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Pakistan to supply Iraq with Super Mushshak basic trainers

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF)-run Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) at Kamra, just north of Islamabad, signed an agreement with the Iraqi Air Force (IQAF) on 10 February to supply an unspecified number of its Super Mushshak basic trainer aircraft to Iraq: the first ever aircraft deal between the two countries.

The agreement was signed by IQAF Commander General Anwer Hamad Ameen Ahmad Ahmed and Air Marshal Suhail Gul Khan, the PAC chairman, at the Islamabad residence of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who witnessed the signing.

Although the PAF did not publicly reveal the number of aircraft ordered or their price under the agreement, a senior defence ministry official told IHS Jane's that Pakistan will sell 20 Super Mushshak aircraft to the IQAF. The official added that a separate agreement was signed between the PAF and the IQAF under which the PAF will train Iraq's air force personnel, including those with air defence duties.

"This is a major success for our aircraft industry. After Saudi Arabia, this is the second important agreement for the Mushshak aircraft," said the official, referring to a previous deal for the sale of 20 Super Mushshaks to Saudi Arabia.

Both Pakistani and Western officials in Islamabad suggested the Super Mushshak deal could lay the basis for a possible future agreement to supply Iraq with the JF-17 Thunder fighter, which is co-produced by Pakistan and China. Pakistan has marketed the JF-17 as a relatively economical alternative to Western aircraft.

IHS Jane's recently reported that Pakistan was also in discussions with Saudi Arabia regarding the supply of an unspecified number of JF-17s and Al-Khalid main battle tanks.

"In the long run Pakistan will surely look for opportunities to export the JF-17 to Iraq if there was such an opportunity in future," one Western official in Islamabad told IHS Jane's . "That could be the natural next step to the agreement [for the Super Mushshak] with Iraq."

The PAF plans to induct between 150 and 250 JF-17s, with final deliveries expected by 2018-20. Any future agreement to supply Iraq - or any export customer - with JF-17s could only involve immediate deliveries in this timeframe if the PAF opted to delay some of its own orders.

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