State Department Clears Sale of 46,000 Tank Rounds for Iraq

An Iraqi Army soldier learns how to drive an M1A1 Abrams Battle Tank as part of an armored column.

United States Forces - Iraq, Deputy Commanding General (Advising and Training) by Spc. Breanna Pierce

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An Iraqi Army soldier learns how to drive an M1A1 Abrams Battle Tank as part of an armored column.

The pending sale would bolster the Iraqi Army, which has been fighting Islamic State militants all year. By Marcus Weisgerber

The U.S. State Department has cleared a $600 million sale of 46,000 120-millimeter armor-piercing tank rounds for the Iraqi Army’s M1A1 Abrams tank fleet.

The proposed deal is latest in a series weapon sales between Washington and Baghdad announced in recent months designed to bolster Iraq’s fledgling military, which suffered embarrassing losses to Islamic State militants (ISIS) earlier this year. The Pentagon has announced nearly $10 billion in arms sales to Iraq this year alone.

The possible sale announced on Monday includes 10,000 M831 120-millimeter high-explosive anti-tank munitions (HEAT), 10,000 M865 120-millimeter kinetic energy (KEW) warheads, 10,000 M865 120-millimeter KEW-A1 and 16,000 M830 120-millimeter HEAT-MP-T tank ammunition. 

“The proposed sale of the ammunition and support will advance Iraq’s efforts to develop an integrated ground defense capability to support a strong national defense,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the arm of the Pentagon that oversees foreign military sales, said in a statement on Monday afternoon. “This will enable the Iraqi Government to sustain its efforts to establish and maintain stability.”

The Iraqi government must formally accept the deal before contract is finalized. At that point, a delivery schedule is typically determined.

The United States has been helping rebuild Iraq’s military since the 2003 American-led invasion, which ousted then President Saddam Hussein. Among the equipment delivered were 140 General Dynamics M1A1 Abrams tanks for the Iraqi Army. More than two-dozen of those Abrams have reportedly been damaged in recent months during the fighting with ISIS.

Other Iraqi weapon sales cleared this year include:

  • Helicopter Sustainment for Bell 407, OH-58 Kiowa and Huey helicopters, valued at $500 million.
  • 5,000 Lockheed Martin Hellfire missiles, valued at $700 million.
  • 200 AM General Humvees, valued at $101 million.
  • Seven Raytheon Aerostats, valued at $90 million.
  • 24 Beechcraft AT-6 attack planes, valued at $790 million.
  • Air traffic control systems, including radars, for four bases, valued at $700 million.
  • 24 Boeing Apache helicopters and mission equipment, valued at $6.17 billion.
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