Iraq has requested the possible purchase of 12 Bell 412EP helicopters, with the type being eyed as a new search and rescue asset for the nation's air force.

Worth an estimated $300 million, including personnel training, spare parts and logistics support, the potential acquisition is being sought via the US government's Foreign Military Sales funding mechanism.

 Bell 412EP - Bell Helicopter

Bell Helicopter

The rotorcraft would carry mission equipment including a weather radar, FLIR Systems Star Safire III electro-optical/infrared sensor turret and VHF radios, and have a night vision goggle-compatible cockpit.

"This equipment will provide the Iraqi air force with a search and rescue capability critical to developing a mature air force," the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency states in a 25 July notification to Congress.

Iraq's military era, post-Saddam Hussein, has already acquired several aircraft types from the USA, including Beechcraft King Air 350ER utility and reconnaissance aircraft, armed Cessna AC-208s and Lockheed Martin C-130E/J transports.

Baghdad also has a confirmed order for Lockheed F-16C/Ds. Flightglobal's Ascend Online Fleets database reveals its air force helicopter fleet comprises six Aerospatiale-built SA342 Gazelles.

Source: Flight International