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This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during July 2010. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 July 2010.
During July, 2 articles extrapolating future Iraqi Army Armor Forces were written: The 1st [more conservative] “Speculation on Iraqi Army Armor Forces by 2014” and the far more speculative “SWAG on Iraqi Armor Distribution”. An article breaking down the Iraqi Army Air Corps split from Iraqi Air Force was also published and the details will not be addressed in this update. Highlights in this update include:
- Iraqi Request for 18 new Block 52 F16s; first 10 fighter pilots go to US for training.
- 11 M1A1s to arrive in August; 60 HETS ordered; Ukrainian BTR4 to start arriving in October; 1st AN-32 to deliver in September.
- Peshmerga battalion identified.
- Army Air Corps re-formed; future M1A1-equipped battalion identified.
- 1st group of Iraqi Navy Patrol Boat students graduate; Iraqi Marines take over Bucca.
- Ministry of Interior moving to purchase 1st helicopters.
Arms Deliveries and Purchases
As part of the program to sell 18 F16 Block 52 fighters to Iraq, Iraq has signed an agreement with the United States for the training of 10 Iraqi Air Force pilots. At graduation, these pilots will have completed the training necessary to move on to F-16 flying training. The training for each student will last from 12 to 17 months depending on the experience level of the pilot. According to Marco Dijkshoor, Dutch Aviation Society/Scramble Magazine, "On the F-16 front I am getting quite firm reports that the first 10 IqAF pilots will be trained from August onwards on Sheppard AFB (TX) and that 18 Block 52 with limited weaponry have been ordered, prone for delivery between 2012-2013."
According to Lieutenant Colonel Martin Downie, US Army, Public Affairs Chief, USF-I J9 PAO:"The first 11 of the 140 M1s that Iraq has purchased are expected to arrive in August. The entire 140 will be delivered in monthly batches over the following year. The M1s here now were not purchased but are being used for training only." This indicates that the first 140 M1A1s will be delivered by the fall of 2011 however; the official statements continue to include a fudge-factor and state “by December 2011.”
A contract for 60 Iraqi heavy equipment transporter systems (HETS) and associated ancillary items has been awarded. The HETS are M1070A0 tractors and the Fontaine 635NL trailers. The associated ancillary items include 6,240 spare tires; Iraqi HETS spare parts; non-standard trailer manuals; and IHETS operator training. This is part of the deal providing over 1,000 M113s to Iraq during 2011-2013.
The Ukrainian purchase is progressing. The delivery of the 1st An-32 Transport for Iraq is scheduled tentatively for September 2010. The first batch of BTR-4s is to deliver in October 2010. The Ukrainian manufacture has apparently had delays in subcontractor delivery of engines for the BTR-4 APCs. Further data breaking down the types of BTR-4 variants in this order were also reported however, the numbers for the types reported suggest erroneous reporting. There are too many command and staff variants and too few repair and recovery vehicles in the mix. To date, I have been unable to confirm this report and suspect the numbers should read:
* 270 line of armored personnel carriers,
* 80 of repair and recovery [vice “command”],
* 30 command [vice “staff"],
* 30 medical, and
* 10 staff [vice “repair and recovery”].
This unconfirmed corrected mix would fit for:
3 light mechanized brigades and a training/maintenance battalion float or
for the APC, support, and command elements of a mechanized division plus a training/maintenance battalion float.
The 2-12 Peshmerga Battalion was reported conducting joint ops in the Irbil disputed area. This is a first report of this battalion and its parent 12th Peshmerga Brigade. This unit is estimated to be part of the un-commissioned 15th Mountain Division.
Elements of the M113-equipped 4-35/9 Mechanized Reconnaissance Battalion were reported receiving M1A1 refresher training. This is the 3rd of 4 planned M1A1-equipped battalions identified to receive the 1st 140 M1A1 tanks. The battalions identified are the 5-36/9, 4-36/9, and now the 4-35/9. All have been reported employing M113 APCs. The 56th Brigade has also been reported training on M113s and is probably also receiving M1A1s.
The 1st group of 50 Iraqi Navy sailors received training at the Swiftships Shipbuilding facility in Morgan City, La and graduated 15 July. The Iraqi naval students spent 90 days at Morgan City training to operate, maintain and deploy 15-man patrol boats. The 1st 2 of 15 ordered PBs are to deliver this month.
Interestingly, Bucca was transferred from the US Forces to the Iraqi Marine detachment. This base is large enough to house a brigade. The Iraqi Marines may be preparing to expand and form a new battalion or even a 2nd brigade.
Ministry of Interior
The Iraqi Ministry of Interior plans to form its own Air Force. 15 Scout helicopters are reportedly being ordered. On 19 November 2009, a US Foreign Material Sales announcement that MoI intended to buy 15 Scout and 10 Utility helicopters and listed 3 possible types for each. This planned Police Aviation Force is apparently progressing to contracting, however the types picked were not specified in the report. The original FMS notice indicated the choices were:
- 15 AgustaWestland AW109 Light Utility Observation helicopters, or alternatively, 15 Bell Model 429 Medical Evacuation and Aerial Observation helicopters, or 15 EADS North America UH-72A Lakota Light Utility helicopters; and
- 12 AgustaWestland AW139 Medium Utility helicopters, or alternatively, 12 Bell Model 412 Medium Utility helicopters, or 12 Sikorsky UH-60M BLACK HAWK helicopters.