Iraq plans to acquire S-400 Triumf air defense systems

Iraq is planning to speed up the acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 Triumf (NATO reporting name: SA-21 Growler) air defense system (ADS), according to the Iraqi newspaper Al Sabaah.

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S-400 Triumf air defense system (Picture source: Army Recognition)

"The issue [of the probable S-400 acquisition] has already been discussed with responsible officials at the General Command of the [Iraqi] military. The [potential] deal is now waiting for approval to be made by Prime Minister," the chairperson of the Iraqi parliament’s Committee on Defense and Security Issues Adel Abdul Mahdi told ‘Al Sabaah’ on April 18.

According to him, the deal may be supported and finalized by the new Iraqi coalition government that will be established at an early date. "The Committee will endorse the decision of the [future] Iraqi government in this field. We will advise [the government] in a proper manner. We cannot operate only Western-made weapon systems as the country needs to diversify the sources of its armament acquisitions," said Adel Abdul Mahdi.

In January 2020, Karim Alawi, a member of the Committee on Defense and Security Issues, told the United States-based Wall Street Journal newspaper that the country would weigh the potential acquisition of the S-400 from Russia; however, any contracts had not been signed by the moment.

The air defense network of the Iraqi military appears to be relatively poor. According to the Military Balance 2019 report published by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the Iraqi Air Defense Command has fielded 24 Pantsir-S1 (NATO reporting name: SA-22 Greyhound) self-propelled anti-aircraft gun-missile systems, several M1097 Avenger short-range air defense systems, Igla-S (SA-23 Grinch) man-portable air defense systems, ZU-23-2 23 mm anti-aircraft guns, and S-60 57 mm anti-aircraft guns.

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