Iraqi Defense Minister Juma Inad revealed on Sunday the “imminent” arrival of French and American radar systems to bolster the country’s air defenses.
Without specifying the French system, Iraqi News Agency quoted Inad as saying that the Thales system would be linked with the country’s newly launched Air Defense Command Operations Center in Baghdad.
He added that the system “will work on high detection of hostile air targets, and will be installed in different places in the country.”
The French company, along with MBDA, manufactures the MAMBA — also known as the SAMP/T— air defense system. It can intercept “cruise missiles, manned and unmanned aircraft and tactical ballistic missiles in the 600 kilometers (373 miles) range class.”
Lockheed Long-Range Radar
The minister also said that the center would work “in conjunction” with the soon-to-arrive American-type TPS 77 radar system.
“This system is the first link to develop the air defense command and bring it to the highest levels of combat readiness to secure air control over all Iraqi airspace, as it is specific to radar detection long-term,” the outlet quoted him.
The Lockheed Martin long-range radar system has a range of over 400 kilometers (248 miles).
Inad added that the ministry is working to procure short and medium-range radars “to complete air sovereignty over all parts of the country.”
Radars Already Deployed
Meanwhile, Iraq’s Air Defense Commander Maan al-Saadi revealed that two long-range radar systems have already been deployed in the southern and western provinces of Al-Qadisiyah and Anbar.
Iraq has been seeking a modern air defense system to replace its antiquated systems from the 60s and 70s to counter emerging threats such as drones, missiles, and artillery shells fired by terrorists.
The country’s parliament reportedly allocated an undisclosed amount of money to purchase a foreign air defense system last year.