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Iraqi Security Force Update April 2011


Brigade OOB as of 31 March 2011


This Iraqi Security Force (ISF) update provides a summary of changes to the ISF during March 2011.  The Iraqi Security Force Order of Battle is updated as of 31 March 2011.  The articles “Iraqi Logistics - The Missing Links” and Bloggers Roundtable from a Forgotten Front:  Equipment and Training were addressed separately and will not be addressed here.   Highlights in this update include:

  • Iraqi Army’s Peshmerga Division.
  • US EDA deliveries; BTR4 delivery delayed again; Possible counter-battery radar buy; Joint Intelligence and Operations Center; External Defense training; M1A1 training; Possible division shift from Baghdad; Expansion of divisional support elements; 8/2 Brigade 30 months into 3 month training deployment.
  • Fighters and Air Defense; IqAF Hellfire shot with ISOF FAC; 12th Squadron moves to Habbeniyah.
  • Up to 6 more PBs to be purchased.
  • 4th FP Division elements in south Baghdad; 7/2 FP Brigade moving to Falcon; Basrah 6th ERB reported; Oil Police at 70 percent manning.




The 4th Regional Guard Brigade [RGB] has been reported deployed in Kirkuk.  This is the first report of 4th RGB and its home base indicates that it was formed by merging 2 PUK and KDP brigades – the 12th and 43rd Peshmerga Brigades from Irbil.  The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th RGBs make up a force being called the "Iraqi Army's Peshmerga division".  The 1st and 2nd RGBs were already in Kirkuk province while the 3rd RGB is based in northern Diyala.  These are all regions where the planned Iraqi Army 16th Mountain Division was to operate.  Their operational status could indicate the 16th Mountain Division is to be commissioned this year – 3 years after they were originally to commission.


Iraqi Army


Delivery of US Excess Defense Articles has started.  The 1,026 M113 variants are not fielded yet but, are fielding this year.  23 of 24 M109 self-propelled howitzers are fielded and 8 of the 120 M198 towed howitzers are delivered.


The delivery of Ukrainian APCs is further delayed.  The first 26 BTR4 are now supposed to deliver in April.  The original contract was for initial deliveries in September 2010.


Iraq may buy counter-battery radars.  An FMS notice for the possible purchase of 6 AN/TPQ-36(V)10 FIREFINDER Radar Systems, 18 AN/TPQ-48 Light Weight Counter-Mortar Radars, 3 Meteorological Measuring Sets, 36 export variant Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems, 6 Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data Systems, 3 Position and Azimuth Determining Systems, and support from the US was posted in March.  This explains some of the training the IA 6th Division has been receiving from the US.


A joint "Intelligence and Operations Center" is being established to coordinate all the various ISF intelligence collection and dissemination. Intelligence dissemination is a weak point in the ISF.


The training of 4 IA Divisions in external defense continues with 12 battalions trained at the end of March.  This training is already starting to shift to IA lead in the 5th Division.  The 4 IA Divisions being trained are the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 10th.  However, the 8th Division has arranged with the US 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment for its own version of this external defense training.


Elements of the 34/9 Brigade was training at Taji on M1A1s tanks in March, after which they are to go to Besmaya for the Equipment Operator Course.  Elements of the 34/9, 35/9, and 36/9 Brigades have been reported training on M1A1s to date.  140 M1A1s are to be delivered to the 9th Armored Division by Aug11.


Elements of 35/9 Brigade were reported in Kadhimiyah district of Baghdad.  Previous reporting placed them training on M1A1s at Besmaya or in southeast Baghdad augmenting the 11th & 17th Divisions.  The 35/9 Brigade may be replacing the 22/6 Brigade so they can start the 6th Division’s move to Ninawa province.  The 6th Division is expected to replace the 3rd Division in Ninawa while the 3rd Division is upgrading in Baghdad – especially Besmaya CTC [IA’s version of the National Training Center].


The 9th Armored Division is now being reported as having a Bridge Regiment.  This addition indicates that heavy divisions of the IA will each have an Engineering Brigade complete.   All of the Iraqi Army divisions and the Iraqi Ground Force Command already have a Field Engineer Regiment each [15 total] which includes a Bridging Company.


The "Emergency Battalion, 5th IA Division" was reported in March.  This is probably the divisional ISR/Commando Battalion.  At least 10 of the 14 IA divisions have expanded their ISR/Commando Companies to battalions.


The 12th Division is reported as having a Signal Regiment.  This indicates an expansion of the IA divisional Signals Companies to battalion-strength.  The 12th Division is one of the junior IA divisions which indicate the other 13 IA divisions already have or have started expanding their communications elements.


The expansion of the Commandos, Bridging, and Signals Companies indicate an expansion of key divisional support and select combat elements.  Other IA divisional elements that may expand to battalions include the Chemical Defense, Military Police, Medical, EOD, and Military Intelligence Companies plus the establishment of Brigade Support Battalions in each brigade.


The 8/2 Brigade is still in Anbar attached to 1st Division.  The 8/2 Brigade is now 30 months into a 3 month training deployment to Anbar.  One possible explanation for this IA brigade remaining in Anbar is the planned IA airborne training in Anbar that was delayed and then cancelled in 2010 when the US 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division redeployed.  None of the current US AABs are airborne but, the “2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division” is scheduled to deploy to Iraq this summer.  Note the change in designation of the US 2-82 Brigade for this deployment.  Security Force Assistance” falls under a different set of guidelines from AABs.


Iraqi Aviation


Iraq is still looking for fighters and air defense.  "Hakim Al Zamili, currently a member of the Defense & security committee in the parliament, announced that Iraq is going to sign contracts for American & European Fighter jets & Air defense systems, in a bid to build the Air Defense sector before the American withdrawal. He stated that the F-16 deal was cancelled because of the 3 years delivery schedule & to divert money to collapsing food rationing system."  Apparently, “the types of aircraft to be contracted out will be one(s) of the origins of American and European."  This indicates that China may be out of this competition leaving France and the US as the only reported potential sellers of fighters.  The mention of possible air defense systems did not indicate if they included SAMs or just radar tracking systems.


"The Iraqi air force took a big leap toward air and ground force integration after an AC-208 Cessna Caravan successfully attacked a target called in by Iraqi Special Operations Forces at the Aziziyah Training Range March 23.  A two-ship formation of Iraqi air force Cessnas from Squadron 3 at Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq, fired a single air-to-ground missile after receiving ground target coordinates and direction from Iraqi forward air controllers inserted near the target area by Mi-17 helicopters from Camp Taji.  The exercise marked the third time ever that Iraqi air force aircraft fired an AGM-114 Hellfire missile in three years as the scenarios increase in complexity and scope between joint Iraqi military forces.”  Even more important, it was an ISOF Forward Air Controller calling the shot.


The Iraqi Army Aviation Command transferred the 12th Training Squadron from Kirkuk to Habbeniyah in March.  Habbeniyah is to be the Iraqi Army Air Corps’ new training center.


Iraqi Navy and Marines


The Iraqi Navy has modified its contract for patrol boats.   They are ordering 3 more 35m patrol boats, with an option for 3 more.  If all 6 boats are ordered, then Iraqi Navy orders will total 21 boats plus the 5 they already had.  The new boats are expected to be complete by August 2012.


Ministry of Interior


The 4th Federal Police Division has an undetermined number of units operating/training in south Baghdad with the US 6th Squadron, 9th Calvary Regiment attached to 2nd Brigade of 1st Division.  The 4th FP Division is supposed to be headquartered in southern Iraq but, elements appear to be held in Baghdad.  Other than the HQ, the only identified element still in Baghdad is the newly reported 4th FP Division's Logistics Battalion at JSS Jihad.  The only located line formations of the 4th FP Division are 1/4 FP Brigade in Basrah, 4/4 FP Brigade in Wassit, and 5/4 FP Brigade in Maysan.  This indicates that 2/4 and/or 3/4 FP Brigades are in southern Baghdad province either for field training prior to deployment south or augmenting Baghdad prepatory for planned IA move out of the cities.


Joint Security Station Falcon is to be the new home to 7/2 Federal Police Brigade when turned over by USF-I.  This is to allow the brigade to move out of temporary facilities.


The Basrah 6th Emergency Response Battalion has been reported for the first time.  It had been listed as an Emergency Battalion with its location unknown.  The designation of ERB indicates the battalion has been trained and is now a full-fledged SWAT battalion.


The Iraqi Oil Police is reported as "currently at around 40,000” or “70 percent of the force required.”  At least an additional 12,000 police officers are needed.   Major General Hamid Ibrahim, head of Iraq’s oil protection force also said. “If the expansion of the oil sector continues, we need to increase the number according to the expansion, just like all the neighboring countries.”  The oil police chief said “another problem was that in most of Iraq’s southern oil fields, security forces had enlisted the help of about 3,500 civilian guards, whom he regarded as a weakness.”  These numbers indicate that the Oil Police Battalions are almost manned however, training is still needed.


The first 26 BTR4s may actually deliver this month. 7 months late.... ////

DJ Elliott (04/04/2011 08:18:25)


I wonder if the fighter to be delivered this year are the 26 L159s they were negotiating from the Czechs... They acn be armed with AMRAAMS and AIM-9Ms as well as LGBs/Recon pods. Not exactly F16 class, but a symbolic capability until a real air force can be commissioned.

sheytan elkebir (04/05/2011 06:15:09)


possible. Any deliveries this year will be already built aircraft...

DJ Elliott (04/05/2011 08:19:29)


With that said, do you think then that the Mirage deal might actually gain more traction now? Also, good to see that funding for the IqN is being appropriated well, those Swiftships look menacing.

Trophy Wench (04/05/2011 10:36:40)


Money/budget issue is the question. The only fighter negotiations ATT are US [F16] and French. My bet is a bit of both. They are good PBs and will do the job for inshore work. Still need a handfull of missile boats, coastal defense missiles, and/or helo launched missiles.

DJ Elliott (04/06/2011 03:27:23)


If the price of oil remains high, then GoI will have a surplus budget. Which could mean a fighter buy funded at mid-year....

DJ Elliott (04/06/2011 06:30:11)


No probably about it. Kuwait can win a war with Iraq ATT.

DJ Elliott (04/13/2011 04:29:02)


US IPs depart 2nd Sq. (Notice the timeline. Now consider that jets are much more difficult...)

DJ Elliott (04/17/2011 10:50:40)


what about the 6 F-16s talked about earlier ? 6 used F-16s , 18 used Mirage F1 , 16 used Mirage 2000 and 26 L159 can be funded and delivered this year ,, right ?

Almaleki (04/17/2011 11:04:01)


All of the jets you mention are proposals. No actual sales or deliveries reported yet. The training clock does not start until after delivery. Except possibly for the stateside IqAF pilot training - they could use US aircraft. But, that is less than a squadron's worth of pilots...

DJ Elliott (04/18/2011 04:23:54)


Hi DJ there is a new push for the L159, here is the link

Jack Winters (04/18/2011 06:00:45)


Thanks Jack. Who knows - maybe they will finally do the deal...

DJ Elliott (04/18/2011 06:12:06)


DJ , This Lion leap operation yesterday made in Besmaya ( images : ) .. on what level is it ? Brigade or just battalion as always ?

Almaleki (04/18/2011 10:52:34)


from BMP images it looks like 4-34/9 is one of the( or the only ) battalion(s) in this leap thing !

Almaleki (04/18/2011 10:57:49)


If the M1A1 playing is in 4-34/9 then it is a first report of them having tanks. Also the 4-34/9 was Tahla equipped - not BMP1s. First seen of M1A1s and BMP1s working in same exercise. Plus helos from 2 different AAC squadrons. I would say a Brigade TF exercise.

DJ Elliott (04/19/2011 05:09:08)


Also, Lion's Leap is supposed to be 12th IAD in Kirkuk. Unless it is a larger training program for IA....

DJ Elliott (04/19/2011 05:15:19)


Confirmed - Bde level exercise.

DJ Elliott (04/19/2011 09:32:52)


didn't the Minister say that this was 6 months to go .. ?

Almaleki (04/20/2011 01:46:54)


He was talking about the current exercises by 34th Bde and future: “A 9th Division Regiment in Baghdad conducted its first mobilization training on Monday with the participation of Brigadier 34 Regiment troops and Army Aviation” “Regiments will conduct 16 training exercises at the end of this year in addition to the four training operations that will be carried out this month” /// 4 Divisions with 16 Bdes total are in external training. Plus other divisions are preparing to shift to external, including 8th and 9th Divs...

DJ Elliott (04/20/2011 02:01:41)


DJ , in Iraqi Aviation the link going to "Iraqi forward air controllers" is a "Page not found"

Almaleki (04/20/2011 02:01:42)


Vid for the leap thing :

Almaleki (04/20/2011 02:09:23)


Thanks. When I tried a search in DVIDS for 23 March article, DVIDS started to lock up. I think they may be experiencing dificulties ATT. Although it may have been pulled for security reasons - SOF is touchy about reporting and that was more current than ussual... //// For now I am going to leave it and check back when they are not fixing things - at this time of night is when they do system maint.

DJ Elliott (04/20/2011 02:16:21) Not the same article but it does report on the same event.

DJ Elliott (04/20/2011 03:05:16)


one of the military guys in the vid said " we are planning to make a brigade level operations just like this one and when we are more free and leave cities we would make a division level operations " while the Minister (who is not a minister geez) said and lied (as we say made elephants fly)" it needs some more firepower and that would be done by first quarter of 2012 that would be by ARTILLERY and MLRS (122 and 107mm) - the only way his bla bla would be right is if he is only talking about 9th div. - and the navy is having good progress especially in radars as the radar range is now 5 km and the army aviation would be complete by first quarter 2012 " i might ask about the IAQF ? while someone from the NATO said that there sould be some NATO forces staying after 2012 in Iraq to continue training . end .

Almaleki (04/20/2011 04:58:40)


IA is to take delivery of 120 M198 155mm howitzers by the end of year. The MLRS is mix of salvage and Serb bought. //// Not surprised at the wording, AAC will be complete but IQAF will not be anywhere near complete. //// NATO is not governed by the US withdraw - they are not US. If GoI asks them to leave - then they will leave but, the NATO/GoI agreement is seperate from the US/GoI agreement and NATO does not have a 2012 deadline. //// EDA board updated today Provides breakdown of the 1,026 M113 FOVs: 618 M113A2 APC [440 on 22Jun and 178 on 24Sep]; 68 M113A2 Ambulances [24Sep]; 192 M548A1 Cargo Carriers [24Sep]; 66 M1064 120mm Mortar Carriers [24Sep]; 80 M577A2 Command Posts [24Sep]; 2 M577A2 Emergency Medical [24Sep]. /// These are delivering over the next 18 months. Also listed was the already known 120 M198s, 21 M88s, 24 M109s, 14 MRAPs, and a mess of lesser items.

DJ Elliott (04/20/2011 01:06:10)


lets hope the deal for the (now) 36 L159s does go through. At least that will give Iraq a "nominal" air force until they can scratch together a few dollars and buy real equipment possibly after 2015...

sheytanelkebir (04/20/2011 03:31:11)


Nominal is not the word I would use. Token would be more appropriate. 36 armed trainers is OK for a pair of light attack sqs and needed to train jet pilots but, they would not last 24 hours against any of the bordering country's air forces. As the CoS of the IqAF said in 2008, 96 F16s [or equivalent] is minimum needed for Iraqi air defense.

DJ Elliott (04/20/2011 04:30:11)


Agreed. If it goes through its a good first start but it is nevertheless just a start. I was wondering DJ, since there has been no news in the last what, year or more on the supposed plan for buying the AT-6's, do you think that the (potential) purchase of the ALCA's are an alternative request or are they genuinely looking to bolster the training fleet? Or both? Either way though IMHO its still a sound choice.

Trophy_Wench (04/21/2011 12:28:51)


My read is trainer primary. After they get sufficient jet pilots trained then they may shift to a ground attack secondary role.

DJ Elliott (04/21/2011 06:21:53)


Would you be able to direct me to some additional info regarding the Lasta light trainers and to clarify whether or not the IqAF is actually arming them? And if so, what the heck with? I keep coming up with either very dated or very vague information about their capabilities, or even if they're in country yet!

Trophy Wench (04/25/2011 12:54:19)


On the Lasta: Serbs say delivered. But I have no confirmation in Iraq. As to weapons: Varies - 2 underwing hard points. Can mount LMG pods, rockets, or 100kg bombs. [I.E. less than 500lbs total of external ordinance can be mounted - 250lbs on each hard point.]

DJ Elliott (04/25/2011 05:15:34)

DJ Elliott