The US and Iraq are planning the largest sale of Hellfire missiles ever
The United States is planning to sell 5000 Hellfire missiles in a $700 million deal, the largest single sale of Hellfire missiles in history, which the Iraqis will fire from AC-208 Cessna Caravan planes as well as other aircraft.
The sale comes as the United States tries to help the Iraqi government retake territory that has been captured by Sunni militants. The United States government has avoided taking direct military action in support of the Iraqi government.
Instead, the United States has been rushing supplies, including hundreds of Hellfire missiles, to Iraq in order to help the Shiite-led government fight off the jihadists who have seized large swaths of territory in areas to the north and west of Baghdad.
The deal will not only include the 5000 AGM-114K/N/R Hellfire missiles, it will also include the necessary equipment, parts, training, and logistical support required to utilize them, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement Tuesday.
“Iraq will use the Hellfire missiles to help improve the Iraq Security Forces’ capability to support current on-going ground operations,” the agency said.
The deal has been approved by the State Department, but United States law requires that the government inform members of Congress of a possible weapons sale. However, lawmakers are not expected to attempt to block the sale.
According to Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby, the United States has already delivered 780 Hellfire missiles to Iraq since January, 466 in this month alone. He also said that another 366 missiles will be delivered to Iraq in August.
Read more about the story at The Wall Street Journal.