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Iraqi Security Force Update May 2013


Divisional OOB as of 30 April 2013


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. 


These Type 69s they're refurbing, might those be part of the Mystery T-55 that they have always claimed were on strength? Also, any chance that some of those would be the upgraded ones the Iraqis were showing off in the late 80's?

Trophy_Wench (05/11/2013 11:59:38)


Don't know. Khaima is the only source saying anything about the refurb of old equip and not providing that level of detail...

DJ Elliott (05/12/2013 11:39:23)


Note: The explanation for the CoR claim of 700 tanks was the option for 350 HA M60A3s was included - per CoR.

DJ Elliott (05/15/2013 12:46:02)


Hey! In the latest Khaima they mention General Murdhi Mahlawi as the commander of the Anbar Operations Command. I thought it was dissolved with the merger under Jazira but it stills seems to out there, I guess with the previous structure with 1st & 7th div right?

Carr (05/22/2013 11:56:40)


plus 2 div-equiv of EP/FP and half of DBE Region II. JOC only recently started forming - may take a while to absorb NiOC/AOC. Also possible that NiOC/AOC may remain as subordinate commands. Also possible that AOC/NiOC will become MoI commands while the IA elements chop to JOC.

DJ Elliott (05/22/2013 02:41:12)


Thanks for clearing that up! What a mess

Carr (05/22/2013 08:58:53)


If they are spliting MoI [internal] from MoD [external] then you might see something like this: /// - KRG [Northern]: 3 div-equivs of KRG Bdes [Mtn Corps] //// - KRG/HOC: 3 div-equivs of KRG Bdes [Mtn Corps]//// - KRG/TFP: 2 Police Divs.//// - JOC: 2nd [Mech/Arm?] and 3rd [Mech/Arm?] IADs //// - NiOC: Ninawa and 3rd FPDs plus 7th ISOF RCB//// - TOC: 5th Mech [Arm?] and 12th [Mech/Arm?] IADs //// - SOC: Diyala and Kirkuk/Saladin FPDs with 8th ISOF RCB//// - FaOC: 8th Mech [Arm?], 11th [Mech/Arm?], and 17th Mot IADs ///// - AOC: Anbar[1], Anbar[2], and 4th FPDs and 9th ISOF RCB//// - RaOC: 7th Mech [Arm?], 10th Mech [Arm?], and 14th [Mech/Arm?] IADs//// - BaOC: Basrah, DhiQar/Muthanna, and Maysan/Wasit FPDs and 7th ISOF RCB//// - BOC/RAC: 1st [QRF] Mot, 4th Abn, and 9th Armor IADs//// - BOC/KAC: 1st, 2nd, and Baghdad FPDs and 1st ISOF Brigade//// NOC [Preatorian forces]://// - 6th [Mech/Arm?] and Presidential Security IADs ///// - CoR and Mixed Security forces of FP = 2 Security Div-equivs.//// - ISOF ///// ////// I think that originally the plan was for 3 divs per corps but the failure to shift 2 KRG Divs to JOC/TOC and 2 KRG Police Divs to NiOC/SOC would change those Corps to only 2 Divs and cause the KRG to form a second corps plus TFP.

DJ Elliott (05/23/2013 06:48:42)


Just remember that the only constants in the military is change and the high-command's resistance to change. I expected SOC/NIOC/AOC to go away with the formation of TOC/JOC. Just like KOC/WOC/MOC went away with the formation of FaOC/RaOC but, so far, they haven't. Which either means TOC/JOC are not fully operational or that the plan for the north/west is a bit different than the south...

DJ Elliott (05/23/2013 06:57:53)


Looks like the Czech deal is still stalled - partially because of ROK competition. ////

DJ Elliott (05/24/2013 09:33:02)


Thanx so much for the tips. I defineiely have a lot to start with.

Carr (05/30/2013 12:39:54)

DJ Elliott