The Iraqi government has received the consent of the U.S. Department of State to buy American weapons in the form of Foreign Military Sales (FMS) worth more than $22 billion over a 12 year period according to reports.
The United States has been Iraq’s primary arms supplier since 2005, with arms exports in 2016 including 146 M1A1 Main Battle Tanks, 36 F-16 fighter aircraft, 24 IA407 helicopters, and 9 C-130 cargo aircraft.
American arms exports to the Iraqi government last year also included an F-16 munitions package of short-range air-to-air missiles, laser-guided bombs and air-to-ground tactical missiles.
The U.S. State Department released a fact sheet on March 22 saying Congress has provided Iraq with funding of over $2 billion in the form of Foreign Military Financing (FMF) following the end of the last round of funding in 2012 by the Department of Defence.
“These funds were originally intended to build up Iraq’s long-term sustainment and logistics capabilities, and for Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) professionalization and other essential training however they were also critical to the Iraqi effort to blunt IS’s advance.”
Additionally, on March 25, the Iraqi Defence Ministry announced the arrival of four F-16 fighter jets to Balad Air Base in Salah-al-din Province as part of the deal with the USA. The defence ministry stated that “This is the fifth batch, with the new arrivals raising the total number of F-16 fighter jets in the Iraqi Air Force to 18“.