Skip to comments.Iraqi army builds up first tank division (M1A1 Abrams)
Posted on 12/27/2010 7:02:18 AM PST by sukhoi-30mki
Iraqi army builds up first tank division
Published: Dec. 21, 2010
BAGHDAD, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- The new Iraqi army has started building up its armored forces with the first batch of 140 U.S.-built M1A1 Abrams main battle tank, the same type that crushed Saddam Hussein's military in March 2003.
The 9th Armored Division, based near Baghdad, will be the spearhead of an army that will likely have a strength of more than 300,000 troops in up to 20 divisions, six of them armored.
That's a far cry from the 1 million-man army, with 5,500 mainly Soviet- built T-72 and T-62 MBTs, that Saddam once fielded when Iraq was a major Middle East power. But the new army isn't designed to conduct the ill-fated military adventures undertaken by the power-hungry Saddam, such as the 1980 invasion of Iran and the 1990 conquest of Kuwait.
Its mission is first to crush insurgent forces and restore order and stability in the oil-rich country then to protect its borders against outside aggression.
The army received the first 11 Abrams in August. That was part of a $6 billion arms package approved by the United States in December 2008 to provide 140 M1A1s and 400 Stryker combat vehicles. Both are built by General Dynamics Land Systems.
"This step is part of preparations by Iraqi forces to take over security responsibilities and build a strong army as the U.S. withdraws," said Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Askari, the Defense Ministry spokesman.
"This delivery will help to form the military's first armored division since 2003."
The Iraqis are training crews at the Besmaya military base near Baghdad on 22 M1A1s leased from the U.S. Army, which is equipped with the more advanced M1A2.
Delivery of the rest of the 140 M1A1s is to be completed by the end of 2011, when the U.S. military is slated to wrap up its withdrawal from Iraq.
Along with the MBTs, the United States is supplying 100 support vehicles, including 35 tank transporters.
Iraq's Abrams are newly built and are equipped with infrared thermal imagers, a special air filer for the engine to deal with the sand and dust of Iraq, systems that are components of the U.S. Army's Situational Awareness standard.
But they don't have the depleted uranium armor or the Blue Force Tracker, a satellite tracking system that displays the location of all U.S. vehicles and aircraft in the Abrams' operational vicinity.
Although Iraq's military and security forces are being trained by the Americans, U.S. officials disclosed in January 2009 that the Iraqis, on American advice, planned to purchase up to 2,000 retrofitted T-72s, redesignated the T-91 and built to be interoperable with U.S. forces.
These were to be upgraded, at an estimated cost of $3 million per tank, to near-M1A1 standard with modern guns and armor as well as new fire-control systems.
That made sense since Iraqi forces were familiar with the systems as Iraqi military doctrine was built around Soviet-era weapons supplied to Saddam's regime by Moscow.
Most of the equipment used by Saddam's army was either destroyed by U.S. and British forces in the 2003 fighting or was looted in the chaos that ensued Saddam's defeat.
In 2005, Hungary, a former Soviet satellite state, agreed to donate 77 T-72s to the Iraqis. Others were expected to come from Eastern European countries such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Slovakia.
However, that idea seems to have fallen from favor with the Pentagon and whether it will be pursued to one extent or another remains to be seen.
The Abrams is more than a match for the largely antiquated armor fielded by Iran, Iraq's eastern neighbor and traditional enemy that has long had its eyes on conquest.
But supplying Iraq with M1A1s opens the possibility of its Abrams having to go up against other U.S.-built tanks in the armies of Saudi Arabia, which has more advanced M1A2s, and Turkey, which has older M-60A1s.
Right now, the possibility of that happening seems remote. But if, for instance, the bloodletting between Iraq's Shiite majority and Sunni minority flares once U.S. forces have quit Iraq, Sunni-dominated states like Turkey and Saudi Arabia could intervene to support their endangered co-religionists.
I just don’t understand why we killed thousands of Iraqis in order to build a new Iraqi Army.
Does the name "Germany" mean anything to you?
Isn’t this the same Iraq where Christianity is under siege?
Lobbyists: all your Congressmen are belong to us.
Perhaps the Pentagon Planners intend to stage Iran-Iraq II, fighting the Iranians to the last Iraqi and hopefully, the last Iranian.
If that is the case, 140 Abrams tanks are not going to cut it.
Attention Kurds: Learn Spanish and take a look at Southern California Real Estate.
I believe the U.S. rebuilt the West German military in response to the Russian creation of the East German military in direct violation of the existing agreements.(Which only proves again that agreements with bad people last only as long as those agreements are to their advantage.)
Seems like a bad idea, even with the downgrades. (Unless you’re a defense contractor.)
With Iran being literally right next door I don't really have a problem with this. As long as they Iraqis are paying in cash or oil for the hardware anyway.
Because they are pinning down the Iranians on the west.
It always gets people’s pulse going, when we sell weapons abroad. A few take aways:
1. If we ever want to leave Iraq, we have to make sure a neighbor, like say Iran, can’t just invade and take over. Giving the Iraqis superior tanks does this.
2. These will not have the superior armor, will not have the commander’s auxillary site, and will not have the gps system. In short, US M1A2’s are superior, and we should never have to worry about facing these tanks in battle.
3. Future Iraqi governments will have to play nice with us, if they want to be able to purchase ammunition, or spare parts...and these vehicles eat through parts and entire power packs like crazy.
I never see a problem with selling line of site weapons systems, to whoever wants to buy them. In an odd way, it keeps other nations on our leash. Something with a long, anonymous, one shot, no repair parts needed, reach - like a missile...that would be different.
I have seen works of fiction that had nore fact than this article.
The Strykers were canx. Iraq is getting used M113s instead.
The BTR4s are not mentioned and that is a larger order than the Strykers was.
The order for 140 M1A1s includes an option for another 140. Armor divs are ~300 tanks and Mech Divs ~200. 55 M1A1s have been delivered so far [not including the 22 loaners for training].
The IA plans 8-10 heavy combined arms divisions - not 6 Armor Divisions - 7 have already been identified.
There is no mention of the 1,026 M113 Family of Vehicles, the 120 155mm howitzers, 24 M109A5 SP 155mm howitzers, bridging/engineer equippment, etc that Iraq is actually getting.
The 2,000 T72 story was a con foisted on the MSM in 2008 by Defense Solutions. They originally tried to sell that idea in 2005. In 2008, needing investors to avoid bankruptcy, DS shotgunned a claim to have made the deal. It was denied by GoI, IMoD, and USF-I. Note: The PT-91 is just the Polish version of the T-72 introduced in 1991 and terminated by the Polish government as not cost effective after fewer than 500 were built. They are not worth 500,000 - let alone the 3 million DS wanted.
Only 18 of the planned 20 IA Divs are to be line divisions - 2 are personnel security divs guarding the President, PM, CoM, and CoR. Only 14 Divisions are in the IA ATT.
Aside from ignoring Hitler while he armed the Third Reich in preparation for the Nazi’s assault on Europe the most significant US foreign policy error in recent memory was allowing the Iran-Iraq war to go cold.
It's no guarantee of a satisfactory outcome, but a successful Iraq has to have an Army and an Air Force.
Didn’t we help another guy in Iraq arm once? His initials were S.H.
Before it’s over we’ll be fighting the enemy in tanks we gave them.
Old adage, why use a hammer when the rock fits my hand so well.........
Why can’t the Muslims build a modern weapon system?
Because of totalitarian Islam.
Modern weapon systems like everything else hi-tech in the world depends on free minds and free markets.
The Muslims have neither, which means the West has military superiority.
"But supplying Iraq with M1A1s opens the possiblity of its Abrams having to go up against other U.S.-built tanks in the armies of Saudi Arabia, which has more advanced M1A2s, and Turkey, which has older M-60A1s."
This makes no sense whatsoever..