Report: The United States fears the emergence of Russian fighters in Iraq instead of the F-16

Report: The United States fears the emergence of Russian fighters in Iraq instead of the F-16

05/13/2021 14:25:04

Report - The United States fears the emergence of Russian fighters in Iraq instead of the F-16The American Military Watch magazine said that Russian fighters may appear in Iraq.

The publication’s authors write that Iraq today can only count on a squadron of F-16IQ light fighters, which are used with South Korean T-50 training aircraft and a small number of Russian Su-25s.

F-16IQ fighters were delivered to Iraq between 2014 and 2017, as the newspaper writes, political pressure from Washington played the main role in this deal, thanks to which fighters with questionable technical capabilities were sold.

MW experts consider this aircraft to be the least combat ready of the F-16 series, and it is armed with AIM-7 Sparrow and AIM-9L / M missiles from the Cold War era. They believe that Baghdad is forced to use such outdated weapons due to the position of Israel that does not want to see competitors ready to fight in the area, so it is not surprising that the Israeli Air Force violated Iraqi airspace several times to launch air strikes in the area.

Because of these air strikes and Baghdad’s inability to resist, Iraq began a series of negotiations over the acquisition of Russian weapons. Initially, the purchase of the S-400 air defense system was reported, and last year the media noted Baghdad’s inquiries regarding the Su-57. However, the high cost, as well as the complexity of maintaining and operating the Russian fifth-generation fighter, may have forced the Iraqi Air Force to abandon it. However, the magazine wrote that a lower class fighter could be purchased to replace the F-16 which would also reduce its operating cost.

The post says: “MiG-29 or MiG-35 can assist the Iraqi Armed Forces in gaining the skills and experience needed to control higher-class fighters such as the Su-57 or Su-30SM2.

Earlier, Baghdad used MiG-29A, which has proven itself in confrontation with Western aircraft. Now Iraq can count on the more advanced MiG-29M, which Algeria and Egypt recently requested due to lower maintenance costs and more dangerous combat capabilities, so the MiG-29M is the perfect alternative for Iraq to replace the F-16s, according to the magazine.

Such a scenario could not help but cause concern in the United States, because earlier Baghdad had already bought Russian T-90 tanks to replace the American M1 Abrams. Russian military products occupy an increasingly large share of Iraqi forces, and Russian fighters could be an effective addition to the growing number of Russian weapons systems deployed in Iraq, which include new attack helicopters and possibly long-range air defense systems.