Iraq signs weapons deal with US & Europe
Iraq has signed deals with the US and Europe to purchase dozens of military helicopters that will be delivered over the next two years, a defence ministry spokesman said.
Major General Mohammed al-Askari said the government had placed orders with US and European groups for what he described as “dozens” of helicopters, but declined to give a precise order number.
AFP reported that a senior military source said that “Iraq has agreed with the United States and European countries to buy more than 40 helicopters”.
“We will receive all these helicopters in the next two years,” the source said, noting that the US would supply 30 of the aircraft, mainly to be used in the fight against terrorism.
Last month, French Defence Minister Herve Morin and his Iraqi counterpart, Abdel Kader Obeidi, announced the purchase by Baghdad of 24 multi-purpose Eurocopter EC635 helicopters.
An EC635 wearing Jordanian markings
The deal for the transport helicopters, which can carry up to seven soldiers and also engage in reconnaissance and search and rescue missions, is worth $360 million.
They form part of the order mentioned by the Iraqi security source.
In addition, France is preparing to sell to Iraq six Gazelle helicopters to train Iraqi pilots, said a French source close to the deal.