Iraq to spend almost US$1b in latest weapons deal with US

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 May, 2014, 9:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 May, 2014, 9:50pm


The United States plans to sell nearly US$1 billion worth of war planes, armoured vehicles and surveillance airships to Iraq.

The deal included 24 AT-6C Texan 2 light-attack aircraft, a Beechcraft turboprop plane that has .50 calibre machine guns, advanced avionics and can carry precision-guided bombs, the Pentagon said. The aircraft and related equipment and services are valued at US$790 million.

The Pentagon's Defence Security Cooperation Agency told Congress on Tuesday of the planned sale, which will go ahead unless lawmakers block the deal.

"The proposed sale of these aircraft, equipment and support will enhance the ability of the Iraqi forces to sustain themselves in their efforts to bring stability to Iraq and to prevent overflow of unrest into neighbouring countries," the agency said in a notice.

The sale is the latest in a series of US weapons deals as Baghdad seeks to bolster its armed forces amid rising violence linked to al-Qaeda militants and sectarian divisions between the Shiite-led government and Sunnis.

This week's deal also included 200 "up-armoured" Humvee vehicles with machine gun mounts, valued at US$101 million, and seven aerostats, or tethered airships, for surveillance valued at about US$90 million.