March 31, 2012
Iraq is acquiring an array of missiles and other sophisticated systems for the 36 Lockheed Martin F-16s it's buying to build an air force but Washington is reluctant to provide Baghdad with the most advanced U.S. weapons.
Iraq is also acquiring 100 supersonic AIM-9L/M Sidewinder heat-seeking, air-to-air missiles and 150 medium-range AIM 7M/H Sparrow radar-homing missiles. Both are manufactured by Raytheon.
Iraqi military sources say the Pentagon wouldn't sell Baghdad the latest version of the Sidewinder, nor Raytheon's AIM-120 all-weather, beyond visual range Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile -- AMRAAM -- which has replaced the Sparrow with the U.S. Air Force.
The AIM-9L/M-8/9 that Washington is prepared to sell Baghdad is a generation behind the AIM-9X in service with the U.S. Air Force.