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US To Lease AH-64 Apaches To Iraq Before Sale

March 17, 2014

US AH64 Apache 02

At the beginning of the year, with the Iraqi government bogged down fighting terrorists in restive Anbar province, the US’ Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) initiated a foreign military sale for attack helicopters worth $4.8 billion.

Although the original press release only specified the Iraqi government wanted to order 24 AH-64E Apaches, the entire package–including weapons, avionics, and 480 Hellfire missiles–suggests 30 of the helicopters will be sold.

The DCSA also green lit a lease for an estimated eight Apache’s to be delivered before the whole order is fulfilled. Apparently, US personnel must train Iraqi pilots and crew first. From the DCSA:

This will allow Iraqi Security Forces to begin training on the operation and maintenance of six leased U.S. APACHE helicopters in preparation of their receipt of new-build aircraft.

Furthermore:

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of 1 U.S. Government and 67 contractor representatives to travel to Iraq on an as-needed basis provide support and technical reviews.

The sudden AH-64 sale comes months after Iraq received 28 attack helicopters from Russia. In 2012 more than $4 billion of weapons were purchased from state-owned arms broker Rosoboronexport. Iraq and Kenya are the first international customers and recipients of the Mi-28.

Ever since US forces evacuated Iraq in 2011, the Pentagon has staunchly supported its “strategic ally,” whose oil exports go to East Asia. On the same year the US left, the incumbent administration of President Nouri al-Maliki was rocked by the so-called Arab Spring. The protests have now become a festering insurgency undermining Iraq’s cohesion and social fabric.

On February, the DCSA began another foreign military sale, which is a mechanism that allows the Pentagon to equip its allies without brokering a commercial arms deal, this time for providing air traffic control systems for the Iraqi air force’s airfields.

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