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Iraqi Security Force Update July 2012


Brigade OOB as of 30 June 2012 


This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during June 2012.  The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 30 June 2012.   Highlights in this update include:  

  • 20 Peshmerga Infantry Brigades planned in 2016.
  • IA Corps forming?; 500 used MTLB “Armored Vehicles” being bought from Bulgaria; Second Batch of BTR4s accepted;  Vehicles and artillery salvaged.
  • Radars for first 18 F16 ordered to be delivered by March 2015; AT-6Bs still possible and Air Defense Command split from IqAF;  10th batch of EC635s received;  IA Air Defense Command.
  • Iraqi Navy opened new facility.
  • DBE III Region expanding?;   New police brigade for Salahadin?; MoI does not have paratroops.




"The unification process for the Ministry of Peshmerga began late, in 2010. Today, the Ministry in Erbil serves as the single headquarters for the newly reorganized Peshmerga forces of the Kurdistan Region.  There are currently 12 unified infantry battalions [Brigades], each with approximately 3,000 Peshmerga fighters, as well as special forces battalions [2 Brigades], heavy weapons battalions [2 Mech Brigades], headquarters and Ministry staff, and other support units, for a total force of approximately 120,000 soldiers.   The goal of the Ministry over the next five years is to grow the number of infantry battalions [Brigades]  from 12 to 20, with a total of 90,000 active duty soldiers and 30,000 reserve forces. Significant political, financial, and resource issues remain in the way of this goal, however."

The existing field artillery [4 Brigades] will probably be distributed among the Infantry Brigades as Brigade Artillery Battalions.  The planned Peshmerga [Kurdish Regional Guards] force is equivalent to 4-5 Mountain Divisions and 2 Reserve Divisions although the reserve would likely be employed as replacement troops for the active force.




The Mid Euphrates Operational Command is now listed as "Furat Awsat Operation Forces Command."  Its described area encompasses what also included the Karbala Operational Command and the Wasit Operational Command.  With the reported moves of IA’s 11th Division to Wasit and 17th Division to Babil this will become a de facto IA Corps command.    The consolidation of commands could be the start of organizing the IA into 4 Corps and an IGFC Reserve if the existing Diyala, Samara, and Kirkuk Operational Commands are also consolidated and 7th Division moves as expected.  Anbar OC has already been referred to as a Police Command.

  • NiOC [Western Corps]:  1st, 2nd [heavy-?], & 3rd [heavy-?] Divisions.
  • DOC [Eastern Corps]:  4th, 5th Mech, & 12th [heavy-Armor?] Divisions.
  • FAOC [Central]:  8th [heavy-Armor?], 11th [heavy-Mech?], & 17th Divisions.
  • BaOC [South]:  7th Mech, 10th [heavy-Armor?], 14th [heavy-Mech?] Divisions.
  • BOC [IGFC Reserve]:  6th [heavy-Mech?] & 9th Armored Divisions.

In a wartime mobilization, each of the 4 Corps and Reserve would be joined by Ministry of Interior Paramilitary Motorized Infantry Divisions forming a total of 9 Corps.

The Kurdish Regional Guards is also a Wartime Reserve and would form 2 Corps from the KRG, Zerevani and DBE Region I.


The IA is buying 500 MTLBArmored Vehicles”.  This would be enough for 12 battalions of mech infantry if they are all Armored Personnel Carriers but all the direct quotes say “Armored Vehicles”.  A report from a Russian source known for its errors claims they are Armored Personnel Carriers and that:

The full scope of the upgrade was not unveiled but it is known that rubberized tracks will be installed as well as system designed by Bulgarian Politechnika firm which includes air-conditioner with auxiliary power unit that ensures comfort conditions for the crew in hot climate over a long period of time without giving additional load for the vehicle's main engine." 

The price being quoted is about twice the cost of a used MTLB APC and the addition of AC/APU indicates a specialist role(s) for the “Armored Vehicles”.  Air conditioning is not a normal addition for “crew comfort” – it is a necessity for electronics such as radios, radars, sensors, fire control systems, etc and is also required for medical supply storage. 

It is possible that the IA has decided that the reconnaissance [Commando] elements for their tracked forces needs to be tracked and is buying a mix of variants like the BTR4 purchase – this would be enough “Armored Vehicles” to equip 3 Division’s worth of Commandos [Cavalry/Recon] and provide the missing command/ambulance vehicles for the BMP1/T55/T72 Battalions. 

Alternatively these could be intended for the IA’s Air Defense Command – command, radar, and gun or SAM equipped vehicles. 

There are more possibilities and they are not mutually exclusive, it could be a mix.  The MTLB design lends itself to multiple roles; it started as an artillery tractor.  Of note, the IA already has more than 4 times as many tracked APCs as tanks and almost as many wheeled APCs as tracked.  Unless they are replacing some/all of the wheeled APCs [~1,100 Otocar/DZIK3] and giving them to MoI – they do not need more APCs, they need tanks, artillery, ATGWs, and an air defense.


IMoD did accept the second batch of BTR4 variants.    No reporting as to the numeric mix of types or when the next consignment will be ready. 

Iraqi Army announced the refurbishment of 230 "vehicles" and 100 artillery pieces (including medium and mortars) from old stocks, and shown off for the first time in Baghdad.  No details as to how many of what types was provided, however there appeared to be G45 155mm towed howitzers on display.




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


A published interview with the IqAF commander regarding future developments was in the last Bilady.  Apparently the IqAF is still interested in AT-6B for light attack, the Air Defense Command was spun-off from the IqAF in the last two years along with the Army Aviation Command, and C130Js will arrive in 2012 and join 23rd Squadron. 


The tenth batch of EC635s has been received.  These helicopters have been delivered in pairs indicating 20 of the 24 ordered have been delivered.  There is an option for 50 total.


Video of the new IA Air Defense Command showed/mentioned the existing operational Sector Operations Centers at Taji/Nasariyah and training of the first battalion of light anti-aircraft guns at Besmaya.  Each line [combat] battalion of the IA will require a section of 4-6 of these guns.  Limited reporting indicates Avenger ADA system is eventually intended for the Brigades’ ADA Companies and I-Hawk for the Divisional ADA Battalions.




The Iraqi Navy and Marine Corps has opened a facility at Khor al Zubair.  No details as to what based there.


Ministry of Interior


"1019 policemen have been graduated and will join the border guards in Wassit."  This is 2 battalions worth of border guards in a province last reported to have only 1 DBE Brigade.  Either they were seriously undermanned or DBE III Region [Diyala/Wasit] is expanding.  Possibly a new brigade is being added.


Ministry of "Interior Hires (2102) Security Personnel in Saladin".  Either a new Brigade is forming or replacements/augments are being added to Salahadin Province.


There is a mistranslated report of MoI Paratroops.  MoI does not have airborne.  They meant "paramilitary" as in Emergency Police or Federal Police.   


I'm looking for more data on the Bulgarian MTLB sale to Iraq. I've checked around and no military equips APCs with AC [and supporting APU] for "crew comfort". It is normally for electronics - which means speciallist vehicle type(s)...

DJ Elliott (07/03/2012 06:32:47)


Interesting developments on the aircraft front DJ. (I love the Photoshop job they did in Bilady BTW!) How likely do you think the U.S. would sell the "Desert Falcon" over the standard B50/52+ variant? Could the GoI really afford them and is it considered "too advanced" for the Iraqis or does the government not care about that anymore?

Trophy Wench (07/04/2012 10:25:33)


So long as UAE agrees, we will sell it. UAE funded Desert Falcon which is why they are the only ones flying it - they own those rights legally.

DJ Elliott (07/04/2012 03:14:23)


Well how about that? I did not know that about the UAE connection, I mean I know they fly them but I didn't know they own the rights to sell them. Well, Iraqi Desert Falcons might be more likely than I once thought...

Trophy Wench (07/04/2012 05:34:14)


I find it interesting that when the press originally reported the MTLB sale at end-May/Early-Jun, there was no comment. I sent IMoD and the Bulgarians RFIs with no response back then. Yet 3 days after I publish a monthly update there is a denial... ///// ///// I also wonder if the 15 IA Divs mentioned is an error or is there a new Div commisioned?

DJ Elliott (07/07/2012 10:43:26)

DJ Elliott