So Iraq finally bought those 18 F-16s that it’s been hoping to buy for years now.
The value of the deal was not immediately known, but a senior U.S. military official said recently the offer on the table for the Iraqi government was valued at “roughly $3 billion.”
Iraqi and U.S. military officials have said strengthening its air force is one of Baghdad’s top priorities as U.S. troops prepare to leave by December 31, more than eight years after the invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.
“The contract was signed … and a part of the contract cost was sent to the bank account of the company,” said Maliki’s media adviser, Ali al-Moussawi.
Lockheed said in a statement it looked forward to a partnership with Baghdad and was “pleased with the confidence Iraq places in our products.” It declined to comment on the specifics of the deal, referring questions to the Iraqi and U.S. governments.
The Pentagon said it was aware of news reports that Iraq had signed the agreement but did not immediately confirm and referred questions to Baghdad.
Iraq has long sought a combat jet for its rebuilt air force. The government delayed a planned purchase of F-16s in February to divert a $900 million down payment to its national food ration program to help quell street protests.
The piece goes on to say that Iraq and the U.S. have been negotiating for the F-16 Block 52 export model with sophisticated avionics and weapons in a deal that included maintenance and training.
Who, you may ask does Iraq need F-16s to “protect” itself from when its dealing with an insurgency that is better fought with turboprops, drones and helicopters? Hmm, can you say Iran?