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?

      • Ben

        Iran’s nowhere near as big a player as China. We’re not worried about pissing them off. It’s as simple as that.

        • Steven R.

          Wow there- they both have nuclear weapons and we have bases in range of their missiles. Im sure we could handle both of them at the same time at war but its better to be safe than sorry.

        • B Rad

          Yeah, weve already pissed iran off. Did you see the speach?

          • Ben

            That’s pretty normal, though. I mean exceptionally we’ll-finally-try-and-do-something-about-it pissed.

      • brian

        the funny thing about the whole issue with ROC vs PROC and trying to appease China to prevent war, is that war is more likely by not selling them advanced weapons. Selling Taiwan advanced weapons, and giving China in no uncertain terms that we will side with Taiwan in a conflict raises the cost of an operation so high they will not take a chance on it. Weakness and being conciliatory to a fascist police state doesn’t = peace or prosperity but hastens unnecessary conflict. I can easily see a situation where Chinese leaders perceiving American weakness and turmoil at home use an invasion of Taiwan to distract and unify its people.

        • Jay

          One of the problems is that in a crisis the ruling class in Taiwan might cut a deal with China and agree to unification if they can stay in charge. And then our F16s, etc go to China. This might change after the new elections, since finally a different party may gain power.
          You are correct that China is biding their time for a moment of weakness to act on Taiwan, though I am not convinced they would invade outright.

          We should still sell Taiwan the older models, after all China already got to play with the Paki F16A/B models so that cat is out of the bag. We did have plans to upgrade the A/Bs and sell Pak newer models but that may fall through…

  • Don

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

    • elportonative77

      He has not guts yet goes after and gets OBL on hey maybe he’s here but maybe he’s not, commits 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, does the responsible thing and gets UN approval for Libya so we don’t look too much like pretentious American Exceptionalism All the Way Warmongering Egotistical Red White and Muthaf**kin Blue pricks. Oh he also expanded drone strikes in the Horn of Africa and Northwest Pakistan, finally said to Pakistan, “F**k you,” and has effectively been killing off the Taliban and Al-Qaeda leadership. So yeah no guts Obama woot woot Perry/Romney all the way 2012 baby! Taking America back from…..Americans……yeah. Woot. Oh before I forget. What about China? We were indebted to them long before Obama came along. They’ve been growing phenomenally for the past 20 years and perhaps even longer depending on how you look at it. We still have the military and economic (for now) edge on them. What exactly do you propose we do to our second largest trading partner. The partner we get all our neat, cheap lead toys from and owe lots of money to. I say let China do what they want to do. Eventually they will f**k up and step on the wrong toes in Asia or will collapse due to social unrest or the inevitable bubble(s) that will burst. Why we must overexert ourselves when it comes to China I will never understand. Russia really? Israel is one tough country, has a crack military and probably a nuke or two. Do we really need to hold their hands all the time? Especially when it comes to military equipment and peace?

      • PMI

        Ever think of switching to decaf?

        • elportonative77

          Drink only water and Sierra Nevada Stout.

          • orly?

            Paragraphs, use them.

            And then some….

          • elportonative77


          • crackedlenses

            He has a point. I might have agreed with you if I could have made out what you were trying to say….

          • elportonative77

            Good to know.

      • Robert A. Fritts

        I’m still trying to figure out what a “Woot” is?

  • 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.

      • crackedlenses

        The Israeli intelligence considers the current Iraqi government to be a puppet of Iran. I don’t know if it’s that bad, but I do trust the Israelis view of the region more than ours. It’s their cities that will suffer if things go south…..

      • Jay

        Iraq is majority Shiite. The ruling coalition includes both “moderate” shiites and sunnis, but it is not stable in the long term. The shiite groups are supported and armed by Iran and want their control to reflect their numbers.

        Lebanon also had a power sharing deal among the different religious groups that collapsed into civil as the shiites gained more numbers and demanded more control there - aided by Iranian weapons.

    • bbb

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

      • Mastro

        20 years from now they will show off a twin tail F16- good for a laugh.

  • 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

  • Bowmanave

    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.

      • blight

        I think OIF taught us plenty about the weaknesses of American equipment, though the lessons skew towards shaped charges, EFPs and anti-tank mines double-stacked and buried underground.

  • 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?

    • crackedlenses

      I’m willing to be Iran has got spies in Iraq waiting to pounce on these. That’s kind of a given here….

      • Letsallbefriends

        Undoubtedly true. You can’t trust anyone these days.

  • @Earlydawn

    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.

    • crackedlenses

      Their equipment that we sold them stops being scary the precise moment they start building the parts themselves. Sorry, but they can’t match us for quality of weapons production….

    • STemplar

      Yah, except for that US BDE that will be left there for the foreseeable future, the additional BDE that will rotate through Kuwait next door. The ‘visiting’ squadrons of F-16s and F-15s, that will ‘train’ with the Iraqis, the CBG floating in the gulf, the combined expeditionary air wing typically hanging out in Oman, the Iraqis really need to worry about the Iranians.

      • blight

        I’m surprised we don’t move one of the heavy ACRs to Kuwait (like 11 ACR in Fulda) and use it in the event of a conventional ground attack by Iran.

        Any attack by Iran in the ME would have to be preceded by a massive attack on military assets all over the Middle East. With Saddam out of the picture, it’s possible the Sauds, Kuwaitis and the like would defend Iraq from an conventional attack (though no mutual defense treaties have been signed yet?)

        • STemplar

          11th left Fulda a long time ago. I have no idea what the equipment set is like in Kuwait at the moment. To date myself I do recall what was put in place at the end of Gulf War 1 which was pretty impressive. The Kuwatis paid for a pre position site that maintained enough equipment to field an over strength Mech infantry BDE, 5 BDEs total. Whether that still exists I have no idea. We routinely rotated BDE through Kuwait for training after GW1 though, and pretty much right up until OIF.

          The Kuwatis defend Kuwait by being best buddies with the USA. The Saudis would be stretched to protect Saudi. We will be providing the real defense for Iraq for a long time.

          These F-16s are more about keeping the line open I would imagine.

    • Mastro

      The AIM-54 has a better range than the AMRAAM- but it was only good for shooting down bombers/missiles- fighters could dodge it pretty easily- especially at the ranges everyone likes to quote.

      Iraq does need some kind of air force- this is a no brainer to me.

  • 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…

  • Robert A. Fritts

    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?

    • blight_

      I think the military is rightly afraid of the possibility that Taiwan might unify peacefully with China, and bring with it American hardware.

      Then some will be caught with egg on their face, and will be forced to blame Barack Obama for arming the Chinese.