Sept 21, 2011
The United States is “very close” to sealing a deal to sell 18 F-16 fighter jets to Iraq, a top Pentagon official announced Wednesday.
Iraq had frozen the $4.2 billion deal earlier this year amid the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings, but the prospects were “promising” for the contract to now move ahead, said General Russ Handy, head of the US air forces in Iraq.
“They are seeking to buy a larger number of F-16s (than) they had originally, up to 36,” he told reporters.
“This first letter of offer and acceptance is for 18 of them, so we hope to hear very soon, but no final word yet on that.”
The US military mission in Iraq is winding down ahead of a complete pullout of American troops by the end of the year but Washington is keen to sell as much equipment to Baghdad’s fledgling security forces as possible.