The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified Congress of a potential foreign military sale (FMS) of M1A1 Abrams tanks and associated equipment to Iraq.
Under the estimated $2.4bn sale, Iraq has requested 175 full track M1A1 Abrams tanks with the 120mm gun modified and upgraded to the M1A1 Abrams configuration, as well as 15 M88A2 improved tank recovery vehicles, 175 .50 calibre M2 machine guns with Chrysler Mount, and 350 7.62mm M240 machine guns.
The package also includes ten .50 calibre BR M2 HB machine guns, 10,000 M831A1 120mm high-explosive anti-tank TP-T ammunition, 25,000 M865 120mm TPCSDS-T ammunition, 10,000 M830A1 120mm high-explosive anti-tank multipurpose tracer ammunition, as well as 10,000 M1002 120mm target practice multipurpose tracer ammunition and 190 AN/VRC-92 vehicular dual long-range radio systems.
The US will also supply 700 M1028 commercial utility cargo vehicles, radios, RT-1702G receiver transmitters, simulators, communication equipment, support equipment, spare and repair parts, personnel training and training equipment, and other related elements of programme and logistics support.
In a separate $579m sale, Iraq has also requested 1000 M1151A1 up-armoured high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles (HMMWVs), 1000 M2 .50 calibre machine guns, 1000 Mk19 40mm grenade launchers with universal mounts, commercial radios, communication equipment, repair and spare parts, and logistics support and other elements.
Iraq intends to use the M1A1 Abrams tanks to increase its ability to quickly mobilise and defend its border, and the HMMWVs to increase the safety, effectiveness and self-reliance of Iraqi security forces.
Approved by the US State Department, the two sales are expected to contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner.
AM General has been selected as the prime contractor for the second sale, while the principal contractor for the first programme currently remains classified and will be determined during contract negotiations.
Image: A US M1A1 Abrams main battle tank conducts an area reconnaissance around Balad, Iraq. Photo: courtesy of the US Air Force, photo by staff sgt Shane A. Cuomo.