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Iraq takes more armed Bell 407GT helicopters

Posted 9 May 2019 · Add Comment

Iraq is to buy five armed Bell 407GT helicopters to offset the combat losses of seven of its armed Bell IA-407s in recent years, writes Jon Lake.

The Bell 407GT is the designation given to the armed version of the Bell 407GX.
In a notification of the sale to Congress in October 2018, the US Defense Security Co-operation Agency (DSCA) wrote: “The addition of five Bell 407GX helicopters will help compensate for the combat loss of seven IA-407 helicopters in recent years, and increase the Iraqi Security Forces’ combat effectiveness against the Islamic State and other terrorist elements in Iraq.”
The Iraqi Army Aviation Command received three unarmed T-407s for training in 2010, and then received eight batches of three armed IA-407s from August 2012 to April 2013.
Three further aircraft (the prototypes) were initially retained in the USA. These took the total to 27 IA-407s, and 30 Bell 407s in total.
In a lower-profile procurement initiated in February 2015, 16 Bell 407GX helicopters were delivered to BBM Inc of Reno, Nevada, to be operated in Iraq for a variety of missions from casualty evacuation to reconnaissance. Some reports suggest that these unarmed aircraft are operated by the 200th and 500th rotary training squadrons at Al Taqaddum/Habbaniyah.
The latest Iraqi Bell 407 procurement was announced by the DSCA on October 4.
The new helicopters will have a range of weapons, sensors and systems integrated via a Tek Fusion Global Inc (TFGI) Pathfinder mission management system (MMS) and an Ares weapons management system (WMS).
They will be fitted with a six-station Dillon Aero mission-configurable aircraft system (MCAS) weapons ‘plank’.
Weapons systems included comprise FN Herstal M240 7.62mm and M3P 12.7mm machine guns; General Electric GAU-19 12.7mm Gatling guns; and M260 70mm rocket launchers configured to fire the BAE Systems advanced precision kill weapon system (APKWS), a laser-guided conversion of the Hydra 70mm rocket that has been used by the Iraqi Air Force and the army since December 2016.
The new aircraft are to be equipped with night vision goggle (NVG)-compatible lighting, ballistic seat and cockpit armour, an MX-15Di electro-optic/infrared (EO/IR) sensor turret, RF-7850A secure communications radios, AN/ALE-47 countermeasure dispensing systems, AN/AAR-60 MILDS automatic plume detectors, and IR-suppressing exhaust systems.
 

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