Iraq could be poised to expand its fleet of US-sourced tactical transports under a proposed $1.5 billion deal to purchase six Lockheed Martin C-130Js.
The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency has notified Congress of the possible foreign military sale, which it says involves six US Air Force baseline-standard stretched-fuselage C-130J-30s.
A total of 28 Rolls-Royce AE 2100D3 engines are also included in the proposal, plus eight AAR-47 missile warning systems and eight ALE-47 countermeasures dispensing systems. The deal - which still requires Congressional approval - also includes training services, spare parts and support equipment.
"The Iraqi air force intends to use the C-130J aircraft for intra-theatre support for its troops [and] to provide humanitarian relief operations," the DSCA says. "Purchase of new transport aircraft will provide Iraq with the ability to operate seamlessly with US, NATO and coalition forces."
Baghdad's move to acquire new-build C-130Js comes as a surprise, as its new air force has previously obtained three secondhand C-130Es via the USA's excess defence article framework. The current aircraft (one pictured below) are based at Iraq's New Al Mathana air base.
© US Air Force
If confirmed, the new deal will also represent the first sale of the new-generation C-130J to a Middle Eastern customer, although Israel is also believed to be close to purchasing the type.