U.S. and Iraqi Air Force airmen fly in formation during a 2011 training flight with T-6A trainers. More advanced T-6C models were approved by the Pentagon as part of a nearly $1 billion package of military equipment for Iraq. (Senior Airman Tyler Placie/Air Force)
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has cleared a nearly $1 billion package of aircraft trainers, surveillance aerostats and up-armored Humvees for the Iraqi military.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress Tuesday that the State Department approved the sale.
The largest part of the deal is 24 Beechcraft T-6C Texan II trainer aircraft. The turboprop aircraft and related services and equipment is estimated to cost $790 million.
“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 neighboring countries,” a DSCA notice states.
Iraq already flies the T-6A trainer. The T-6C has hard points on the wings and advanced avionics.
The aircraft are used to train pilots before they move to larger, more sophisticated aircraft. Iraq has already inked a deal to buy 36 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters. The first Iraqi F-16 made its initial flight last week.
The US Defense Department also green-lighted the sale of 200 AM General up-armored Humvees, which is valued at $101 million. The vehicles will be fitted for .50-caliber machine guns, communications gear and training equipment.
The vehicles “would facilitate progress towards increasing Iraq’s ability to defend its oil infrastructure against terrorist attacks,” the DSCA notice states. “Iraq will use the [Humvees] to increase the safety, effectiveness and self-reliance of the Iraqi Army’s Oil Pipeline Security Division.”
DoD also approved a $90 million sale for seven Raytheon aerostats and 14 deployment towers.
The systems would increase “Iraq’s ability to provide protection of national level command and control sites, military installations, and other critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks,” the DSCA notice states.