Iraq May Spend $790 Million on Beechcraft AT-6C Strike Aircraft
The U.S. has approved an Iraqi request for 24 Beechcraft AT-6C Texan II turboprop strike aircraft. Together with associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support, the sale would be worth an estimated $790 million. Iraq is the first announced customer for the AT-6, which lost the controversial U.S. Air Force contest for a Light Air Support (LAS) aircraft to the Embraer A-29 Super Tucano.
In addition to the aircraft, the package would include two spare P&WC PT6A engines and two spare ALE-47 countermeasure dispensing systems and/or two spare AAR-47 missile launch detection systems. In comparison, the initial 20 Super Tucanos the U.S. is supplying to Afghanistan via the LAS process are costing $427 million, according to prime contractor Sierra Nevada.
In a rather less expensive potential acquisition, Iraq might buy seven aerostats and 14 Rapid Aerostat Initial Deployment (Raid) tower systems from Raytheon for surveillance. This deal would be worth $90 million, including spares, support and training. The Raid system uses 55-foot-long, 10,200-cu-ft aerostats made by TCom, and telescoping towers that can extend to 100 feet above the ground. The aerostats and towers are equipped with Flir Systems Star Safire video cameras.