Congress Asked to Approve $700 Million Air Base Equipment Package for Iraq

Congress Asked to Approve $700 Million Air Base Equipment Package for Iraq

The U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress Tuesday of plans to sell the government of Iraq a set of Air Traffic Control and Landing Systems plus associated equipment, parts, logistical support, and training worth a total estimated cost of $700 million. Specifically, FAA Air Traffic Control, or ATC, Equipment Suites and Airfield Navigational Aids Suites will be sold to Iraq and set up at four air bases, in Tikrit, Al Basra, Al Kut, and Taji.

Each ATC Equipment Suite includes four ASR-11 Airport Surveillance Radars, 10 ATC Automation systems with 10 controller consoles, four AutoTrac II Airfield Support and Navigation Suites, two Primary Search Radars, and two Mono-pulse secondary surveillance radars. Each Airfield Navigational Aids Suite includes a pair of Very High Frequency Omni-directional Range systems and three Instrument Landing Systems with Distance Measuring Equipment, two Airfield Lighting Systems with Flush Mounted Lights for runways and taxiways, and one Air Traffic Control Tower Equipment Suite.

Although at least one defense contractor -- Raytheon is known to produce much of this equipment -- the AutoTrac II suite and the ASR-11 Airport Surveillance Radar for example, DSCA notes that it has not yet picked a principal contractor for this contract. However, a principal contractor "will be determined through a competitive process."

DSCA describes the purpose of selling this equipment to Iraq as aiding in "Iraq's continuing reconstruction effort and directly improv[ing] Iraq's ability to control its own airspace."

According to DSCA, "there will be no adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness as a result of this proposed sale." Nor will the sale "alter the basic military balance in the region."

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