With the Military Industrialization Authority announcing the production of the first Iraqi pistol, the Armed Forces Command described the efforts to revive the military industries as positive, amid the exclusion of experts that these efforts could achieve self-sufficiency in the near term.
Inside the Hammurabi factory, located in Babil Governorate, south of Baghdad, the first Iraqi pistol that was manufactured locally after 2003, after strenuous efforts that extended for long periods, saw the light.
At the end of last month, the Military Industrialization Authority announced from inside the factory that it had succeeded in assembling the first batch of a pistol, which it called “Babylon”, after declaring the success of zero production.
Following the success of the announcement, the Manufacturing Authority clarified that its ambition will not stop at this point despite the financial budget obstacles that are in its way, noting that the production of the pistol is only a first step that will be followed in the near future by the production of various types of medium and light weapons under the supervision of international companies to ensure the quality of manufacturing.
The Director General of the Military Industrialization Authority, Jalal Abbas, told Al-Hurra website that the success of testing the pistol is only the beginning of the commission’s ambition in military industrialization, saying, “In addition to the pistol, we had a successful test of the first Iraqi drone named “Saqr 1”, as well as other products such as communication devices of various types. It was preceded by night-vision binoculars, thermal cameras, and new products that will appear soon serving our armed forces.”
Abbas points out that the delay in approving the country’s general budget, as well as the weakness of the financial budget allocated to the authority, directly affect the authority’s ambition, “We need greater support and a budget that matches our aspirations.”
The Military Industrialization Authority announced the imminent launch of a rifle called “Al-Rafidain” that combines the features of western and eastern weapons, under the supervision of a Chinese company, after completing its own experiments.
The authority is also working on developing the production of drones and producing medium-range Katyusha missiles and various materiel based on the needs of the armed forces and what is agreed upon with the Ministries of Defense and Interior.
However, observers talk about the difficulty of achieving the steps of reviving the military industries for self-sufficiency in the short term, even though it will reduce the armament budget, which costs the country more than five billion dollars annually.
According to the Armed Forces Command, Iraq aims, through the Military Industrialization Development Project, to reduce the burden of importing weapons on the state budget, by supporting the security forces with locally manufactured weapons at low prices compared to the importer.
The spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Yahya Rasoul, said in an exclusive statement to Al-Hurra that the security ministries would resort to buying large quantities of these weapons as an ideal solution to compensate for the high costs of importing these weapons from outside Iraq.
And he indicated that “the security ministries will have a large share in the issue of purchasing these weapons, which contribute to supporting the armed forces. When we import weapons, their prices will be doubled, but when you manufacture them in Iraq and with the same specifications that are produced globally, they will contribute to the process of supporting the forces with weapons and materiel that we need, especially since we do not We are still chasing ISIS gangs.”
While the security and military expert, Major General Majid al-Qaisi, in a statement to Al-Hurra website, does not rule out the possibility of achieving self-sufficiency in the field of armament in the long term and ensuring the quality of manufacturing for internally manufactured weapons, he pointed out that this matter depends on the provision of appropriate infrastructure and the existence of a strategic government vision that ensures the continuity of moving forward These efforts are based on previous local experiences and internationally reputable companies in this field.
He pointed out that the manufacture of weapons is not new to Iraqi capabilities, explaining that “this is not the first time that Iraq has succeeded in manufacturing weapons because it has decades of experience in this field.”
He added that “this step is important to meet the needs of the security forces in the future,” but he stipulated that there be certain indicators for the continuity and success of that industry, saying, “if these industries continue according to a specific approach according to a strategic plan in order to meet the needs of the security forces, and quality and efficiency remain subject to field experiments and tests to show their quality and effectiveness and its durability.”
Diversify the sources of armament
The former Parliamentary Security and Defense Committee had announced Iraq’s intention to diversify its sources of armament by signing agreements with parties from the eastern and western camps, while security experts believe that Iraq is now compelled to develop weapons manufacturing activity and move towards reviving military industries, because its armament options have become limited after the failure of agreements Armament with Russia because of its war on Ukraine.
The security expert, Amir Al-Saadi, points out that global developments postponed the Iraqi armament contracts and directed the country to attempts to revive its war industry, adding that “the outbreak of the Russian war on Ukraine and the confusion of the global scene was reflected in the Iraqi armament contracts signed with several countries, so the government began to think seriously about the neighborhoods of the industry.” To provide light and medium weapons and ammunition, at least, in the coming days.”
Amid the efforts to diversify the sources of armament, the Iraqi government is moving strongly to strengthen the military air force by seeking to conclude a deal with France to buy a squadron of “Rafale” aircraft, which has been talked about for a long time since 2020 until now.
In a recent press interview, Iraqi Defense Minister Juma’a Inad revealed that Iraq had succeeded in obtaining a local loan to buy 14 French-made “Rafale” planes, indicating that the price of one plane is 200 million US dollars.
The minister’s statements come after he made a visit to France last November, which came as part of Baghdad’s plans to diversify the sources of Iraqi weapons. The visit, according to Inad, resulted in a preliminary understanding to buy French weapons, the most important of which are “Rafale” planes, an air defense system and helicopters.
Iraq currently has 95 combat aircraft of American, Russian, South Korean and Czech origin, all of which the country contracted after 2003.
However, this number, according to specialists, is not sufficient to secure the Iraqi airspace and carry out strikes against enemy targets, especially since the country possesses large areas of desert.