Pentagon approves Iraq sales worth up to $6 billion

The U.S. Defense Department on Wednesday said it had approved the sale to Iraq of weapons valued at up to $6 billion, including 400 Stryker wheeled vehicles, military radios, training aircraft, 20 coastal patrol boats and 140 M1A1 Abrams tanks.

The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees major foreign arms sales, said it had notified Congress this week about eight separate arms sales agreements with the Iraqi government.

Lawmakers now have 30 days to block the sales, although such action is rare since such large agreements are usually vetted well ahead of time.

The largest of the agreements, valued at up to $2.16 billion, is for 140 M1A1 Abrams tanks, 8 M88A2 tank recovery vehicles, 64 armored Humvees, shelter carriers and other military vehicles.

The prime contractors for the vehicle sales would be General Dynamics Corp (GD.N), Honeywell International (HON.N), and General Motors Corp (GM.N).

The Iraqi government also requested the sale of 400 M1126 Stryker infantry carrier vehicles and associated equipment valued at up to $1.11 billion, the agency said. General Dynamics is the main contractor for that deal as well.

Another big-ticket arms sale involves 20 30-35-meter coastal patrol boats and 3 55-60 meter offshore support vessels, a deal valued at up to $1.01 billion, if all options are exercised, the Pentagon agency said.

It said no principal contractor had been identified yet for the patrol boats and support vessels, but the acquisition would be subject to U.S. defense sourcing requirements.

Iraq also asked to buy 26 Bell Armed 407 Helicopters with engines built by Rolls-Royce (RR.L). DSCA said the principal contractors also had not been identified. The helicopters are built by Bell Helicopter, a unit of Textron Inc (TXT.N).

The arms sales also include up to $148 million in rifles, carbines and grenade launchers; and up to $210 million in 20 T-6A Texan training aircraft built by privately held Hawker Beechcraft, but including other equipment built by Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) and a unit of L-3 Communications Holdings Inc (LLL.N).

Iraq had also requested the sale of 36 AT-6B Texan II aircraft and associated equipment, a deal valued at up to $520 million. Hawker Beechcraft, Pratt & Whitney and L-3 would be the prime contractors for that deal as well.

The Pentagon also said it had approved the 64 deployable rapid assembly shelters and a wide array of military radio equipment under an agreement valued at up to $485 million, and for which the primary contractors would be ITT Corp (ITT.N) and Harris Corp (HRS.N).

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa; Editing by Gary Hill)