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Iraqi Security Force Update October 2013


Divisional OOB as of 30 September 2013


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 Army


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 importedThe 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.


Iraqi Aviation


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."


Iraqi Navy


Iraq is shopping for 3 missile patrol boats.  Apparently the Russians are not interested in selling them. 


DJ Elliott