Iraq to get 10 Russian Night Hunters

Iraq to get 10 Russian Night Hunters
Sun Jun 30, 2013 17:02:36

Russia will supply over 10 fully armed and equipped Mi-28NE Night Hunter attack helicopters to Iraq under a multi-billion dollar agreement.

Russia and Iraq signed a $4.3 billion agreement on cooperation in the defense and technology sector in 2012, and this is the first time the number of Night Hunters under the contract has been disclosed.

The deal was signed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in October 2012 -- 10 months after U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq -- during a visit to Moscow.

Alexander Mikheyev, deputy general director at Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, said that the helicopter contract also covers pilot and technical personnel training and the delivery of essential weapons systems.

This is the first contract with Iraq under the package agreement, he added.

The Russian government says the deal, one of the biggest arms sales Moscow has made in several years, also involves  and 42 Pantsir S-1 short-to-medium range surface-to-air missile systems worth $2.3 billion.

Meantime, Maliki has ordered 36 F-16 Block 52 F-16 combat jets from Lockheed Martin, enough for two squadrons, to form the backbone of Iraq's new air force. Deliveries are to start next year.