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Iraq to boost armed Bell 407 fleet

Iraq has requested a potential acquisition of five Bell 407GX armed helicopters via the US government's Foreign Military Sales programme.

Iraq's configuration will incorporate BAE Systems' advanced precision kill weapon system 70mm guided rocket – incorporated with an M260 launcher, plus .50cal and 7.62mm machine guns, according to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Other mission equipment will include an L3 Wescam MX-15Di electro-optical/infrared sensor and countermeasures dispensers, while the rotorcraft will also receive an exhaust infrared suppression kit, night-vision goggle-compatible cockpit and ballistic protection for its crew.

"The addition of five Bell 407GX helicopters will help compensate for the combat loss of seven IA407 helicopters in recent years and increase the Iraqi security forces' combat effectiveness against ISIS and other terrorist elements," says the DSCA, which values the proposed deal at $82.5 million. "Providing Iraq with this capability supports US security goals by furthering the Iraqi Army Aviation Command's ability to counter terrorism and protect critical infrastructure."

The US Department of State has approved the potential sale, which now requires Congressional support to advance further.

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US Army

Iraq's current army aviation inventory includes 24 armed Bell 407s and three examples used for training, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. These were acquired from the USA via its FMS programme from early this decade in an armed scout configuration (pictured).

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