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IRAQ BUYS RUSSIAN JETS

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Su-25s Bought After F-16 Delays
By Harold Hutchison

Iraq has bought a number of used Sukhoi ground-attack planes from Russia as delays have sprung up as the delivery of F-16 fighters. The Russian fighters were provided within a week of the Iraqi government signing a contract.

According to media reports, the Iraqi government has already acquired at least five Sukhoi Su-25 ground attack planes, known by the NATO code name “Frogfoot.” The deal was signed last week, as Iraq had reportedly grown frustrated with the pace of deliver of the American-built Falcons.

The Iraqi government signed a contract to purchase 36 F-16 fighters in 2011, months before the total pullout of American forces from that country. The Falcons sold to Iraq, designated F-16IQs, reportedly lack a number of modern weapon systems, like the AIM-120 AMRAAM, relegating them to using the older AIM-7 Sparrow. The F-16IQs also cannot use the GPS-guided Joint Direct Attack Munitions.

The Su-25 Frogfoot saw action in the Russian war in Afghanistan, and also was flown by the regime of Saddam Hussein. The Russians and Soviets produced 1,024 of those planes, which have served with over two dozen countries.