The Iraqi military has requested the US replace its Russian Mi-17 helicopters with American aircraft due to spare parts supply restrictions.
Russia has diverted most of its spare parts due to the Ukraine war efforts. This has left the Iraqi Army Aviation Command (IqAAC) struggling to operate its Mi-17 fleet, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve revealed in a report.
The Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq has initiated a process to convert the IqAAC fleet to US aircraft in response.
The Iraqi ministry of defense has approved replacing the Mi-17s with four Bell 412EPX and 16 Bell 412M medium-lift helicopters under the Foreign Military Sales program.
In addition, 15 new Bell 505 training helicopters have been requested to replace the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) aging Bell 407 and OH-58 training fleet, and 15 new Bell 407M light attack helicopters, including associated rocket and gun systems.
Under the effort, Bell and Eurocopter will provide logistics support packages, including comprehensive parts, materials, and field service representative support.
Additional Armed Helicopters
The Iraqi Army is also looking to buy additional Bell 407Ms. The platform these would replace was not identified in the report.
In addition to the Mi-17, the IqAAC operates the fleets of two more Russian helicopters — Mi-24/Mi-35 and Mi-28NE — which could possibly face spare shortages, thus requiring replacement.
The report mentions that the Iraqi Air Force’s fixed-wing aircraft have also faced shipping delays due to increased priority for Ukraine-bound shipments.