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Iraqi Security Force Update February 2011


Brigade OOB as of 31 January 2011


This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during January 2011.  The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 January 2011.  The articles “Is the Iraqi 7th Division Mechanizing?”, “Thoughts on ISF Development and Iraq's Ability to Defend Itself”, and “Emergency Response Brigades Return to Iraqi Federal Police?” were addressed separately and will not be addressed here.   Highlights in this update include:

  • GoI/KRG agreement?; RGB personnel training at Taji; Peshmerga in Baghdad;  KRG MedEvac Squadron;  Light APCs provided to Zerevani ERB; KRG Oil Police Brigade Forming.
  • BTR4s start delivery in February?; 586 M113s being refurbished for IA; Truck-mounted MRLs; 4 IA Divisions identified as retraining for external defense;  Maysan Operations Center;  3 IA Division’s Commandos training; IA Counter-Battery Radar training.
  • 4 Mi-171s delivered; Down-payment of F16s authorized; Weather Radars; Training Squadrons renumbering?
  • First 24-hour PB patrol; 2 PBs delivered; OSV simulaters.
  • ERF getting armor?; ERF Battalion identified;  200,000 Police for Baghdad; FPS transitioning to Police.



The Government of Iraq and the Kurdish Regional Government have come to a deal, however the details are only trickling out.  The Peshmerga is reducing to 70,000 personnel with 130,000 to be pensioned or get government jobs.   


Elements of the 4th Battalion, 3rd Regional Guard Brigade are training at Iraqi Army facilities at Taji.  This Brigade is based in Khanaqin – Diyala Provinces.  Training Kurdish forces at Taji are a first and are probably part of the deal.


Mala Bakhteyar, a senior member of the PUK’s political bureau, said in an interview with Kurdish television channel Gale Kurdistan that the PUK had prepared for the “worst case scenario,” including military coups.  "Ten thousand members of the Kurdish peshmerga forces have been sent to Baghdad to protect Jalal Talabani – the Kurdish president of Iraq – and all other Kurdish officials there from the possibility of a military coup, says a senior official from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), one of Iraqi Kurdistan’s two ruling parties."  At first read, this appears to be exaggerated, however, both of the Presidential Brigades were formed around Kurdish troops and there are 3 other IA Brigades in and adjacent to the International Zone that are predominately Kurdish.  The other 14 Independent Protection Battalions in Baghdad are of undetermined composition.  Of note, the 54/6, 55/17, and 56/6 Brigades in Baghdad are numbered with what should be 15th Division brigade-numbers [54-57] – and 15th Division is a planned Kurdish IA Division.


An "aero medical emergency service" based in Sulaymaniyah is being formed.  This MedEvac Squadron adds to the existing Light Observation Helicopter Squadron and the basic Pilot Training Squadron run by the Peshmerga.


Photos of black painted Saxon light APCs were taken in Zahko in the summer 2010.  This indicates that elements of the Zerevani police are converting to Iraqi MoI Emergency Response Force and receiving light armor.  The only Saxons in the ISF were provided to the IA 14th Division in Basrah before the UK Forces departed Iraq.  Iraqi MoD apparently transferred them to Iraqi MoI as part of the plan to reduce the number of vehicle types in the IA.


"The Interior Minister in Kurdistan Regional Government Kareem Sinjari, in a press statement said that his ministry formed a 5000 men force to protect the oil refineries in Kurdistan Region’s three provinces Erbil, Duhok and Sulaimani."  Apparently the KRG is establishing its own Oil Police.


Iraqi Army


The first shipment of 26 BTR-4 armored personnel carriers are to be delayed and are now scheduled to be delivered in February.  Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau blamed the gun producers from Kamianets-Podilsky. Shortcomings were exposed when Iraqis were examining the APCs.   Ukraine tried to deliver An32s with used engines and avionics.  Apparently, they did something similar with the BTR4s.  The BTR4s were supposed to be delivered in time for the 6 January Army Day Parade.  The Ukrainian contract is reported in danger of being cancelled.


A total of 586 M113A2s and 21 M88s are being refurbished for delivery to Iraq.  "The vehicles to be repaired are from an excess stock of M113s at Sierra Army Depot in California."  The M113s are to be refurbished at a rate of 50 vehicles per month. The first delivery of M113s to Iraq is set for July 2011.  The original FMS Notice was only for 440 M113A2 APCs, however, M113A2 Ambulances do not require a notice. This indicates that 440 APCs and 146 Ambulances are being delivered.  The other 440 M113-varients are not broken down yet but are to be a mix of M577A2 Armored Command Posts, M548A1 Cargo Carriers, M1064A2 120mm Mortar Carriers, and M577A2 Emergency Medical Treatment Vehicles.


The only new ground equipment noted in the 6 January Army Day Parade were the delivered M1A1 tanks and  Ford 350 truck mounted Type 63 107mm 12-tube rocket launchers.  The IA appears to be salvaging these towed systems and mounting them on pickups as light self-propelled artillery.


US Forces are retraining all of the battalions of 4 IA Divisions in preparation for their shift to external security.  The first 5 battalions identified as completing this 25-day training are the 1-11/3 and 2-12/3 in Ninawa, 3-21/5 in Diyala, 2-28/7 in Anbar, and 1-40/10 in Dhi Qar.  All of these divisions [3rd, 5th, 7th, and 10th] have border sectors with Iran or Syria.  Of note, while 9th Division is in conversion training for its ongoing upgrades to M1A1 tanks, M113 APCs, and BTR4s – so far it has not been reported undergoing this training.  Previous reporting indicated that the US Forces were to prepare 1 mechanized and 3 infantry divisions for external defense duties.  This could be confirmation that 7th Division is to be mechanized.  If the 7th Division is mechanized, it will probably move to Basrah – Basrah has strategic priority second only to Baghdad.


The Maysan Operations Center, led by 10th Iraqi Army Division, conducted its first Command Post Exercise on 30 December 2010.  This is the first mention of a Maysan Operations Center and probably is in preparation for the shift of the rest of the 10th Division to Maysan as part of assuming duties of external defense.    Dhi Qar and Muthanna provinces will probably be backfilled with new or transferred  IA/ FP forces.


The training of the youngest of the Iraqi divisions appears to be concentrating on their scout/recon elements.  11th, 12th, and now the 14th Division’s Commandos are reported being trained by US Forces.


The Iraqi Army Artillery School is receiving 5-weeks Counter-battery radar training.  "U.S. artillerymen recently began a new training program on Forward Operating Base Constitution with the Iraqi Army to assist them in combating terrorist indirect-fire-attacks.  The fire finder radar system training is a 30-day class designed to teach the IA how to operate and maintain a system that will allow them to detect and track incoming artillery and rocket fire."  The IA has not been reported ordering this system as yet.  This could indicate they are planning to order these or that the US is providing them as part of the post-2011 security of the US Embassy [and the rest of the IZ].


The IA is also being trained in computer simulations for command-post exercises.  IA personnel are being trained as instructors for a Military Simulations Operators Course.


There is confused reporting as to the status of the IA Tank School.  One report indicates: "...Contingency Operating Base Taji, where the Iraqi army tank school is relocating."  Other reports still indicate that Besmaya is the center of Armor training.


Iraqi Aviation


SA342 Gazelles and EC635s were the only new aircraft types at the Army Day Parade compared to last year.  As mentioned above, the AN32s did not make it in time for parade because the Ukrainians tried to deliver them with used engines and avionics in violation of the contract.


"The Iraq Army Aviation Command accepted delivery of four new Mi-171E helicopters at its headquarters in Taji, as two were delivered Jan. 16 followed two more Jan. 23.  This latest delivery brings Iraq Army Aviation Command’s total inventory of Mi-171E helicopters to 14, as part of a foreign-military-sales purchase made by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense."  "Iraq’s fleet of multipurpose helicopters now includes 30 Mi-17 (which includes a number of aircraft that were already in the Iraqi inventory) and 14 Mi-171E helicopters."


Iraqi negotiators were authorized to negotiate with France for 18 used Mirage 2000s.  Instead France offered 18 Mirage F1s for sale with delivery starting late 2011 instead.  Apparently France wants to clear the Iraqi debt from the Saddam-era stored/embargoed 18 F1s before any new sales.  This could explain why the sudden authorization to buy 18 new F16s from the US instead of the 6 authorized in the earlier CoM decision – GoI is redirecting the money from the French to the US buy.   While there are reports of Chinese J17s being negotiated for, the only down-payment for any jet fighters authorized by the Iraqi Government is a $900 million down payment on F16s.


The IqAF has been receiving weather radars.  "The process started last October with the purchase of four Ellason Weather Radar 600’s.  The first of these radars was installed at the Baghdad Iraqi Air Operations Center where the Iraqis have been training on system ever since.  The Ellason Weather Radar 600 isn’t the only system to provide real-time weather data. The Iraqi air force currently uses a TMQ-53 Weather Observation System on loan from the U.S. Air Force, but recently purchased eight new units to be set up throughout Iraq. Once the new systems are in place, the only thing missing for the Iraqis to run their own weather operation will be training."


The Training squadrons may have been renumbered.  Training Squadron No. 3 is now being called the 203rd Training Squadron.  Of interest, NATO may be expanding its training assistance.  Unlike USF-I, NTM-I is authorized to remain in Iraq beyond 2012.


Iraqi Navy and Marines


"The patrol was the first-ever 24-hour perimeter defense patrol of the Al Basrah Oil Terminal conducted by the Iraqi Navy since the Coalition Naval Advisory Training Team initiated operations, said United Kingdom Royal Navy Lt. Richard Hurman, a CNATT training officer. The patrol was planned and conducted entirely by the Iraqi Navy, and was the result of several months of effort."  This indicates the IqN is improving and preparing to assume the patrol duties.   Iraq also took delivery of 2 more Swiftboat PBs delivered on 26 January at Umm Qasr.  Only 12 of the 15 ordered Patrol Boats are expected to be delivered by 2012.


A contract has been awarded “to provide the design, fabrication, installation, and testing of the Iraqi navy training systems and the training development and delivery for the 60-Meter Offshore Support Vessel (OSV).”  The work is anticipated to be complete in November 2011.  “VSD will develop, construct, and deliver training for and manage the team of contractors in the development of four simulators to include the Full Mission Bridge Trainer, 30mm Fire Control Trainer, Engine Control Room Trainer, and Small Arms Trainer. The training effort will involve OSV operation and maintenance to Iraqi naval personnel in one training session in Morgan City, La. The effort also includes support for Iraqi engineers who will monitor the ship’s construction. The training shall ensure the Iraqi sailors have a working knowledge of OSV operation and maintenance to sustain operational requirements and systems availability throughout the OSV service life."   These OSVs are to be the supporting mother-ships for the IqN patrol boat force.


Ministry of Interior


The Iraqi MoI Emergency Response Force [ERF] is getting armored vehicles.  "As black, Russian-made armored vehicles rolled into Fire Base Stack in Hillah, Dec. 20, it was evident that significant changes were occurring on this small special operations compound, previously occupied solely by U.S. forces.  The day marked the transfer of authority of the fire base, known locally as Bayt Al-Wazeer, between the U.S. Special Operations Forces unit and the "Scorpions" of 2nd Company, 3rd Battalion, Emergency Response Brigade, an Iraqi special operations unit that has been conducting training with U.S. forces on the compound for many years.”  In addition M1117s were seen in Baghdad painted in ERF colors during the Police Day Parade and Saxons have been photographed in ERF colors in Zakho.


An ERF battalion has been identified in Basrah.  This is the first mention of 12th Emergency Response Battalion in Basrah.


The Deputy Minister of Interior says the Council of Ministers has agreed to recruit 200,000 more police for Baghdad.  This could mean that more than 14-18 Federal Police Divisions are planned.  It could also indicate that elements of the FP and IA are being relocated from Baghdad and that IP/FP personnel are being recruited to backfill.  Even expanding the existing Baghdad Police forces to a total of 200,000 would be a significant increase in the forces.  By comparison, the entire Iraqi Army is only reported to be about 290,000.


The January 2011 SIGIR Report provided some details on the plan to reform the Facilities Police Service and partially explained the increase in the Iraqi Police.  "The plan for transitioning FPS personnel to the IP service has slowly evolved since 2008.  In November, the Minister of Interior announced that he had approved MOI funding to train approximately 76,000 FPS as police officers in 2011. Under the transition agreement, all FPS contractors are to become Iraqi Police in late January or early February 2011. Currently, the FPS comprises approximately 91,650 personnel. Of these, about 17,330 are fulltime FPS police, and about 74,320 are MOI contractors. Twelve MOI training academies will be used throughout Iraq to conduct the FPS training. The plan calls for 11 training cycles, spanning several months, with 6,700 contractors to be trained in each four-week cycle. This will take approximately 18 months to accomplish.  The curriculum will incorporate elements of both the basic recruit training and the FPS curriculum."


Hi DJ Good article as always, the thing is I was reading the OOB and you mentioned that Iraq was shopping for a navel helo, understandable . But what I don’t get is how can you say that Iraq is going to buy either EC765, Eh101, NH 90 or MH60. I mean if there is anything we learned is that the GOI goes for less capabilities options all the time I would think the choices would be, may be if new; French panther with AS 15TT Missiles , or used French cougar, or used US MH60 , or SH-2G Super Sea sprite , remember Iraq is going to spend a lot on the air force.

Jack Winters (02/03/2011 02:22:34)


I did not say that Iraq was "going to buy" anything. Those are the choises being floated - they may pick something completely different like with the Jet Trainer. /// Those are the options being looked at and IMoD can change that list at any time until they actually buy. /// Naval helos require more capabilities than Army. Over-water navigation, Anti-Shipping Missile capabilities, search radars, etc. /// SH60s make sense, SH-2s do not. /// As to price: Only talking 1 Squadron for Naval support. Security of the primary source of GoI funding is a priority - the oil export terminals...

DJ Elliott (02/03/2011 05:56:06)


PS If I were IMoD, I would transfer the 16 Hueys to Naval support. Modify them for missile capabilities [etc] like the Iranian Hueys.

DJ Elliott (02/03/2011 06:23:03)


There was a time when I would have said that the SH-2 was a good choice but I would have to agree with you on that one DJ. the Hueys would be a useful choice to be modified for Naval service since the IqN and Naval Infantry don't really need full on Anti sub/surface capability (although the ability to drop some torpedoes or something would be good.) Realistically though, I foresee a return to the Air Force to provide naval standoff capability. I mean sure the IqN could do with some heavier PB's or even corvettes with real anti ship/sub capability and for all we know they are looking into just that, (are they?) but given the Navy's priorities and Iraq's limitations, shore based batteries and Exocet/Harpoon/YJ-62/whatever fired from fighters would more than make up for any perceived lack of blue water capability, if you could call it that. It's this reason alone I no longer see the SH-2 being a realistic part of the new IqN and why something built more for utility and transport would be more suitable. Getting back to fighters a moment, is there any speculation DJ as to what the French intend to do to those F1's as far as refurbishment? I hate to think that $1 billion dollars is only (possibly) getting them some rusty old airframes sitting around a dank French air force base hangar for the last 20+ years or so. Also, how close do you think this and the F-16 deal is to being, well, closed if you can speculate at all?

Trophy Wench (02/03/2011 10:42:21)


Even if IqN was in a position to be bluewater - I would not recommend SH-2. My brother-in-law was a LAMPs pilot and I know why they were removed from USN a decade ago. /// The French are doing just what you fear. And IMoD has not authorized buying F1s. The GoI has authorized downpayment on the F16s - those are the only Fighters that have money authorized to buy ATT. /// Note about northern gulf - it is too shallow for submarine ops - what the helos need is missile capability to deal with PBs. Shorebased missile batteries also make sense - which is one of the reasons I expect the IqM to be a division - I expect one of the IqM Bdes to be coastal-defense with missile and FA.

DJ Elliott (02/03/2011 11:01:18)


FYI: There are rumors in the IA 9th Div of an LAV-25 buy and speculation that they may be to replace the BTR4 if/when canx. Only 1 problem, ITAM is not aware of any such purchase. Since the SAO is under ITAM and that would be an FMS buy, that means it is not happening ATT...

DJ Elliott (02/04/2011 04:06:44)


Morocco is having its Mirage F1s get a major upgrade, giving them a very comparable avionics and weapons set to the latest Mirage 2000s. The reports of $1 billion for 18 fighters also track more or less with what Morocco is paying. So I'd treat that Mirage F1 MF2000 configuration as the likely base in any deal. See:

Joe Katzman, (02/07/2011 01:29:11)


Joe Katzman from DID ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the link (and for supporting DJ and this blog.) Must have missed that update, and it mentions the JF-17 as well! I sincerely hope however, that Iraqi defense officials are looking into incorporating that MF2000 (IF 2000?) package into any deal they make in regards to the F1's.

Trophy Wench (02/07/2011 10:07:37)


Looks like 3/1 Cav AAB is starting to replace 3/4 AAB in southern Iraq. Barring an agreement to keep USF-I longer, this should be the last AAB deployed...

DJ Elliott (02/08/2011 09:46:23)


DJ: Wow, this is truly history in the making. The kids will, in a few years time, watch a documentary about this on the History Channel. A war going south being turned around through a Herculean effort and finally won, not by the signing of a surrender declaration but through a slow fade of hostilities leading into the belief in a brightening future for a proud nation.

Joakim Ekstrom (02/09/2011 03:58:15)


Downpayment on F16s redirected to welfare.

DJ Elliott (02/14/2011 11:51:59)


Looks like something was or is about to be agreed on. 2/1Cav AAB is preparing to deploy to Iraq. ////

DJ Elliott (02/17/2011 01:05:06)

DJ Elliott