US clears more weapons for Iraqi F-16s

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US clears more weapons for Iraqi F-16s
Jeremy Binnie, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
20 January 2016

Iraq's first F-16s were delivered in July 2015. Source: Iraqi MoD

The US State Department has approved the sale of over 16,000 bombs and missiles for Iraq's Lockheed Martin F-16 multirole fighters, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 20 January.

The package outlined by the DSCA is mostly made up of air-to-ground ordnance, the vast majority being 500 lb-class bombs. The notification listed 14,120 such bombs in an unspecified mix of MK 82 general purpose and BLU-111 penetrator versions. The approved items also include 2,400 2,000 lb-class bombs in a mix of MK 84 general purpose and BLU-117 penetrator variants.

The DSCA also listed 8,000 Paveway II laser-guidance kits to turn the 500 lb-class bombs into GBU-12 guided weapons, 250 Paveway II kits for 2,000 lb bombs (GBU-10), and Paveway III kits for 2,000 lb bombs (GBU-24). No GPS-guidance kits were listed.

The package also includes 150 AGM-65 Maverick air-to-ground missiles, 24 AIM-9M Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, and a single 20 mm M61 Vulcan cannon, one of which is carried internally by each F-16.

The latest DSCA notification also included 20 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems (JHMCS), which allow pilots to cue their sensors and weapons onto targets by looking at them. This 'look and shoot' helmet is normally associated with air-to-air combat with the AIM-9X variant of the Sidewinder, which has not been approved for sale to Iraq as yet, but can also be used against ground targets.

Together with the associated spares, training, and support services, the DSCA estimated the package to be worth USD1.95 billion, with major defence equipment accounting for USD550 million.

Iraq has ordered 36 F-16s in two tranches and received its first four in July 2015. The Iraqi Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 6 September that its new F-16s had carried out an airstrike for the first time.
US clears more weapons for Iraqi F-16s | IHS Jane's 360
 

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