Iraq Signs Deal for 18 F-16s

So Iraq finally bought those 18 F-16s that it’s been hoping to buy for years now.

From Reuters:

The value of the deal was not immediately known, but a senior U.S. military official said recently the offer on the table for the Iraqi government was valued at “roughly $3 billion.”

Iraqi and U.S. military officials have said strengthening its air force is one of Baghdad’s top priorities as U.S. troops prepare to leave by December 31, more than eight years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

“The contract was signed … and a part of the contract cost was sent to the bank account of the company,” said Maliki’s media adviser, Ali al-Moussawi.

Lockheed said in a statement it looked forward to a partnership with Baghdad and was “pleased with the confidence Iraq places in our products.” It declined to comment on the specifics of the deal, referring questions to the Iraqi and U.S. governments.

The Pentagon said it was aware of news reports that Iraq had signed the agreement but did not immediately confirm and referred questions to Baghdad.

Iraq has long sought a combat jet for its rebuilt air force. The government delayed a planned purchase of F-16s in February to divert a $900 million down payment to its national food ration program to help quell street protests.

The piece goes on to say that Iraq and the U.S. have been negotiating for the F-16 Block 52 export model with sophisticated avionics and weapons in a deal that included maintenance and training.

Who, you may ask does Iraq need F-16s to “protect” itself from when its dealing with an insurgency that is better fought with turboprops, drones and helicopters? Hmm, can you say Iran?

  • newnauk

    So Taiwan’d been asking for F16C/D and all they get is stiff arm but somehow Iraq gets the first shot? Who’d got a more urgent air threat, Iran with their aging F-5s and grounded F-14s or China with their coming J-20s?

    • PMI

      The important question is which (China or Iran) is the US government more interested in appeasing?

  • Don

    newauk – obama has no guts. he doesn’t stand up to china, russia or israel.

  • JimS

    Iran will be crawling all over them trying to reverse engineer them in no time. They are deep in the Iraq govt.

    • William C.

      According to whom? I’ve heard there’s more guys with connections to the old Ba’ath party than the Iranians.

    • bbb

      ahah let them reverse engineer them. Iran’s military technology consists of glorified duct tape and cardboard. did you see their UAV?

  • Jeff m

    How about selling disarmed f-16s to american civilians? I have always wanted to fly in one, it seems you need to be a lucky tv reporter or something for the privilege, or I could go to russia and fly in a mig, but what is the big deal if I want to buy a harmless jet for $50 mil and sell supersonic rides around the ocean or the desert?

    • orly?

      911+possible missiles

    • VTGunner

      Well you can already buy MIG-29’s to fly in the US. Plus you can buy some L-39’s too

    • TimB

      Check out a lot of military turbines on there. F-5’s, Migs and more. But first you have to be qualified and FAA licensed for experimental jets.

  • jamesb

    I’ll go with Jim S……

    Unless the US will supply security for the jets also….

  • itfunk

    It’s darn inconvenient for the Iranians to have to go next door to take a good look at the F-16. No doubt when the next Republican admin comes along direct sales will resume.

  • Mark Pyruz

    Although they won’t admit it publicly, I’m of the opinion certain Iranians are happy with this, as well.

    If you look at the latest incarnation of the IRIA Zolfiqar MBT, I see more M1 influence since the Iraqi Army has had access to it. I think it’s a given that the Iranians now have in their possession M1 MBT technical/eference materials.

    Now the Iranian IAIO and more specifically HESA will have a back channel to American aviation technology, a level of linkage it hasn’t had in over 30 years.

    If the “iran as boogey man” is convenient for this arms package to take place, it’s no skin off the Iraqi’s or Iranian’s backs.

    -Mark Pyruz

  • What are the chances our Air Force ends up fighting against these same F-16s in the future? It has happened before…

    • STemplar

      Zero, they’d end up craters on runways, or they’d run away, like they did the last time we went to war with Iraq.

    • Jay

      We might get a go against Egyptian F16s when the muslim brotherhood takes over there. They run M1A MBTs and Apaches also.

      Destroying the Egyptian army would be a good test of the weaknesses of our own equipment and lead to new upgrades and defenses.

  • Letsallbefriends

    Selling high-tech weapons to Taiwan is always tricky for several reasons. First of all, China feels like it has to react, which sets back business or co-operation in some way (and both sides share more interests than is widely known). Secondly, it may strengthen Chinese hawks at the expense of moderates in their government at a delicate time (they’re due to get a new prime minister & president
    next year) and accelerate an arms race at a time we could do without it. Thirdly, how much do you want to bet the PRC doesn’t
    have spies in the ROC? Is there anything on the C/D you’d rather they didn’t see?

  • You guys are missing the game.

    Sell F-16s to Iraq —> Iraqi government turns over a year after we leave —> “We need more F-35s!”

  • Lance

    The Iranian threat to Iraq is far more ominous than some think. The Iranian Air Force is keeping there F-14s flying and made there own industry to make parts for them they carry AIM-54 missiles which has better range and performance than the AMRAAMs the Iraqis will have over ther F-16s. fact is too they are out numbered as well. The Iranian have also bought new MiGs from Russia to replace older US aircraft that are worn out. face it Iran could squash Iraq like a bug if it wasn’t for US forces there.

  • asdf

    will these f-16 really have the sparrow missile as it was advertised on the web?


    Selling 18 F-16s to Iraq doesn’t make any sense because it’s hardly enough to field a functional air force and secondly, once the US troops leave; Iraq will dissolve and become a satellite country for Iran which means they will have access to the F-16s.

  • Wil

    So we wont sell the F-16’s to Taiwan, but we will sell them to Iraq, ok. Maybe Taiwan should let us invade them for a few months and then they would get some new jets. Are foreign policy is so muddled. Maybe next we can teach China how to make their MIRV’s smaller and more accurate…wait I think we have already done that…

  • Why wait for a middle man(Iraq), just sell lots of Arms to Iran straight up, no checks. In fact we can fund a whole transformation of the US Armed Forces by selling as many F-35s to China as they can afford. Its the only way left to save the JSF program.


    When the US owes $Trillions to China, we’re essentially the monkey and must do whatever our master wants as we all know Obama is a thin skin spineless SOB that is willing to bend over and submit to the wishes of anyone of authority.

  • William

    Give the f16 block 52 to the taiwanese to give them better protection along their strait, besides, the iraqis need more planes against insurgency rather than foreign aggressors, besides iran?