Iraq has requested to buy 24 Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DCSA) reported on Monday 27 January. The helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support come at an estimated cost of $4.8 billion USD.
The proposed sale also includes 56 T700-GE-701D engines, 27 AN/ASQ-170 modernized target acquisition and designation sights, 27 AN/AAR-11 modernized pilot night vision sensors and 12 AN/APG-78 fire control radars, also known as Longbow. Furthermore, 90 Apache aviator integrated helmets and no less than 480 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles are included.
The deal, of which US congres was notified by the DCSA, also means that a team of 12 US personnel (one military team leader and 11 contractors) would be deployed to Iraq for approximately three years.
The armed Cessna/ATK AC-208B Combat Caravans of the Iraqi Air Force are apparently a success. Just before Christmas another shipment of 75 AGM-114 Hellfire anti-armour missiles arrived in the Southwest Asian country, where they will be used mostly to take out Iraqi enemies of the state (suspected insurgents) with help of CIA targeting analyses.
Although originally designed to be launched from helicopters, the Hellfires have proven their combat worthiness strapped underneath armed drones in recent years. The Iraqi Air Force uses them on its three combat adapted Cessna 208 Grand Caravans, modified by ATK at Meacham Airport in Fort Worth, Texas. The counter insurgency (COIN) aircraft have been firing away ever since the first Hellfire launch by the type in Iraqi service in 2009.
The ATK improvements on the AC-208B include the STAR Mission System, to provide the typical crew of 3 with both day and night reconnaissance and fire control capabilities. Tactical displays help the crew to find their targets, while extra protective plates and a self-defence suite give the crew protection from ground fire. A laser designator and up to six sensors are stowed away in the L-3/Wescam MX-15D turret on the aircraft.
Apart from the three AC-208Bs, the Iraqi Air Force flies 3 RC-208B reconnaissance aircraft and 5 C-208B trainers. The Iraqi government also has 18 air force Cessna 172s at its disposal. The Cessna 172s are mainly flown by the 201st Training Squadron out of Tikrit (Al Sahra), while the C-208s are officially attached to the 3rd Reconnaissance Squadron at Kirkuk.
UPDATE 24 JANUARY 2014: The Government of Iraq requested another 500 AGM-114K/R Hellfire missiles.
The Iraqi Army Aviation received its first four Mi-35M Hind-Es on November 7th, 2013, with at least six more to follow as a part of the build-up a sizeable attack helicopter fleet that will include Havocs and possibly even Alligators.
Apart from the Mi-35s Iraq is getting 36 Mil Mi-28NE Night Hunters (NATO-name Havoc). Most of the aircraft are due to be delivered by the end of 2013. The status of the contract for at least 10 Kamov Ka-52 Alligators is uncertain. There are conflicting reports on the deal. Some say the Alligators have been cancelled, some say it will be a single-seat version of the side-by-side attack helicopter.
The Ka-52 is designed as an all-weather day-and-night attack helicopter for destroying enemy hard and soft ground targets, low-speed aerial targets and to eliminate enemy troops on a tactical level. It is good for surveillance missions and control of an attack combat helicopter team. Originally designed as the single-seat Ka-50 (NATO-name Hokum), the side-by-side two-seat version has given the type an unique advantage.
The Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopter is designed to carry out search-and-destroy operations against tanks, armored vehicles and personnel; to destroy protected sites and defense installations; to fly search-and-destroy operations against boats and other small naval vessels; and to combat low-speed and low-altitude enemy aircraft. The Mi-28NE is fitted with an integrated avionics suite that allows NOE flight on auto-pilot at night and in adverse conditions.
The Mi-35 is the most multipurpose helicopter of the three, being a combat asset with a small cargo haul enough to house 6 fully-equipped combat troops or a payload of 2,400 kg in addition to the crew of 2. All three helicopters have a top speed of about 161 knots (300 kmh) and can operate up to an altitude of about 16,500 feet (5,5 km).
Source: Rosobornexport / Russian Helicopters with additional reporting by AIRheads’ Marcel Burger