Procurement: Iraq Makes Every Purchase Count


February 26, 2022: Iraq is again expanding the list of countries it buys weapons from. Currently Iraq is negotiating with France to buy armed UAVs and fourteen Rafale jet fighters. Iraq is also seeking UAVs from Pakistan. Iraq is ordering more T-90S tanks from Russia. Iraq already has 73 T90S tanks purchased in 2016. Iraq is buying some Super Mushshak trainer aircraft from Pakistan. These can also be armed as used for ground attack.

Iraq regularly buys military equipment from a large number of countries. Since 2003 Iraq has purchased armored vehicles from the United States, Russia, the Czech Republic, South Korea, Poland, Turkey, Germany, Ukraine, France, South Africa and Britain. Artillery has been purchased from the United States, and Brazil. Aircraft have been purchased from the United States, Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Canada, South Korea, Serbia, Germany and China. Anti-aircraft systems have been bought from Russia, the United States and Sweden. Portable anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles have been bought from the United States, Sweden, Germany and Russia.

The obvious reason for obtaining weapons from numerous nations is diplomatic. Trade in general does this but weapons acquisition establishes a better relationship with other nations, making it possible to obtain some diplomatic or other assistance when needed

Unofficially, buying from so many different countries is often an opportunity for corruption. These is a lot of corruption in Iraq, so much so that it has become a source of much popular unrest. Many countries will increase their usual price to account for additional fees that go to the Iraqi officials who arrange the purchase.

Having so many versions of the same equipment from different nations also complicates and increases the cost of supporting all those different systems. That provides more money for corrupt officials to steal. The impact of that is often not felt until Iraq is called on to use those systems in wartime and they are not operational.

Some weapons systems are used heavily and frequently reordered. For example, in 2014 Iraq ordered another 500 AGM-114K/R Hellfire II missiles. The K model is for use against armored vehicles while the R model has a warhead that is effective against personnel and structures, as well as lightly armored vehicles. Iraq has some helicopters, trainers and recon aircraft that can be equipped with Hellfire and a growing number of these helicopters and airplanes have been so equipped.

For the 2014 shipment Iraq paid about $160,000 per missile. This includes training, spare parts and technical assistance installing Hellfire in some types of Iraqi aircraft.


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