Iraqi Army may replace Russian Helicopters with US Models

By John Lee.

The Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I) at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad has been working with the Iraqi Ministry of Defense to convert the entire fleet of the Iraqi Army Aviation Command (IqAAC) to U.S.-produced aircraft in order to simplify parts acquisition, maintenance, and training.

This quarter, the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) provided an update on multiple pending FMS cases to modernize the IqAAC helicopter fleet that have been approved by the MoD and are now with U.S. implementing agencies for action, including:

  • 15 new Bell 505 (pictured) training helicopters to replace the ISF's aging Bell 407 and OH-58 training fleet. (FMF)
  • 15 new Bell 407M light attack helicopters, including associated rocket and gun systems, avionics, and pilot/maintainer training, to replace the ISF's aging 407 fleet. (Iraqi funded.)
  • 4 Bell 412EPX and 16 Bell 412M medium lift helicopters to replace the Russian-made Mi-17 fleet due to inability to acquire spare parts due to the war in Ukraine. (Iraqi funded.)
  • Contracted logistics support package from Eurocopter providing comprehensive parts, materials, and field service representative support to include over-the-shoulder technical support, training, and advising. This is the first Eurocopter field service representative case for the ISF. (Iraqi funded)
  • Contractor logistics support package from Bell, to include comprehensive parts, material, and field service representative support that will replace the existing Bell support case and will cover all Bell airframes. (FMF) USCENTCOM said a letter requesting an estimate for the cost and availability of additional Bell 407M light attack helicopters is with the IqAAC awaiting approval.

The Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) also reported that due to the war in Ukraine, the IqACC's ability to access spare parts for their Russian-designed Mi-17 helicopters is constrained as most spare parts are going to support Russian military efforts in Ukraine and there are restrictions on buying Russian-made parts.

(Source: Operation Inherent Resolve)

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