Iraq’s military wants to buy as many as 30 General Dynamics Corp. Strykers in the first international sale of the eight-wheeled combat vehicle developed for the U.S. Army, U.S. officials said.
The Army is assembling cost and schedule information for a formal offer, service spokeswoman Ashley Givens said in an e-mailed statement. The proposal would be submitted to Congress for approval if it’s accepted by the Iraq government because the Stryker is a major Army weapons system.
The deal, valued at as much as $25 million, is for Stryker models equipped with sensors, test equipment and communications gear capable of detecting nuclear fallout or chemical and biological agents. The U.S. version connects with Army communications networks to alert commanders and chart routes free of contaminants.
Iraq “has seen a major upsurge of al-Qaeda in Iraq attacks since the departure of American forces, and the Iraqi government fears AQI may have been able to get its hands on chemical or even biological weapons captured from regime stockpiles in Syria,” Kenneth Katzman, a Middle East analyst for the non-partisan Congressional Research Service said in an e-mailed statement.
The sale would help Falls Church, Virginia-based General Dynamics develop new markets for the Stryker, the Army’s top troop carrier. It also would add to a buildup of conventional weaponry by Iraq that includes U.S.-made tanks, fighters, radar and patrol craft.
Raifet Ahmad, a spokesman for Iraq’s embassy in Washington, didn’t respond to a request for comment on Iraq’s need for the vehicles.
The U.S. Army has 116 Strykers specially equipped for chemical and biological detection. An additional 158 are on order or planned for order for delivery by 2014, Givens said. Altogether, General Dynamics has delivered 4,293 Strykers to the Army of 4,466 under contract, according to company spokesman Peter Keating.
General Dynamics is aware the Army is handling a request for a potential foreign sale, company spokeswoman Marie Remboulis said in an e-mailed statement.
General Dynamics rose 2.9 percent to $63.91 at the close in New York trading yesterday, trimming a decline for the year to 3.8 percent.
The pending Stryker deal is part of $7 billion in potential military sales to Iraq for which officials have submitted formal requests for pricing and availability information or deals have reached final stages, according to an official at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, who asked not to be identified discussing the private negotiations.
Those deals, if completed, would bring to $19.1 billion the value of proposed, current and completed military arms and equipment sales to Iraq, according to the U.S. embassy official and figures disclosed last month by Stuart Bowen, the U.S. special inspector for Iraq reconstruction.
Bowen’s most recent quarterly report, published Oct. 30, disclosed that potential sales also include $200 million for M1A1 tank training simulators, $60 million in upgrades for Tikrit Air Base, $40 million for tank ammunition and $15 million for upgrades to Russian helicopters.
The approved deals include a first installment of Lockheed Martin Corp. F-16 fighters and C-130J transports, General Dynamics M1A1 tanks, 35M Patrol Boats made by Swiftships Shipbuilders LLC, Bell Helicopter Textron IA 407 Helicopters and maintenance, sustainment and training for those systems, according to the U.S. Embassy official.
The Pentagon notified Congress in July of a potential $428 million sale of 12 trailer-mounted Firefinder artillery detection radar made by Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon Co.