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Iraq requests $300m Bell 412EP acquisition

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 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.

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