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Iraqi Security Force Update February 2013


Divisional OOB as of 31 January 2013


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.


Without IMoD's weekly Khaima Magazine, I would not have bothered to write an update - everything else has dried up.

DJ Elliott (02/04/2013 10:25:25)


Well we appreciate your efforts all the same DJ. (Especially for those of us who don't read Arabic.) As for the Bell helo talk, are the Zulus in lieu of the Havoc's should the deal fall through again or do they really want to field 2 diffrent attack helos?

Trophy_Wench (02/04/2013 11:45:21)


(Pulling a Colombo here) Just one more thing... You mentioned that Egypt was refurbishing an Italian AOR for them. Would that be this ship?:

Trophy_Wench (02/04/2013 11:52:29)


I suspect in addition - AH-1Z and UH-1Y are navalized helos. I'm betting on them being based at Shaibah as parts of the avn bde for BaOC - supporting both IA and IqN/IqM. /// Correct on the AOR - after 2 decades it will finally deliver...

DJ Elliott (02/05/2013 01:55:22)


PS The AH-1Z and UH-1Y have much comonality in parts as does the Mi-28 and Mi-171s...

DJ Elliott (02/05/2013 01:56:58)


good update as always DJ. Any idea why the DSCA is not updating all the info regarding exports to Iraq? even EDA data is not being updated... I thought it was a legal requirement to publish these details prior to sales...

sheytanelkebir (02/05/2013 03:46:10)


one more thing. Balad Air Base is confirmed as the main operating base for F16s.

sheytanelkebir (02/05/2013 03:49:37)


US Gov Classification guidance when dealing with other countries on arms sales is to follow their level of classification. Apparently GoI is classifying their arms purchases/EDA receipts. /// Balad as the new MOB for F16s was reported last month.

DJ Elliott (02/05/2013 05:26:28)


Yes I am aware of their commonality DJ, which is why I endorse the Havoc buy in the first place. It's not that I don't understand that that would allow for common support but my question is can Iraq afford 2 completely different and frankly expensive and complex weapon systems like attack helicopters? Even if they share components with other types in the existing fleet? (Reading that back to myself I apologize if that comes off as snide.) Switching gears back to the Navy for a moment, so OK, they finally get a giant fleet oiler that they wanted for their vaporware blue water fleet from 20-25 years ago, what the heck would they use it for now? And if its capabilities still hold true, with that plinth mounted Otobreda 76mm gun and helo deck and whatever other GPMG they decide to hang off that thing, that means its the most heavily armed ship in the IqN! Not only that, the biggest target as well. I hope that if you are able to find info or articles in the near future regarding its delivery, I really hope you can share them with us as I'm really interested to see just what they intend to do with the damn thing.

Trophy_Wench (02/06/2013 12:33:16)


IMoD has consistently said that they intend to buy from diverse sources so they are not cripled by any country cutting them off in the future. That is their policy for all arms buys. Might be more expensive but... //// I'm betting on the AOR being the third HQ/support ship for the PBs - probably spend the majority of the time anchored out as a gas station for operating PBs to extend their time on station vice in transit.

DJ Elliott (02/06/2013 04:26:08)

DJ Elliott