicles provided under US EDA; 50 CBR vehicles for a CBR Rgt; EDA Bulletin Board updated to May 2013.
- Aviation: Russian arms sale reporting still confused; Bell 412 SAR Helicopters for IqAF?; Hawk SAMs provided to Iraq via EDA FY13.
- Navy/Marines: 12th PB delivered.
- Interior: MoI SWAT over 17,000?; 2 FP Brigades identified; 6th attempt to fix the OPD?
- KRG: An Arab Brigade in the Kurdish Regional Guards?
It was reported on 23 July that “The independent MP, from Babil province, Iskandar Witwit said that the central government has a plan to transfer the Army eighth Division, based in Babil and the tenth Division, based in Maysan province to the western and Diyala provinces to control the security situation there.” There have been previous claims of plans to shift IA Divisions but they have not occurred due to political reasons. If those 2 divisions are transferred north, it would be to replace 2nd and 5th Divisions so they could upgrade/train as mechanized in the south. It is also possible that 14th Division could swap with 7th Division after the 14th has finished upgrading to facilitate the upgrade/training of 7th Division. Of note, 2 brigades of the 10th Mechanized Division and its Commando Battalion are already reported in the northern provinces. Additionally, a battalion of 14th Division [1-50/14] is reported in Ninawa Province. The 2-26/7 Battalion is also reported at Taji and being called Mech – indicating it is in upgrade training out of 7th Division’s area.
The 10 July Khaima reported on the Artillery Directorate carrying out “summer training” on US artillery guns. Training included firing of 32 shells by each gun, maneuvers and aiming, target acquisition, surveying and planning. The “comprehensive training” program included the following units:
- 2nd Division Artillery Command and 102nd Medium Artillery Battalion [155mm].
- 5th Division Artillery Command and 105th Medium Artillery Battalion [155mm].
- 12th Division Artillery Command and 112th Medium Artillery Battalion [155mm].
This is the first report of “Division Artillery Commands” which indicates the stand up of at least 3 Divisional Artillery Brigade Headquarters.
Iraq has requested a possible sale to provide for a five year follow-on maintenance support for the following vehicles:
- M88A1 Recovery Vehicle,
- M88A2 Hercules,
- M113 Family of Vehicles,
- M109A5 Howitzers,
- M198 Howitzers,
- M1070 Heavy Equipment Trailer and Truck (HETT),
- M977 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT),
- High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), and the
- Tactical Floating River Bridge System (TFRBS).
Effectively every piece of ground combat/support equipment provided through US EDA since 2008 is covered under this proposed contract.
Iraq has requested a possible sale of:
- 50 M1135 Stryker Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicles,
- DECON 3000 Decontamination Systems,
- M26 Commercial Joint Service Transportable Decontamination Systems (JSTDS),
- AN/VRC-89 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems (SINCGARS) with Global Positioning System (GPS),
- AN/VRC-90 SINCGARS with GPS, M40A1 Protective Masks,
- Lightweight Personal Chemical Detectors LCD-3,
- Portable Chemical Warfare Agent Detectors GID-3,
- MultiRAE PLUS Gas Detectors,
- AN/VDR-2 Radiac Sets,
- M256 Chemical Agent Detector Kits,
- Decontamination Kits,
- Chemical Biological Mask Canisters,
- M8 Chemical Paper Agent Detector Kits, etc
While the Iraqi Army was reported starting to stand up Chemical Defense Regiments [Battalions] 2 years ago, this is the first serious CBR defense buy since 2003.
The US Excess Defense Articles Bulletin Board was updated from early FY2011 to May 2013. In FY2011 a large amount of computer gear and 9 Armored Vehicle Launch Bridges was added to the already reported OH-58 spares and ribbon bridges. For FY2012, the following items were provided to Iraq: [FY13 is listed under Aviation.]
- 51 Z Backscatter Vans [interesting],
- 57 Armored Suburbans [2 entries for 48 and 9],
- 173 Armored Utility Trucks,
- 99 Uparmored Volvo Semi Tractors,
- 336 Mercedes 384 Armored Semi Tractors.
Reporting on the Russian arms deal remains confused with a report of 30 Mi-28NE, plus an U/I number of Mig-29M/M2 and KA52s. [At this point, I will not believe any numbers or types until the equipment shows up in Iraq. The reported numbers and types are all over the place.]
Iraq has requested a possible sale of 12 Bell 412 EP helicopters equipped with Star SAFIRE III EO/IR systems, PT6T-3DF engines, KDM-706 Distance Measuring Equipment, KNR 634 VOR/LOC with MB/HSI, MST67A Transponder, Artex C406-1HM Emergency Locator Transmitter, Wulfsberg FlexComm II C5000 System with Synthesized Guard, KTR-908 Very High Frequency Radios, NAT AA-95 Audio System, 660 Weather Radar, AAI Radome, Night Vision Imaging System (NVIS) Compatible Cockpit Lighting, SX-16 Nightsun, spare and repair parts, etc. “This equipment will provide the Iraqi Air Force with a search and rescue capability critical to developing a mature Air Force.”
[Not Army Air Corps – IqAF. In 2010 it was mentioned that IqAF Search and Rescue helicopters were to be collocated at the F16 bases. This fits for 4 detachments of 3 helicopters for the 4 planned F16 Bases at Balad, Al Asad, Q-West, and Tallil.]
The report of HAWK SAMs for Iraq was confirmed when the US EDA Bulletin Board updated to May 2013. Listed under FY13 is what appears to be equipment for 4 ADA Batteries and a Spares/Training Battery.
- 16 XM304 Hawk Transporter-Launchers;
- 3 M192 Hawk Towed Launcher;
- 7 AN/MPQ-61 High-powered Illumination Radars;
- 8 AN/MSW-19 Platoon Command Posts;
- 3 M501E3 Loader/Transporter;
- 2 Hawk Loader;
- 11 M501L1 Hawk Loader;
- 26 M1E2 Missile loading and storage pallets;
- 21 MTM-23 Hawk Training Missiles;
- 225 MIM-23E Hawk Missiles.
Ministry of Interior
MoI’s SWAT is claimed to "...exceeds 17,000" in a demand to disband Emergency Response Brigades [the MoI’s Special Operations Force]. If correct, this indicates a minimum of 8 Brigades formed – probably more like 10. MoI has been absorbing the better half of the provincial SWAT battalions by running them through MoI’s SWAT training and accepting the better 50% in each unit into the National ERBs. An estimated 14 Brigades are planned – they are intended to be administratively the fifth brigade in each Federal Police Division. Operationally these forces answer directly to the National Operational Center.
The 10 July Khaima mentioned an operation involving 2 previously unreported Federal Police forces operating in Ninawa: The Al Jazira Brigade and the Tal Afar Defense Force had not been previously reported. The Federal Police continue to retrain and absorb the Emergency Police but, have not reported forming any new Divisions despite having nationalized enough brigades for 8 FP Divisions. 14 FP Divisions are projected based on the combined size of the FP/EP [Not including KRG].
The 17 July Khaima reported on a new program to “reform the battalions of the oil police to make them effective in their role of protecting the assets.” This would be the sixth attempt to fix the Oil Police since their formation. Apparently the 10th Mechanized Division’s Commando Battalion is coordinating with the Oil Police while deployed to Bayji and may be involved in retraining and improving the logistical support for the Oil Police.
Kurdish Regional Guards
It is rare that a KRG Brigade is identified and located in the press: “The Brayati Brigade is camping near the Zab sub-district, located 105 kilometers to the southwest of Kirkuk, as the Kurdistan Ministry of Peshmarga has formed the brigade from the Arabs of the area.” An Arab Brigade in the Kurdish Regional Guards?
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during June 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 June 2013. Key points include:
- Final SIGIR Report – collapse of ISF Logistics/Maintenance after US withdrawal; F-16s to deliver at 2 per month starting September; M1A1s/M2s/AH64/IADS all in works; ISF capabilities.
- Airborne Brigade Mutiny?
- Ground/Air Brigade TF deployed to JO/SY tri-border.
- Air Defense Command.
- Russian Attack helicopter sale.
The last Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction report was released on 30 April and included several key items in an interview with the Chief of the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq on pages 8-10:
- "That’s right. When the U.S. forces left, no one was left to provide the fuel. The U.S. forces were the ones who made sure the generators operated. They were the ones who made sure that the systems were operating. They were the ones looking over the shoulders of Iraqis to make sure they knew what buttons on the computer to press to make sure the parts were ordered. When we left, it all crumbled, and the institutional base of the Iraqi Security Forces started crumbling too—because the U.S. forces had been holding it up." [If Iraq can’t get its logistics/maintenance house in order then it will fail. All the toys in the world mean nothing if they do not work or do not have fuel and ammo. I've been hearing stories of M1A1s imobilized due to maintenance for months now.]
- "The two F-16 cases are designed to bring 18 aircraft each, with the first delivery of two planes scheduled for September 2014. Two will arrive every month thereafter, completing delivery by the end of 2015. Iraq would like them all today. They have given me a letter requesting acceleration, but they understand that we are accelerating as fast as we can. We were in the process of building the airbase infrastructure at al-Assad, and then they switched to Balad. That slowed things down. The F-16 cases, from a production standpoint, are on track. Pilot training is on track. We had some hiccups on pilot training—a couple of guys washed out—but we’re on track now."
- “ The tank case involved the purchase of 140 M1A1 Abrams at just under a billion. They want to buy another 175 at about $1.2 billion. [5 more Tank Regiments at 35/Rgt.]
- “The C130J case is halfway complete, with three delivered and three more to come, at a cost of less than a billion.” [Last 3 have delivered since 30 April.]
- “The Integrated Air Defense System case is under development and could cost about $2.3 billion, but it will require congressional notification (meaning the Congress could veto it).“ [A US IADS to go with the Russian IADS? Integration of both countries’ systems will be difficult.]
- “Also under development is a $3 billion case to purchase 24 Apache helicopters. Iraq is getting six delivered in about nine months, under a lease arrangement, to use until the full Apache case is completed. That case also involves congressional notification.” [1 Squadron with first deliveries 9 months from 30 April - 30 January 2014. No public release of Congressional Notification noted to date.]
- “They want 250 Bradley Fighting Vehicles at a cost of about $800 million, and the case is under development.” [ICV component for an Armor Division under IA structure. 5 Mech Battalions (180) and 7 Mech Companies (70) for the 7 Tank Regiments.]
- “Iraq also wants UAVs (drones), but it is also dependent on congressional notification.”
- “On the naval front, we have delivered 11 patrol boats, will deliver 1 more this year, are working contracts for 3 more, and have already delivered 2 OSVs (large transport ships)."
- “The Navy is capable of providing some degree of defense against threats to the offshore oil-delivery platforms (such as al-Basrah Oil Terminal).”
- “The Iraqi Army’s Aviation is a very capable organization, and they are getting better, principally through the purchase of the IA-407 light attack helicopter and the instruction and training that is a part of that case.”
- “The Iraqi Air Force is improving daily. They remain on track for receipt of their first F-16s at Balad in September 2014. And this year they received three C130J aircraft and recently flew a nighttime operational mission to Damascus, repatriating the 50-some slain Syrians who were killed in the Anbar ambush a couple of weeks ago. It was a tough mission under combat conditions, and they did well. They are flying limited RC-208 ISR imagery intelligence missions, yet their targeting and intelligence collection and analysis, other than human intelligence, remains rudimentary at best.”
- “The Iraq Air Defense is a good professional force with good leadership, yet other than the two U.S.-provided radars and the three air-traffic-control radars; their defense capability is limited to Saddam-era Russian cannon artillery. The integrated-air-defense-system case with us is near offer, but currently held up by congressional notification procedures.”
- “The Counter Terrorism Service is probably the most effective element in the Iraqi Security Forces for countering the one threat that is its most existential, and that is al-Qaeda terrorist affiliates. The dilemma is that the Counter Terrorism Service is not part of the Ministry of Defense (MOD); thus, OSC-I needs special authorities to provide it with training and equipment. We have received that authority for FY 2013 in the National Defense Authorization Act, and will need to request it each year. The governing U.S. laws are the Arms Export Control Act and the Foreign Assistance Act, but unfortunately they were designed for security cooperation during the Cold War, rather than threats that exist within today’s security environments. So OSC-I finds itself in a Catch-22 dilemma of trying to provide support for the most effective organization fighting the existential threats against the government out here in Iraq."
- "What about the Iraqi Army? They have one division that deals with external threats. The other divisions are all employed against interior threats. There are not a lot of external threats right now, other than what’s spilling across from Syria. Iraq’s chief objective, thus, is to defeat internal threats, and most of their ground forces are inside cities trying to deal with them. Now, that creates a dilemma for a number of reasons. One is you have central government forces working in provincial government jurisdictions, where they are competing not only with the provincial government but also with another ministry, the Ministry of Interior (MOI), which has jurisdiction over Iraq’s police forces."
- "Iraq just went to Russia and, according to open sources, preliminarily signed a $4.2 billion arms purchase agreement for air and air defense (MIG-35s and SA-22s). Strategically, this is an important message for all of their partners—that they are going to remain autonomous and independent and not going to be tied to any one particular strategic partner."
According to Iraqi Press: “More than half of an Iraqi Army brigade stationed in the heart of Iraq's disputed territories has defected and could be incorporated into the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region's Peshmerga security forces. Beginning in early May, the 16th Brigade, which is based in Tuz Khurmatu, began defying direct orders to leave that volatile town, and also refused to accept an Iraqi Army decision to replace its Kurdish commander with a Shiite Arab.”[This is the Iraqi Army's only reported Airborne Brigade. Originally raised as the 3-4 Brigade in Sulaymaniyah, this brigade participated in the Baghdad surge before being relocated to the Tuz district of Salahadin.]
Iraqi Press reports that a combined ground/air brigade Task Force of 4 battalions/squadrons deployed to the Syrian/Jordanian/Iraqi tri-border region. An Iraqi official said "This is intended to secure the elections" in Nineveh and Anbar on 20 June.
According to the 19 June Khaima magazine:
- The Air Defense Command can detect any aircraft entering Iraqi Airspace. [Yeah Rrrrriiiiiggggghhhhhttttt. Read further for where this is contradicted in the same article.]
- The ADC is one of the pillars of the Iraqi Armed forces, multiple sources of supply in weapons will be sought and no reliance on a single supplier will happen.
- The ADC is not simply about SAMs and AAA, its early warning, command and control and effective communications and decision making methods. We have inspected many advanced air defense systems in Russia, USA, Korea and France.
- Iraq now has [only] 2 early warning radars in Baghdad and Nassiriya and a third one under construction in Kirkuk. We are constructing an air defense system to rival that of the advanced nations and neighboring states. However right now we only have early warning radars and some AAA batteries. [AAA means anti-aircraft artillery – guns. They do not have full coverage of Iraqi airspace with only 2 functional sites.]
- The AAA batteries and the 1st Unguided Air Defense Battalion have been used to defend religious processions, the Arab League summit in Baghdad and Baghdad International Airport as well as a number of strategic locations around Baghdad. We aim to build a complete air defense system with SAMs, aircraft interceptors and modern AAA. [First identified ADA Battalion.]
Reporting of the Russian Attack Helicopter sale has gone from confusion to total confusion. On 17 June, it was reported that Russia had contracted to supply Iraq with Ka-52 helicopters. This was initially believed to be confusion with the Azerbaijan sale. Reporting on 21 June confirmed that both Ka-52s and Mi28NEs are being acquired from Russia. Reporting from 26 June indicated that the first Mi-28s and Pantsir-S1s (SA22s) were to arrive this month. Then on 28 June, it was reported that over 10 fully armed and equipped Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopters were delivering to Iraq.
What does all this mean?
- This is too soon to be new built aircraft and SAM systems delivering - Which means these systems are being provided from existing used stocks or from cancelled arms deals to other nations.
- For some crazy reason, Iraq has decided to buy 2 differing attack helicopter types [Ka-52/Mi-28] from the same country thus confusing its failed logistics even further. Buying differing systems from separate countries can be justified to prevent any 1 country’s embargo crippling you but 2 different attack helicopter types from the same country at the same time as you are buying another from the US [AH-64]?
- Then there is the mention of MiG-35 or MiG-29 buys. MiG-35 is a modernized export version of the MiG-29 but, few countries have been buying MiGs since the attempt to rip-off Algeria by selling used MiG-29s as new.
For my US readers – Happy 237th Independence Day and 150th Anniversary of Gettysburg.
For my Commonwealth and Southern readers - My commensurations.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during May 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 May 2013. Key points include:
- 2nd IA Division Mechanizing; Sorting out Operational Commands; 8th Mech Division moving HQ.
- Funding authorized for F16 buy; Last 3 C130Js delivered; New squadron for the An-32s?; Mi-171 crashed; 24 IA-407s delivered; ADC developments; MiGs?; Army Aviation College-new Sqs ID’d; ROK TA50 competition stalling L159 deal?; Russian deal funded and implementing.
- 2nd FP Division being replaced in Baghdad by 4th FP Division and moving to Mosul?
- Speculation on Operational Commands.
The 8 May Khaima mentioned a visit to “the 2nd Battalion, 7th Mechanized Infantry Brigade in Al Baaj area of south-western Ninawa. This is the second Brigade of 2nd IA Division reported to be Mech [6/2 is the other] and this is normally an area between 3rd and 7th IA Divisions on the Syrian border. Apparently, 2nd IA Division is shifting from Mosul to the Syrian border while mechanizing.
The 14 May Khaima discussed is the cooperation between the Jazira Operations Command and Anbar Operations Command along their borders where terrorists cross the two adjacent areas and into Syria. Ninawa OC and Anbar OC are internally focused while Jazira OC is externally focused on the borders with Syria in Anbar and Ninawa. JOC may be a precursor to an IA Corps command while NiOC/AOC may be retained as MoI/FP Task Force/Corps commands.
The 8th Mechanized Division HQ may be moving to Babil province.
Aviation and Air Defense
Funding for the F16 buy has been confirmed available by GoI.
The last 3 of the 6 ordered C130Js has been confirmed delivered to Iraq.
A new Squadron for An-32s has been established. What happened to original 3rd Squadron?
An AAC helo crashed in Wasit. Photos indicate it was a Mi-171.
The 30 March Khaima mentioned the following:
- Air Defense Batteries opened in Baghdad.
- Air Defense Batteries opened in Salahadin.
- Southern Air Defense operations command opened in Dhi Qar.
- Air Defense Technical College opened at Taji.
- Early Warning Battalions opened (visual observers).
- Site surveying in Karbala and Najaf for future air defense radars and systems.
- The rest of the regions of Iraq will also be covered by air defense systems soon.
The 8 May Khaima mentioned the following:
- The Air Force receives three C130J-30 aircraft completing the contract for 6 aircraft. (Confirmation.)
- The Air Defense Technical College inaugurates its first Surface to Air Missile course.
- Full page interview with commander of the Air force. "From the plane of Hafdhi Aziz which first flew over the skies of Iraq in April 1931 to the MiGs or F16s that will fly over our skies by the middle of next year, Defense of Iraq's sky has once again fallen to the Iraqi pilots". (MiGs being bought?)
- The F16 pilots are training in the US and will return in September 2014 to begin flying the F16s over Iraq's skies.
- First F16s will arrive in September 2014 and final aircraft delivered in 2017.
- Now there are 6 Iraqi pilots flying F16s in the US and one is already a professional. More pilots are on the way.
The 14 May Khaima had a full page article on the Army Aviation College:
- So far 63 students have graduated.
- Because it’s now an Army Aviation College as opposed to a flight school as it was in the past, it issues its graduates with Bachelor’s Degrees.
- Recruits are high school graduates with a minimum of 65% grades, after physical and academic testing about 20% are chosen to attend the college. They spend the first year at the Military College (general military). In the past the second year was spent doing basic flight training at the Air Force Academy, but this has now been cancelled and pilots undergo basic training at Taji (part of the Army Aviation Academy) without going to the Air Force Academy. The third stage consists of both theoretical and flying courses. The pilot must achieve 120-140 hours. This flight training is in Habbaniyah.
- The flying instructors have visited aviation schools in the US, Italy, Australia to observe the training methods there.
- The college has 5 training squadrons: 200 Squadron – basic flight training (60 hours Bell 206); 300 Squadron (OH58) – basic flight training. 16 Squadron – advanced flight training (60 flight hours Mi17); 500 Squadron – advanced flight training (UH-1); and 95 Squadron – fixed wing training.
- Student starts with 60 hours on 200 Squadron, then another 60 hours on 16 Squadron before moving to the operational squadrons.
- 95th fixed wing Squadron will become active when the aircraft are received in the future.
The Czech deal is still in negotiations. Aero Vodochody continues to negotiate with the Iraqi government over the potential sale of 28 L-159 light attack and training aircraft. Senior management has stated that talks with the Iraqi government have stalled due to fierce competition faced by the L-159 from the Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) TA-50 Golden Eagle.
Russia has started fulfilling its recent arms exports contract with Iraq after receiving an advance payment from Baghdad, Russian Technologies (Rostech) CEO Sergei Chemezov said. “The contract is being implemented, the production [of ordered equipment] has started,” Chemezov told RIA Novosti on Thursday. No details as to when delivering and the numbers and types of equipment continue to be all over the place: 28-42 Mi28NE, 42-50 Pantsir S1, 6 Mi35, and now MiG-29s have been mentioned in this buy.
Iraqi Ministry of Interior
The 8 May Khaima included an article on the IGFC commander visiting NiOC. The meeting was attended by the commanders of 2nd and 3rd Federal Police Divisions. 2nd FP Division is Baghdad based – this could mean 2nd FP Division is moving to Ninawa and replacing 2nd IA Division. On 20 May an Iraqi press report referred to a "4th Police Area" in West Baghdad. This area is normally a 2nd FP Division area - this could mean the 4th FP Division is taking replacing 2nd FP Division in west Baghdad. The 1-5/4 FP Battalion has been reported in Bayaa District of Baghdad – 5/4 FP Brigade was previously identified as Maysan Province based.
Speculation on Operational Commands
The ISF is reorganizing its de facto Corps-level commands. Some of the older commands have been eliminated while others have been retained. The 4 new Operational Commands have several things in common that indicate they are future IA Corps:
- Not named for province or city – these are regional commands. Tigris, Jazira, Rafidain, and Furat Awsat.
- Focus is on External security vice Internal security.
- 2-3 IA Divisions in each area – factoring in the planned IA division moves: 3 IA Divisions each.
The retained older Operational Commands are all focused on internal security and appear to have 2 division-equivalents each of Emergency and Federal Police. Ninawa, Anbar, Samarra, Maysan, and Basrah could each be becoming Police Task Forces/Corps. [Keep in mind that they command more police than just the 2 paramilitary divisions in their areas.]
Baghdad Operational Command and its subordinate Rusafa and Karkh Area Commands could also be splitting as the Federal Police take the lead in the cities. BOC could be becoming the IA Central Reserve while RAC/KAC becomes Police Task Forces/Corps.
A similar split is appearing in the Kurdish Region. KRG’s Task Force Police has been established with 2 divisions of paramilitary police. Hamirin and an unidentified Operational Command have been reported forming with each commanding 3 divisional equivalents of Regional Guards Brigades.
If this is the plan, then the ISF appears to be splitting into 4-5 IA 3 division Corps and 6-7 Police 2 division Task Forces plus the KRGs 2 Corps and a Police Task Force. Reorganization and re-tasking is in progress – this may be what is planned.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during April 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 April 2013. Key points include:
- IA salvaging vehicles; Artillery Training Brigade confirmed; Crew swapping M1A1s?
- Last 3 C-130Js delivered; Second batch of 18 F-16s contracted; Russian Arms Deal reporting still confused; Kut Army Air Base soon to be mission capable.
- Dhi Qar Police Special Operations Regiment reported.
The 10 April Khaima Magazine had a full page article about the mechanical and electrical engineers beginning the 6th campaign to refurbish military equipment for the army. The article included pictures of BMP1 IFVs and Type 69-II tanks being refurbished. Equipment reported in the current batch included 16 T55 tanks, 10 BMP1 IFVs, 10 MTLB APCs, and 12 MRLs that were brought from a scrap yard in Mosul. There are multiple lines in the Taji Joint Factory that deal with separate vehicles including T72s, HMMWVs, BMP1, MTLB, M113, M109, BTR4, M1A1, and BTR80. 33 maintenance sheds have been rehabilitated to increase the repair capacity of the Taji facility.
Taji Base Factory may be expanding.
The 24 April Khaima Magazine reported on the Director of Artillery visit to the 2nd Medium Artillery Battalion, which is one of the artillery battalions of the Artillery (Training) Brigade based at the Artillery Directorate. Also observed was the Counter Battery Battalion (MRL) carrying out a live fire exercise.
First confirmation of the IGFC Artillery Brigade actually being the Artillery Directorate’s Training Brigade.
Also reported was the visit of the Commander of the 9th Armored Division to the 35th Armored Brigade in Rustimiyah where he inspected the new tank shelters, repair yard and training grounds. The troops of the 35th are also undergoing training on the Abrams tanks at Besmaya. The higher state of readiness for the 35th Brigade is in anticipation of deployment in support of Dijla [Tigris] Operations Command to relieve the 36th Armor Brigade.
While 35/9 Brigade has had previous training on M1A1s in 2012, this brigade has never been equipped with M1A1s. The brigade has 1 battalion of T72s while the 2-35/9 Battalion’s T-72s were transferred to another division. What appears to be happening here is a crew swap situation with the 36/9 Armored Brigade’s M1A1s being left in the field for the 35/9 Brigade to man.
Aviation and Air Defense
In late April, the last 3 C-130J’s for the IqAF were turned over and began their flight to Iraq.
Independent reporting indicated these 3 aircraft refueled at Shannon, Ireland on 1 May.
The contract for the second order of F-16 fighters was finally announced on 30 April. This brings the signed contracts for fighters to 36 F-16s with none delivered.
The first 4 F-16s are to deliver by 2014 with 36 delivered by 2017. Factoring in training time after delivery, these 2 squadrons will not be combat effective until 2015 and 2017. Even then, the CoS of the IqAF considers 96 fighters to be the minimum needed to provide a basic air defense. This indicates Iraq will not have an effective air defense until 2024-2027, given current rate of purchases and training.
Reporting on the Russian Arms deal is still confusing with numbers being all over the place. What is agreed is 40-50 Pantsir-S1 SHORADs and 24-40 Mi-28NE Attack Helicopters plus maybe 6 Mi-35 Attack Helicopters. Just as a sampling of the reporting:
- On 1 April, Baghdad and Moscow have agreed to renew an arms deal worth $4.2 billion that was put on ice in 2012 amid corruption allegations. Russia reportedly agreed to send four extra assault helicopters as part of the renegotiations. Russia agreed to supply Iraq with 48 Pantsir-S1 short-to-medium-range air defense systems and 28 Mil Mi-28NE strike helicopters, among other arms. The first batch of arms under the contract is expected to be delivered shortly after the agreement is signed later this year. Iraq is reportedly seeking to purchase other advanced Russian hardware, including Mikoyan Mig-29 fighter jets.
- Another report on the same day said that 40 Mi-28NE were being provided vice original order of 36.
- On 18 April, The Russian military equipment exporter Rosoboronexport, the state corporation incoming Rostekhnadzor, put into Iraq has six Mi-35 helicopters for $ 256 million in addition to defense contracts for $ 4.2 billion, according to Reuters, a source close to Rosoboronexport. The representative of Rosoboronexport declined to comment. The authorities of Russia and Iraq agreed to supply arms to the amount of $ 4.2 billion, including 36 helicopters Mi-28, in October last year. In November, the Iraqi government refused to contract on suspicion of corruption, but then supplies were resumed. New contract for 6 cars for $ 217 million ($ 256 million with ammunition) for delivery in October 2013 was signed during a visit to Iraq, the head of Rostekhnadzor Chemezov together with the head of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, on Tuesday, the source said. "In the sphere of military-technical cooperation with Russia in Iraq is now being implemented contracts totaling $ 4.2 billion, mainly on the supply of Russian helicopters," - said in a statement Rostekhnadzor reported on Wednesday. The report also says the plans localization service support equipment supplied as part of the strategy for the development of Rostekhnadzor global aftermarket. "There are other prospects in the area, which are currently being considered by the parties at the expert level," - said in a statement. With the Iraqi authorities also discussed the expansion of contracts for the supply of military equipment to $ 8 billion from the current $ 4 billion, but no final agreement, the source said.
The Pantsir-S1 is still a rip-off. Its missile command guidance is very susceptible to comms jamming equipment owned by every neighboring country – which reduces it to a very expensive 30mm gun system against any opponent. There is good reason why every Western Country dropped Radio Command Guidance for terminal phase 4 decades ago. Iraq is about to become the largest owner of this junk. Iraqi ADC plans for 7-12 batteries based on 4-6 weapons per battery.
Depending on how many Mi-28NEs are to be delivered – 1 or 2 squadrons are to be formed. If the Mi-35 report is correct, those helicopters could be used as conversion trainers similar to how the 6 SA342s are used for training future EC635 aircrew.
All articles agree with deliveries starting this summer which means the Russians are selling already built equipment – either undeliverable/cancelled Libyan/Syrian sales or used Russian inventory.
The 24 April Khaima reported on a visit by the Commander of the Army Aviation Command to Kut Air Base to inspect the progress in the preparation of the airbase life support facilities and HQs of the squadrons. Also visiting the base were heads of the Special Forces and the military intelligence.
Previous reporting on Kut indicated it was to house a Mi-17 Squadron and was a downlink point for IqAF reconnaissance aircraft. Contracts for completion of infrastructure indicate completion planned this summer.
Iraqi Ministry of Interior
A report published by Iraqi MoI’s website referred to a “Special Operations Regiment in Dhi Qar Police.”
This is the first indication of expanding MoI National Emergency Response Battalions in Dhi Qar.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during March 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 March 2013. Key points include:
- SIPRI Arms Register updated - Bulgarian MTLB deal confirmed; Indications of planned additional M1A1 buys; Wasit confirmed in RaOC; Number of armor vehicles provided to 8th Division; IA received more T-72s from unknown source?; More evidence of 4th Division training to be Airborne; JOC HQ reported standing up in Sinjar.
- SIPRI Arms Register updated – Numbers of Ingwe and Stingers listed; Russian deal resumes – numbers of Mi-28NE Attack Helicopters and Pantsir SAMs still in question; Diverse air and air defense shopping/training by Iraq.
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has updated their arms register as of the end of 2012. The below list is declared exports to Iraq with deliveries noted where made as of 31 December 2012 [All previously reported – only new data is numbers of R-2 ATGW and confirmation of Bulgarian MTLB APC export deal.]:
- USA: 140 M-1A1 Abrams Tank (140 delivered) Ex-US M-1A1 rebuilt to M-1A1AIM version; option on 140 more.
- USA: 6 M-1A1 Abrams Tank Ex-US M-1A1 rebuilt to M-1A1AIM version.
- USA: 8 M-88A2 HERCULES ARV; delivery 2014.
- Bulgaria: 500 MT-LB APC; Ex-Bulgarian; modernized before delivery.
- Ukraine: 270 BTR-4 IFV (60 delivered); delivery probably 2011-2014.
- Ukraine: 2700 R-2 Anti-tank missile; (795 delivered) For BTR-4E IFV.
- Ukraine: 150 BTR-4K APC (28 delivered); incl BTR-4K and BTR-4KSh command post, ambulance and BREM-4 ARV version; delivery probably 2011-2014.
- USA: 834 M-113 APC (834 delivered) Ex-US; M-113A2 version; modernized before delivery; incl command post, mortar-carrier, ambulance and other versions.
- USA: 9 Cougar APC (9 delivered) ILAV version.
- USA: 120 M-198 155mm Towed gun (120 delivered) Ex-US; aid.
- USA: 565 K-6 120mm Mortar; (565 delivered) M-120 version.
Given that 2nd Division received the existing Iraqi MTLBs  and 14th Division has received "Armor training" while all other armor has been accounted for, the Bulgarian MTLBs probably are planned as the APC component for mechanizing those 2 divisions.
The 27 February Khaima had a full page article about the graduation of the 12th batch of M1A1SA "foundation course" students. This is the 12th and final course for the 9th Armored Division. The number of trainees were 47 from the 3rd Company, 5-36/9 Armored Battalion. The training lasted for 3 months with 590 total trainees in the entire program - 140 tanks and 12 tank companies as well as 36 tank recovery vehicles. The next stage is the training of a "training cadre" for the Abrams tanks for the future which will include 40 trainees to be trained as trainers.
This indicates plans for additional M1A1 buys.
The 6 March Khaima had an interview with the Commander of the 8th Division General Hasen Mohammed Mahus. Key items mentioned included that: The change from Infantry to Mechanized Infantry increases the war fighting capability of the unit for external defense purposes especially since our border areas are good geographically for mechanized units to operate in. We have been provided with 470 armored vehicles by the armor directorate of various types, all of these were imported from the US. The troops are undergoing training at Besmaya for their conversion. Wasit province has been moved from the Central Euphrates Command to the Rafidain Command which has reduced the geographical area that the unit has to cover.
This confirms the transfer of Wasit to RaOC. The 470 armored vehicles includes more than just M113 APCs and is the same amount of armor provided to 10th Division when it was mechanized. Both divisions are still short or do not have tanks.
The 13 March Khaima reported on the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces visit to the Transport and Logistics Command. They discussed the standing up of the fire fighting units and improvements to the capability of the fuel delivery units. Iraq now has enough tank transporters to meet its logistical needs. Each unit of the Transport and Logistics Command consists of a Fuel Truck Battalion, Truck Battalion, Tank Transport Battalion and a Fire Fighting Unit.
This indicates that the Taji General Transport Regiment has been expanded to a Transport Brigade and that the Corps-level support will include a National Depot [Brigade] and a Transport Brigade.
Additionally, the 1-35/9 Armored Battalion at Rustumiya received its T72 tanks.
Where are the additional T-72s from? There have been no reports of additional buys of T-72s by Iraq. Nine IA battalions have been reported training on T-72s and 5 have been reported equipped but, only 4 battalions worth of T-72s are known to be in the IA’s possession…
The 20 March Khaima reported that the Rapid Reaction Battalion of the 4th Division completed training on airborne operations in cooperation with Army Aviation Command.
4th Division has been expected to be the IA’s airborne force due to its extensive airmobile experience and reported paratroop training. This also probably means the division is probably planning to relocate in or adjacent to New Al Muthanna AB [BIAP] – home of the IqAF Transport Wing.
The new Jazeera Operational Command HQ is reported to be establishing at Rabiyah in the Sinjar District of Ninawa.
Aviation and Air Defense
Mar20: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has updated their arms register as of the end of 2012. The below list is declared exports to Iraq with deliveries noted where made as of 31 December 2012 [all previously reported – only new data is the numbers of Ingwe ATGW and Stinger SAMs being provided]:
- USA: 18 F-16C Block-50/52 FGA aircraft; F-16C Block-52 or F-16IQ version; incl 6 F-16D; delivery from 2014.
- USA: 20 AAQ-33 Sniper Aircraft EO system; delivery by 2015.
- USA: 4 DB-110 Aircraft recce system; for use on F-16 combat aircraft; delivery probably by 2018.
- USA: 4 AN/APG-68 Combat ac radar AN/APG-68(V)9 version; spares for F-16 combat aircraft.
- USA: 18 F-16C Block-50/52 FGA aircraft F-16C Block-52 or F-16IQ version; delivery 2018; selected but contract possibly not yet signed.
- Czech Republic: 24 L-159B Trainer/combat ac; delivery possibly from 2015.
- Czech Republic 4 L-159B Trainer/combat ac; Ex-Czech; delivery 2013.
- USA: 24 F-124 Turbofan for 24 L-159B trainer/combat aircraft from Czech Republic.
- Ukraine: 6 An-32/Cline Transport aircraft; (6 delivered) An-32B version.
- USA: 6 C-130J-30 Hercules Transport aircraft (3 delivered); delivery 2012-2013.
- Germany (FRG): 24 EC-135/EC-635 Light helicopter; (24 delivered); armed EC-635 version; ordered via France.
- South Africa: 300 Ingwe Anti-tank missile; (300 delivered) For EC-635 helicopters.
- USA: 24 Bell-407 Light helicopter (15 Armed version delivered); option on 26 more; delivery 2012-2013.
- USA: 1 AN/TPS-77 Air search radar; designation uncertain.
- USA: 8 Avenger Mobile SAM system; 'ISFF' aid; selected but contract probably not yet signed.
- USA: 200 FIM-92 Stinger Portable SAM for Avenger SAM systems.
The Russian deal was not in the SIPRI database since it was suspended prior to the end of 2012. However: “As far as the signed contracts go that deal with the acquisition of weapons in Russia, they have not been cancelled. However, we have not started executing them yet. When will the first supply commence? As soon as the financial issue is resolved. I believe that the first shipments of weapons from Russia to Iraq will start before the summer, as the latest term. What kind of equipment will it be? Military aircraft were discussed. No, we are not talking about aircraft so far. It will be helicopters of a specific kind and missile defense batteries.”
- Deal is for 28-40 Mi-28NE Attack Helicopters and 42-50 Pantsir S1 SAM systems.
- Deal is for 4.2 billion dollars which is more than the worth of the highest numbers of systems reported.
- 4 additional Mi-28NEs were added to replace the initial kickback corruption in the original deal.
- Now that the renewed deal is signed, deliveries are to start this summer.
The 27 March Khaima points to more diverse air and air defense weapons shopping and training:
- Commander of the Air Defense Command meets with the representatives of French companies at the HQ of the ADC. They discussed the plans for building the Iraqi ADC and the fact finding trips by the technical committees of the ADC to observe the testing of new air defense systems in Europe. The French stated their willingness to train and equip the ADC with French weapons.
- Commander of the Air Force meets with US, Chinese and Pakistani defense representatives.
- US rep, General Martin: discussed training courses.
- Pakistani rep, Mohammed Rashed: discussed training courses in Pakistan for Iraqi officers / pilots.
- Chinese rep head of CATIC: The manufacturer of the JF17 fighter, k8 trainer and UAVs. Iraqi AF commander indicated that they are prepared to test and evaluate aircraft that CATIC offers to Iraq.
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has updated their arms register as of the end of 2012. The below list is declared exports to Iraq with deliveries noted where made as of 31 December 2012 [all previously reported]:
- USA: 9 Swiftships-35 Patrol craft (9 delivered).
- USA: 3 Swiftships-35 Patrol craft (3 delivered); option on 3 more.
- USA: 2 AMP-137 OPV (2 delivered).
Iraqi Ministry of Interior
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has updated their arms register as of the end of 2012. The below list is declared exports to Iraq with deliveries noted where made as of 31 December 2012 [previously reported]:
- USA: 80 ASV-150/M-1117 APC (60 delivered); including 8 command post versions; delivery 2011-2013. [Federal Police]
The consolidation of Operational Commands point toward 7 total ISF Corps in Wartime [5 Frontal/2 Reserve] being the basis of the Wartime Army structure. Additionally, Kurdish elements are not being integrated – instead the KRG is building its own 2 corps army structure. [ISF planned Wartime Structure appears to reflect late Iran-Iraq War Corps/Army Structure.]
The primary external focus is towards Iran. Jordan, Turkey, and the GCC are only a threat if they have US support and Iraq cannot win a war with the US. The reduction of Joint Corps opposite Syria is a reflection of Syria’s reduced conventional threat and the likelihood of the future Syrian Government not being allied with Iran. Iran becomes the biggest regional threat by default – Iran’s 48 divisions on mobilization, 7 of them mech/armor, is the 800 pound gorilla next door.
Forward defense is Iraq’s only real option. Too many key areas are close to the Iranian border. However, Iraq does not currently have the force to successfully defend Iraq against a conventional invasion. While the ISF is training and re-equipping for external security – it is at least a decade from being ready. Iran could occupy Iraq in less than 3 weeks at this point.
As depicted on the map, the forward defense planned by the Iraqi Security Forces utilizes the Total Mobilization Concept. The Department of Border Enforcement provides the forward screen with a mix of Iraqi Federal Police, Emergency Police, and Kurdish Regional Guards providing the primary infantry line. The Iraqi Army provides the heavy reserve.
The Iraqi Army plans to add significant armor to its force so that it’s mechanized and armor divisions [plus select IA motorized and airmobile] can operate as corps/army/strategic reserve to react to any enemy breakthrough. Supporting those reserve IA divisions will be Army Aviation Brigades paired with the Iraqi Special Operations Force Brigades as part of the quick reaction forces.
However, all of these forces are not ready for external defense. Most divisions would be only a speed-bump to the Iranian forces at this point. To put it into perspective, the 3-phase Iraqi Ministry of Defense plan is:
- Tactical Independence (2006-2010) – Internal security, effectively done.
- Operational Independence (2011-2015) – Will not meet the schedule. The IA needs to be out of internal security operations by then and the FP will not be ready to take over in time. Also, the FP needs to train and equip for its secondary role as infantry in external defense.
- Strategic Independence (2016-2020) – Will not meet the schedule. This requires a functional and credible air defense, at least 6 fully equipped heavy IA divisions, and the FP trained/equipped for its secondary role of external security. The first fighter squadron will not be operational until 2015-2016 and Iraq needs a minimum of 5 squadrons to provide a minimum air defense. Iraqi officers are talking 2024-2027 for completion of this plan.
The ISF is developing but, budget issues and politics continues to delay many key components. The planned upgrade schedules have slid to 2017-2018 for Phase 2 [Operational Independence] and 2024-2027 for Phase 3 [Strategic Independence].
ISF OOB [Updated monthly]
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during February 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 28 February 2013.
- Arms deals delayed due to Parliament fight over budget.
- Fourth batch of BTR-4s accepted.
- More French and US helicopters?; AAC re-designates 3 squadrons.
- New ISOF Battalion forming?
- 2 PBs delivered; IqN/IqM Brigade organizations; Diver School.
- OPD Brigade forming in Kirkuk.
The Czech and Russian Deals remain suspended. While reporting claims they are “failed” deals, official reporting from Iraqi, Czech, and Russian Governments call them delayed or suspended due to the Iraqi Budget fight in Parliament. The Czech deal is for 28 L159 Jet Trainers and an Iraqi refit facility for T72s. The Russian negotiations covered seven weapons systems [Mi17v5, Mi28NE, BMP-3E, SU-30MK2, MiG29M2, Pantsir and TOR-M2] but, Russian reporting indicates only the contracts for 30 Mi28 Attack Helicopters and 42 Pantsir S1 Short Range SAMs are actually signed and that they can start delivering from existing stocks when payment is received.
On 7 February, representatives of IMoD and Ukrspecexport signed the document confirming the acceptance of another batch of BTR-4 armored personnel carriers. This batch consists of 40 vehicles. Reporting is that this delivery makes over 200 delivered out of 420 contracted. While most reporting refers to this as the third delivery – it is actually the fourth. The third delivery of 94 BTR-4 variants was in December and went largely unreported. A total of 222 vehicles have been accepted in 4 batches – 26, 62, 94, and now the accepted 40 more. These BTR-4 variants are being used to mechanize the 5th Mechanized Division.
A team from Eurocopter visited the Army Aviation Command where they discussed existing and future contracts. This indicates that the AAC is planning to exercise the options for additional French helicopters.
The AAC has renumbered some of its squadrons. The 200th Training Squadron at Habbaniyah operates the Bell 206s. The 300th Training Squadron at Habbaniyah operates the OH-58s. 22nd Squadron at Habbaniyah now has no helicopters but in few months will operate ARH407s. Effectively the AAC is establishing an Aviation Training Brigade at Habbaniyah’s AAC College and standing up a second Armed Reconnaissance Squadron. This indicates the option for more ARH407s is also being exercised.
Iraqi Special Operations Force
A “Special Operations Unit" has been reported operating in Maysan. This is the first report of an ISOF element operating in RaOC. While this may be just a detachment from 6th Regional Commando Battalion [Basrah], it could also be the beginning of a dedicated RCB for RaOC.
The 10th and 11th Swiftship PBs delivered. The 12th and last in the current contract is to deliver later this year. There are options for 6 more.
According to the 6 February Khaima the 1st Naval Brigade has been formed:
- 1st Patrol Squadron with Swiftship PBs.
- 2nd Patrol Squadron consisting of the 4 Saettia Patrol Ships.
- 3rd Patrol Squadron which consists of the Iraqi made Al Fao PBs used to send troops to the offshore oil terminals.
- 4th Transport and Logistics Squadron consists of the 2 OSVs and AOR.
- 5th Patrol Squadron with the Chinese made Predator PBs by the naval infantry to board vessels.
The 1st Naval Infantry Brigade has three battalions:
- 1st Marine Battalion defends the Basra and Amaya offshore terminals, including protection of vessels and boarding of ships.
- 2nd Marine Battalion defends all the shore port facilities as well as Umm Qasr and Khor al Zubair towns in collaboration with the other security forces.
- 3rd Marine Battalion acts as a mobile defense placing checkpoints along the roads between Umm Qasr and Khor al Zubair as well as protection for Haj visitors during their journey from Basra to Saudi Arabia.
The numbering of these brigades plus the additional elements, expanding responsibilities [New Al Fao Port] and excess bases indicate additional Naval and Marine Brigades are to be formed.
The 13 February Khaima reported on Navy run courses for divers that will be repeated annually at the Marine School. This supports the Frogman Squadron which is expected to expand to battalion strength.
Ministry of Interior
A Sahwa brigade is to be formed into an Oil Police Brigade in Kirkuk under the command of the Tigris Operational Command.
The Iraqi Security Forces are still a work in progress. While they are capable of internal security, the ISF is not capable of a successful external defense against any neighbors. Iraqi Ministry of Defense (IMoD) continues to officially claim they will meet the 2020 target date for completing external defense upgrades but, unofficial IMoD estimates are 2024-2027.
Joint Command Structure: Most of the various ISF Services and service headquarters do not direct the combat forces in the field. The Operational and Area Commands fill the role of Joint Army/Corps commands operating under the National Operations Command. These headquarters are mostly complete except for a proposed merger of Ninawa and Anbar Operational Commands into Jazeera Operational Command. All subordinate units to these Joint Operational and Area Commands are trained, equipped, and provided by the service component commands.
Iraqi Army (IA) Ground Forces: The IA is in the process of converting to external defense. While all Battalions and Brigades are structurally complete – most combat Battalions/Brigades are planned to convert. The IA has only 10 Tank Regiments [Battalions] of the 61 needed to fill out the planned 3 Armor and 8 Mechanized Divisions. Discounting the light APCs, the IA has 35 of 71 planned Mechanized Battalions. At Division-level the IA is still missing 50 percent of its planned artillery and Engineers plus their logistics support units. Division Anti-Tank elements are planned but not formed. The IA Corps-level combat support units and augment units to the FP for external defense have only started forming [Artillery, Mortars, Anti-Aircraft, Anti-Tank, etc].
Air Defense Command (ADC): The IA ADC was only established in 2011. At this point ADC only has 2 of 4 planned Sector Operations Centers operational, no surface to air missiles, and has only started fielding salvaged anti-aircraft guns. Iraq has no real air defense.
Army Air Corps (AAC): The AAC is the rotary-wing force supporting the ground forces. The AAC is currently composed of 10 Squadrons of a planned 23-24. Only 1 Combat Aviation Brigade has been reported of 7 planned. Each Combat Aviation Brigade is to have 1 Scout, 1 Attack, and 1 Transport Squadron. The AAC College at Habbaniyah includes an Aviation Training Brigade(-).
Iraqi Air Force (IqAF): The IqAF is still in its infancy - Only 7 of 24-25 Squadrons planned. Effectively the IqAF is a training, transport, and reconnaissance force with little to no air defense or ground attack capability. Over the next 2 years the IA is expected to add a Jet Training Squadron and a Fighter Squadron with another Fighter squadron to follow 2 years later. A minimum of 5 Fighter Squadrons are required for the air defense of Iraq – which means the IqAF is 10-12 years from having a minimum air defense at this rate of fighter purchases.
Iraqi Navy/Marines (IqN/IqM): The Iraqi Navy and Marines is organized into a Naval Brigade and a Marine Brigade with signs of additional Naval and Marine Brigades being formed. Probable planned end force is a Naval Division and a Marine Division.
Iraqi General Depot Command (IGDC): The IGDC provides the Army-/Corps-level logistic support to the Operational Forces and trains/equips the divisional/brigade level IA logistics brigades/battalions. 4 of 6 planned National Depots [Corps Sustainment Brigades] are formed or forming. [The seventh is provided by the FP.] At the Army-Level the Taji Joint Base Factory Complex [2 Brigades] provides the Maintenance support – might expand further.
Iraqi Training and Doctrine Command (ITDC): ITDC is structurally complete. Provides training from Basic to Advanced.
Counter Terrorism Service (CTS): The CTS is the parent service for the Iraqi Special Operations Force. Normally ISOF is under NOC and has dedicated AAC aviation support from the 32nd Aviation Brigade. ISOF would provide Commando Brigades to the Corps in wartime for recon and airmobile special operations support. 8-9 of 21 planned combat Battalions are operational – 2 of 7 planned Combat Brigades.
Federal Police (FP): The FP is absorbing the province paramilitary Emergency Police and reorganizing into 14 Divisions each with 4 FP and 1 administratively attached Emergency Response Brigade. ERBs are normally under direct command of NOC while the FP Divisions are under the Operational and Area Commands. While enough EP Brigades have been “nationalized” to provide line forces for 6 FP Divisions, only 4 of 14 planned FP [Motorized Infantry] Divisions have been reported commissioned. [16 Divisions if the KRG Task Force Police were added.] Divisional Support Brigades are well under strength in the 4 existing FP Divisions. The FP also has enough elements to form 2 Security Divisions. The FP Sustainment Brigade provides the 7th Corps-level logistic support and the FP Divisions provide Infantry forces [augmented by IA FA, AAA, AT and support] in wartime. The IA provides the heavies and the FP provides the infantry line in the Frontal Corps during an external war.
Department of Border Enforcement (DBE): Even in peacetime, the DBE focus is on border security. Most DBE is static security operating out of border forts but there are some motorized and maritime forces. DBE Regions I, II, and IV are each divisional in strength while seriously short logistics support. Regions III and V are only a division in strength when combined. [Of note, Region I is under de facto control of the KRG.]
Oil Police Directorate (OPD) and Facilities Protection Service (FPS): Organized into 4 OPD and 3 FPS Divisions, these forces are static internal security forces and not under the Operational Commands. These services are unlikely to be used in external defense. Structure of these forces and current status has not been reported.
Kurdish Forces: Effectively an IA Frontal-Army equivalent force. Still in training and short armor compared to the IA, the Kurdish Regional Guard is a Mountain Infantry Army of 2 forming Corps – 5 active and 2 reserve Division-equivalents. [The only authorized reserve military in Iraq.] The 2 Task Force Police Divisions are equivalent to FP and were to become FP Divisions at one time – cadre elements received Carabiniere training at FP Schools in Baghdad. Iraqi DBE Region I is de facto under Kurdish Regional Government control. The KRG even operates its own Oil Police and Facilities Protection Service.
The ISF is a work in progress – at least 1, probably 2 decades from completion.
The problem with this update is that there are few confirmed reports of additional armor buys since the last update. Most of this update is extrapolation of what will be acquired and what may be contracted but has not been reported.
A factor that most overlook in analyzing the future IA is that they look at the IA in isolation. To analyze the planned IA force you have to look at all of the service components and their functions. The IA is just 1 of the services that provide ground forces in event of an external war:
- The Iraq Army provides the heavy armor/mechanized, airborne/airmobile, and fire-support forces. Currently the IA is 14 divisions of which 3 are designated mechanized and 1 is designated armor despite being 12 tank regiments short. 11 divisions have tracked armor/mechanized battalions indicating plans to become heavy and 1 division has elements designated airborne and airmobile. These forces and ISOF would be the attack/counterattack forces in an external fight.
- The Department of Border Enforcement provides the fortified forward infantry screen. The DBE is 5 regions [divisions] however, I Region is de facto Kurdish Region controlled and V Region [Saudi Border] is grossly under strength. Effectively 3 infantry divisions minus artillery. Static defense.
- The Federal Police provide infantry forces in wartime. While the FP is only 4 divisions now – the FP is absorbing the provincial Emergency Police. Building to 13-14 infantry divisions. Defensive forces.
- The Iraqi Marines are responsible for the defense of the Al Fao peninsula and coastal/port defense. While only 2 brigades now – probably growing to an infantry division. Defensive amphibious force.
- The Counter Terrorism Service [ISOF] is the Special Operations Component. Only 2 reinforced brigades now but, probably growing to 7 brigades – 1 per corps. High-end reconnaissance and airmobile counterattack force.
The extra infantry components from the Ministry of Interior mean that the IA will be eventually be skewed towards armor/mechanized forces. This will not happen fast. Current estimates are 2024-2027 before the services reach their planned strengths.
Where are the Tanks?
The IA only has 10 tank regiments – the tank complement of only 2 mechanized divisions. Yet they have designated 1 armor and 3 mechanized divisions officially and have 2 more divisions mechanizing. Mechanized divisions are planned to have 5 tank regiments each while armor divisions are planned to have 7 tank regiments each. 5 of the existing tank regiments are in the 9th “Armor” Division – 2 tank regiments short of plan. 12th Infantry Division has 2 tank regiments. 2nd Motorized Division, 10th Mechanized Division, and 14th Motorized [mechanizing] Division have 1 tank regiment each. This means they are short a minimum of 22 tank regiments [770 tanks] just to fill the existing 1 armor, 3 mechanized, and 2 mechanizing divisions at this time. 3 of the existing tank regiments are currently in divisions not mechanizing indicating a minimum of 8 divisions to be armor or mech. Apparent priority order is:
- 9th Armor Division – short 2 tank regiments.
- 8th, 10th, and 5th Mechanized Divisions – short 14 tank regiments.
- 14th and 7th Divisions [mechanizing] – short 10 mechanized battalions and 9 tank regiments. 4 mechanized battalions converting.
- 6th, 12th, 2th, 3th, and 11th Divisions – only a division’s worth of tracked armor plus 2 divisions’s worth of light wheeled APCs between them. 3 tank regiments and 9 mechanized battalions plus 26 battalions equipped with light APCs.
- 1st, 4th, and 17th Divisions show no indications of plans to upgrade to armor or mech. 4th Division appears to be converting to airmobile/airborne.
The lowest estimate of tanks needed based on 3 armor and 6 mechanized divisions is 51 tank regiments [1,785 tanks]. The highest estimate of tanks needed based on 5 armor and 6 mechanized divisions is 65 tank regiments [2,275]. The probable current plan is for 3 armor and 8 mechanized divisions requiring 61 tank regiments [2,135]. The IA has fewer than 350 tanks yet only 6 more tanks are on order [M1A1s]. Where are the other tanks? Where are they coming from? When?
- The Iraqis have turned down Russian T90s - Just like the Russian Army did. T90s were originally designated T72Bu – T72 upgraded. The limited upgrades are not worth the higher price.
- Iraq has contracted with Czech Republic for T72 upgrade facilities – not necessary for the 4 under strength T72 tank regiments existing which indicates large numbers of T72s are planned but, there are no reports of further T72 acquisitions. Probable sources include Czech, Ukraine, and Poland.
- The 6 additional M1A1s being acquired from the US are not enough to equip a company but, indicate a continued interest in more M1A1s.
- While interest has apparently waned, Iraq still has an option for 350 Hellenic Army M60A3s [10 Regiments – tank component of 2 Mechanized Divisions].
Indications of planned tanks and reported contracts are conflicting. Iraqi policy is to acquire key equipment from more than 1 country to prevent any 1 country from crippling them by cutting of spare parts supplies. Which means the probable planned mix of tanks are T72M4, M1A1 and possibly M60A3. The problem is that only 6 M1A1 tanks are reported in acquisition which indicates significant tank deliveries are probably not going to happen anytime soon. However, at least 8 IA battalions have been reported training on “tanks” including T72s which indicates a minimum of 280 tanks planned to deliver in the next 2 years. The reported training and absence of significant tank acquisition reporting are not in sync.
More Armored Personnel Carriers?
Iraqi Ministry of Defense tends to prioritize equipment acquisitions by types. APCs have had the priority. If you count the light APCs [DZIK3/Otokar], the IA has enough APCs for the 11 planned mechanized and armor divisions. However, reporting indicates the IA plans to replace the light APCs and transfer them to infantry divisions, the Federal Police, and the Directorate of Border Enforcement, plus Iraq has been donating light APCs to other countries for use in counter-insurgency. This indicates at least 1,000 APCs are to be acquired in addition to the delivered and delivering [BTR4] APCs. This number could easily double if the 2 infantry divisions are converted to heavier APC equipped motorized.
Iraq turned down buying BMP4s from Russia and is denying buying 500 MTLBs from Bulgaria. It is also possible that they are trying to acquire more M113s from US EDA. They are shopping but, no confirmed acquisitions. If the IA was only planning on 7 or less heavy divisions – they would not require additional tracked APCs.
While self-propelled mortars, howitzers, and MRLs are not essential, they can use towed – they are more effective for supporting mechanized and armor forces. The IA has only 3 battalions of M1064 SP Mortars, 3 battalions of M109 SP Howitzers and has been adding 107mm MRL launchers to MTLBs for fire support. The IA is only 50 percent in divisional artillery. Each IA division is to have 72 120mm mortars and 72 howitzers/MRLs plus the IA has started forming mortar and howitzer/MRL battalions for FP/DBE fire support and Corps’ Field Artillery Brigades. An additional ~1,100 120mm mortars and ~2,100 howitzers/MRLs are required to fill out the planned force. Of those missing mortars and howitzers/MRLs and based on 11 IA heavy divisions and 7 Joint Corps - approximately 700 each of self-propelled mortars and howitzers/MRLs could be planned.
The IA tends to buy specialist vehicles last in priority. Planned numbers of command, engineering, chemical defense, recon, and support vehicles are not clear in reporting. What is clear is the numbers are insufficient for current force structure let alone what is planned.
While it has been reported that the IA plans to form an anti-tank guided weapon battalion – there are no reports of equipment or organization. The BTR4s that are being bought are being fielded in mechanized battalions vice the previously reported anti-tank/recon/commando role.
The IA is still a work in progress as it converts to its external defense role. Many components are not built…
Related: Iraq Order of Battle
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during January 2013. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 January 2013.
- IA Divisional Artillery at 50%; ATGW Bns to be added to divisions; NiOC and AOC may be merged; 4-5 of the 7 Joint Corps [Operational Commands] have Sustainment Brigades formed or forming; 5th Mechanized Division getting BTR4s; Corps-level artillery starting to form; indications of additional T72s acquire; Weapons continue to be salvaged.
- Funding for F16s; Possible purchase of AH-1Z/UH-1Y; Kut AB completing support structure; 3 ARH407 delivered.
- New Naval Infantry Brigade established?; Stromboli class AOR to deliver from Egypt.
IMod published an extended version of the weekly Khaima Magazine for New Years. Significant items concerning the Iraqi Army include:
- The army consists of 14 divisions and is now complete in terms of organizational structure. [This confirms no fifteenth division commissioned despite press reports to contrary.]
- The training plans for 2012 were not fulfilled due to the situation along the Syrian border which meant that units meant to train-retrain were instead deployed. The aim is to have one brigade per division in training.
- Three divisions were upgrade from infantry to mechanized in this year [5th, 8th, and 10th]. [IMoD’s definition of mech is different than mine – I also list 7th and 14th Divisions. By either definition they are short at least 16 tank regiments – 560 tanks.]
- The 9th Division was upgraded from mechanized to armored division this year.
- Every division equipped with artillery battalions and just in the last weeks 10 battalions finished their training on the US 155mm artillery. All units now have both heavy artillery battalions as well as light artillery 120mm [mortars]. [This means 2 of the 4 planned field artillery regiments per division have been commissioned. Note that the additional US howitzers have not been mentioned by DSCA.]
- All the divisions now have their support structures including logistics and central maintenance factory [Maintenance Battalion], as well as combat engineers and mechanical & electrical engineers.
- Introducing anti-tank missile battalions, since we are a defensive nation nowadays.
- IMoD studying the possibility of establishing the "Jazira Command" to control the desert / border areas with Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria as it’s a very specialized area which needs to synergize the logistics and intelligence sharing. They envisage adding the border guard units to this command. [Rumored plan to merge Anbar and Ninawa Operational Commands confirmed.]
- IMoD envisages arming the police and national police with equipment similar to the army in future. The plan is to hand over internal security completely to the interior ministry soon. With potential for the army to intervene in internal security only in emergencies in future, and for the interior ministry to support the defense ministry in external crises vice versa. [As the IA upgrades – older IA equipment will be handed down to MoI.]
- Tigris Operations Command was created out of the old Diyala Operations Command and includes the 4th Infantry, 5th Mechanized, and 12th Infantry Divisions as well as the Diyala, Salahudin, and Kirkuk police departments. The corps has put together a "support" brigade. [This is the fourth corps-level support/sustainment brigade reported formed – 5 if the Federal Police Sustainment Brigade is included. Two more are probably planned or forming at Tallil and Shaibah.]
- The 5th Division is being equipped with BTR4s which are armed with 30mm cannon and a missile system. 1 battalion has finished training and the second battalion is training on the BTR4s. 62 vehicles have been assigned so far. [Either the 5th Mechanized Division is to be light mechanized or only 70% of the BTR4s purchased are to go to 5th. Either way – the BTR4s are not going to the Commandos as was once planned.]
- Every infantry brigade has a 120mm mortar battery.
- Every operations command was also equipped with mortars of various origins. [Beginnings of Corps-level artillery units.]
- From salvaged equipment the following units were established: 5 artillery battalions of 152mm, 130mm and 122mm guns. 1 rocket battalion of 122mm artillery rockets. 1 rocket battalion of light 107mm rockets.
- Every division now has a 155mm artillery battalion (either towed or self propelled) - 3 self propelled and 10 towed.
- Kirkush middle field factory for the repair and maintenance of various classes of vehicles. The unit repairs and overhauls vehicles as well as sends out repair and recovery teams in support of the 5th Mechanized Division. The unit is part of the mechanical and electrical engineers directorate of the army. The factory also repaired 105mm guns (Tank or howitzer?) and has began using the IDN maintenance/part management system which is now used across the defense ministry. [Part of the Corps-level Support Brigade for TOC. Only 105mm guns reported are old pack howitzers or the option for 350 M60A3s from the Hellenic Army.]
Khaima Magazine from 16 January included the following items concerning the IA:
- The 35th Brigade has organized training for tank crews on the T72 which has recently entered service with the 1st armored battalion. [There are at least 2 T72 Tank Regiments more than reported numbers of T72s in the IA support – which suggests additional T72s have been acquired, possibly from Czech.]
- The mechanical and electrical engineer’s corps exhibition of the results of the fifth salvage campaign. 290 pieces of armor, artillery, rocket launchers, mortars, anti-aircraft guns were salvaged in this 5th campaign. 18x 57mm S60 guns. 7x HUMVEE fitted with 107mm MRL. 3x personnel carriers fitted with dual cannons. 14x twin cannons fitted to Silverado trucks. 14x DshK machine guns. 24x 60mm mortars. 12x ASP8 recoilless rifles. 100x RPG7. 45x assorted vehicles abandoned on former US bases. 6x light recovery vehicles. 2x heavy recovery vehicles. 2x 122mm BM21 launchers 2x HUMVEES for troop exhibitions salvaged MTLBs from scrap and fitted with 107mm rockets in early 2013, an additional 12 BM21s will be completed more salvage campaigns will continue in 2013 these salvage campaigns not only provide low cost equipment for temporary use for the army, but also help rebuild the technical cadres of the engineers and their experiences. The guns have new barrels and the vehicles new engines and electrics the weapons are as new, but cost much less than buying new equipment.
- In an interview with commander of the 18/5 Mechanized Brigade the following items were mentioned: It is an important brigade in Diyala tasked with the rapid interdiction of terrorists. 18/5 Brigade consists of 4 mechanized battalions spread over the roads from baquba to kan'an and baladruz as well as the area reaching to the border with Baghdad operations command. 1st battalion completed their training on BTR4s and the second battalion is now undergoing training at Besmaya.
The Ministry of Finance approved loans to the Ministry of Defense in the amount of 1.8 billion dollars to cover the costs of buying F-16 planes to be paid from the budget of the Ministry of Defense for the year 2013.
"Iraq is looking at a possible purchase of 24 AH-1Z helicopters for the Iraqi Army and 6-8 UH-1Y Maritime Utility helicopters for its Navy."
Kut Air Base (Army Aviation Command) will complete its life support components and refurbishments before the end of 2013 including construction and commissioning of warehouses for parts for aircraft and specialized vehicles, as well as fuel storage facilities. VIP areas for officers were also completed, and these are considered the best halls within the army aviation command.
IMod published an extended version of the weekly Khaima Magazine for New Years. Significant items concerning Iraqi Aviation include:
- Army aviation received 3 ARH407 helicopters from the US aboard a USAF C130, along with spare parts and equipment. This was confirmed by US Army press release as the sixth batch delivered. [2-3 per batch.]
- Training on F16s continues in the US and 2 pilots will soon finish their training. Facilities for the F16s are being built up rapidly on the airbases.
- They are nearing a deal to buy VIP transports for the head of state and prime minister.
- Air Defence Command Southern Operations Command active.
- The ADC infrastructure is being rebuilt completely from scratch. The committee for purchasing new air defense equipment looked at Russian, French, American, Chinese and Korean air defense systems. The ADC aims to buy from many countries an ADC system to cover Iraq's airspace at all altitudes as well as a modern command and control system.
IMod published an extended version of the weekly Khaima Magazine for New Years. Significant items concerning the Iraqi Navy include:
- In 2012 a ship repair facility was commissioned.
- New boats were received (OSVs and patrol boats).
- Advanced Simulators for naval training were commissioned.
- Naval Infantry Brigade established. [Second IqM Brigade?]
- Iraq will also receive the naval support ship in Egypt which has been refitted (Stromboli class AOR).
- The ministry of industry and minerals supplied the navy with three Fao class patrol boats which are operational.
This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during December 2012. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 December 2012. Highlights in this update include:
- 5th Mechanized Division receiving BTR4s.
- 3 C130Js received; Press conference with IMoD provides some details on Russian Deal; Iraqi Air Defense Command.
- 2 OSVs delivered to Basrah.
The 12 December edition of Khaima magazine reported on the 5th Mechanized Division. This was the first time the 5th was called Mechanized. The 18/5 Mechanized Brigade is to receive its BTR4s soon. 1-18/5 Mechanized Battalion has completed training on BTR4s and the 2-18/5 Mechanized Battalion is now undergoing BTR4 training. The division is converting to 1 armored brigade [20/5] and 3 mechanized brigades [18/5, 19/5, and 21/5]. The 20/5 Brigade has 1 armored battalion currently in training. The source of the 175 tanks needed to equip the 5th Mechanized Division has not been identified. [35 tanks per battalion/5 battalions.] The 5th Mechanized Division was trained on M113s but is apparently being equipped BTR4s instead.
Iraq accepted 3 C130Js in Baghdad on 17 December. The remaining 3 C130Js on order are to be delivered during 2013.
The 12 December edition of Khaima magazine reported on the Defense Minister meeting with journalists to discuss the Russian Deal:
- ADC has been contracted by the army to fit 23mm and 14.5mm cannons to 4x4 vehicles for convoy protection duties.
- The Russian deal included two types of aircraft, neither of which the Russians had exported before. One of these is the Mi28NE.
- The air defense system also has not been exported by Russia and is used only by the Russian military.
- 4 different systems that Iraq proposed to the Russians and the Russians have yet to approve their sale to Iraq until a country-country agreement is made due to strategic nature of these weapons.
- Iraq was supposed to receive the weapons from Russia from 14th June 2013 but now the deliveries have been delayed due to the political outburst and the new purchasing committee.
The 26 December edition of Khaima magazine reported on the receipt of 3x C130J medium lift cargo aircraft and the Air Defense Command [ADC]. The ADC was activated on 8 December 2011 consisting of 16 officers and 24 enlisted personnel and one civilian. In this one year ADC has setup early warning radars, early warning spotters, some air defense artillery batteries, early warning center in the south, and the Central Air Defense Command in Baghdad. In addition there have been two campaigns to salvage old equipment from the previous army. The 2013 budget has allocated a very large amount of capital for re equipping the ADC. The early warning system now covers 90 percent of Iraq's air space. Iraq is buying air defense missile systems and will not rely on a single source of supply for them. Only Kirkuk, Taji, Tallil, & Basrah SOCs/ASOC are displayed in the photos accompanying the article.
On 20 December, 2 Offshore Support Vessels [OSV] were delivered. The 26 December edition of Khaima magazine included a full page article on these new OSVs. The OSV crews were trained in the US for 3 months. The OSVs will support patrol boats in their tasks as well as having a secondary diver launch capability.