Iraq has signed an agreement to purchase 18 Lockheed Martin F-16 warplanes to boost its air pressure, an agent to Pm Nuri al-Maliki stated on Monday.
The need for the offer wasn't immediately known, but a senior U.S. military official stated lately the sale up for grabs for that Iraqi government was priced at "roughly $3 billion."
Iraqi and U.S. military authorities have stated strengthening its air pressure is just one of Baghdad's top focal points as U.S. troops prepare to depart by December 31, a lot more than eight years following the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.
"Anything was signed ... and part of anything cost was delivered to the financial institution account of the organization," stated Maliki's media agent, Ali al-Moussawi.
Lockheed stated inside a statement it had been "pleased through the announcement the government authorities of Iraq and also the U . s . States" have decided on the purchase. The organization added it welcomes Iraq "because the 26th nation to use the F-16."
The Government stated it had been conscious of news reviews that Iraq had signed the agreement but didn't immediately confirm and known inquiries to Baghdad.
Iraq has lengthy searched for a combat jet because of its reconstructed air pressure. The federal government postponed an organized acquisition of F-16s in Feb to divert a $900 million lower payment to its national food ration program to assist quell street protests.
Maliki stated on This summer 30 Iraq would buy 36 F-16s, double the amount number it had initially planned, to shoreline up its weak air protection. The OPEC producer finds itself flush with cash this season, enjoying windfall profits as world oil prices have continued to be above budget forecasts.
The 2 sides happen to be settling for that F-16 Block 52 export model with sophisticated avionics and weapons inside a deal that incorporated maintenance and training, a U.S. military official stated.
Iraq is depending around the U.S. military for air support because it renews its forces and battles a persistent Islamist insurgency. Washington and Baghdad are talking about whether or not to keep some U.S. troops or military trainers in Iraq past the year-finish deadline for U.S. departure.
Iraq's two airborne defense models, the environment Pressure and Military Aviation Command, only have 158 aircraft, including 89 helis and 69 planes, contributing to 7,500 personnel, based on U.S. figures.
At the moment, it's three Cessna Caravan propeller planes outfitted with Hellfire missiles but no combat jets, a U.S. military official stated.