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This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during August 2010. The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 August 2010. The conversion of Iraqi heavy brigades to a modified US Army modular structure was addressed in a separate article.
Highlights in this update include:
- Lasta95s, Mi17s, and M1A1s delivered. 80 M1117s contracted for.
- Peshmerga start Iraqi Army training.
- New Operations Center in Kirkuk. 9th Division moving to Besmaya? Maintenance training course on M1A1s identified. Initial brigade receiving training on BTR4s identified. 37/9 Brigade upgrading to tanks. 16/4 Brigade converting to modular?
- Ministry of Interior concentrating on EOD.
Arms Deliveries and Purchases
Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced the 3rd installment of Mi-17s received from Russia for the Army Air Corps. These additional 8 Mi-17s is part of an ongoing order of helicopters. 5 squadrons worth of Mi-17 aircrew have been reported trained by 2009 but only 2 squadrons are commissioned. These aircraft are for the next squadron to be commisioned.
The 1st 11 M1A1s and 1 M88 have arrived in Iraq and been sent to Besmaya. The remaining 129 tanks and seven recovery vehicles are scheduled to be delivered on a monthly basis until about Dec 2011. This initial order is for upgrading the 9th Mechanized Division.
The Ministry of Interior has a contract for 80 more armored military vehicles for the Iraqi Federal Police, to be contracted through the U.S. Army Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process. Of the 80 vehicles, 72 will be configured as Armored Personnel Carriers. A total of 184 vehicles (122 ASV and 62 APC) have already been delivered to Iraq under previous procurements. This indicates that the FP is about to commission a 2nd Mechanized Brigade.
The Iraqi Ministry of Defense and Kurdish Regional concluded a deal to provide the Peshmerga with Iraqi Army training this summer. The 1st battalion of the Kurdish Regional Border Guards started training in August. The 1st Battalion of the 1st Regional Guards Brigade is in IA basic training at Sulaymaniyah Training Center. Zerevani Peshmerga Police have been training with Federal Police since late-2009.
There are also Peshmerga receiving maintenance training. “more than 80 soldiers in the Kurdish Regional Guard Brigade began training to perform preventive maintenance checks and services on the Iraqi International Troop Carrier Truck.” These units may “officially” transfer to Iraqi Army after training.
For the first time a “Kirkuk Operations Center” was mentioned by a USF-I spokesman. This command was mentioned on same level as Diyala and Ninawa Operational Commands and indicates a new corps-level joint command has been established.
There is a report indicating that the 9th Mechanized Division is relocating its headquarters and training from Taji with the departure of US forces from FOB Hammer. "Hammer will act as the home of the Mechanized Iraqi 9th Division." FOB Hammer is co-located at the Besmaya Combat Training center – the home of Iraqi Armor Training – and previously housed a US Brigade.
A new M1A1 maintenance course at Besmaya has been identified. “18 graduated the Unit Maintenance New Equipment Training Course at Besmaya 10 Aug. The 63-day course is a mirror of the U.S. Army’s M1 Abrams Tank System Maintainer course that U.S. Soldiers go through in the United States.”
According to an unconfirmed report, a platoon commander on BMP1s from the 35th Brigade [9th Mechanized Division] is going to Ukraine this month to be trained on the BTR4. There was no mention of his transferring from the brigade. BTR4s may be planned to fill the role of M3/Bradley Cavalry Fighting Vehicles in IA heavy brigades.
Tanks have been transferred into 9th Mechanized Division’s 37th Light Mechanized Brigade, beginning the conversion into a heavy brigade. A photograph of 37th Brigade’s new tanks has been acquired showing former 34th Mechanized Brigade’s T55 and T72s. The T55s have 6-37/9 Battalion markings and appear to have been recently refurbished. The markings in the refurbished T72s are not visible but, probably belong to the 5-37/9 Battalion. The scene in the photo looks like preparation for a commissioning ceremony. The 6-37/9 [and inferred 5-37/9] Battalion are new designations and the BTR80s in 1-37/9, 2-37/9, and 3-37/9 Battalions are transferring to ISOF. The status of 4-37/9 Battalion’s EE-9 Scout Cars is not known but they are probably transferring to ISOF or the 56th Brigade.
The IA light brigades may be starting conversion to modular structure. According to a US Division-North press release there is a "...Commando Battalion of the 16th Iraqi Army Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division." This could be an error referring to the commando/scout company of 16/4 Brigade but, USD-N and US Forces-Iraq have not corrected it after being asked. 16/4 Brigade has not been previously reported with a commando battalion. Iraqi Army commando battalions fill the same role as US Army cavalry [recon] battalions and US modular brigades each have a cavalry battalion.
Ministry of Interior
EOD appears to be the Ministry of Interior’s focus at this time. The Ministry of Interior’s Counter Explosives Directorate is building a Training Center at Salman Pak. It is planned to be complete in mid-2011.
A photo of ILAV Badger engineering route-clearance vehicles [with claws] in MoI’s Federal Police colors has been acquired. It is not known which elements of the Federal Police have these MRAPs or how many ILAVs have been acquired by the FP. Prior to the receipt of this photo, only the Iraqi Army was known to have these vehicles. The only FP unit previously publically reported as receiving route-clearance training was the 1st Federal Police Mechanized Brigade in 2009.
According to Iraqi press, EOD is also becoming a training focus for some provincial police. "The al-Anbar Police Command has started anti-explosives departments in every police station in the province."