Iraqi Air Defense Commander Lieutenant-General Maan al-Saadi revealed in an interview that the country may receive “advanced modern” air defense systems this year.
Without revealing the supplier’s identity, the commander told Iraqi News Agency that “contracts were signed” recently “to support the Air Defense Command and raise combat capabilities.”
The revelation comes over a month after al-Saadi told the outlet that the government was looking to obtain upgraded anti-drone systems to counter the threat posed by small unmanned aerial systems.
“We have anti-drone systems to deal with small drones, but they are limited and few, so the government, headed by the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, seeks to obtain a better quality of these systems to address all the threats that affect officials and vital places in Iraq in Baghdad and the provinces.”
Plan to Bolster Air Defense
The lieutenant-general said that the country possesses systems to counter long and medium-range missiles and artillery shells but requires more of them.
He added that the Iraqi military’s air defense branch made a capacity-building plan to bolster its air defense and presented it before the defense council for approval. He said that air defense officials had selected some foreign-made air defense systems after field visits.
Iraq has long been seeking a modern air defense system against a range of threats such as drones, missiles, and artillery shells. The country’s parliament reportedly allocated an undisclosed amount of money for the system last year.
Iraq’s Quest for Foreign Systems
Head of the Iraqi parliament security and defense committee, Hakim Al-Zamili, told Amman-based Al-Ghad in 2018 that the country is seeking the Russian S-400 air defense system, as the US was “unwilling” to provide systems that ensure “comprehensive protection.”
“That is why Iraq needs to have its own systems,” he added. “It is our right to obtain them.”