Hybrid Warfare: Iraqi Forces Add Russian Machine Gun to US Abrams Tank

US Army M1A2 Abrams battle tank is pictured during a joint military drill


Iraqi forces have attached Russian machine gun plus Iranian ammo to American Abrams tank in order to achieve maximum effectiveness in their fight against ISIL.

An MIA1 main battle tank, one of 146 frontline tanks that the US sold to Baghdad, has been equipped with a Russian.50-caliber machine gun and Iranian-stamped 12.75-mm ammunition, according to a source at the repairs facility where the tank was dropped off for repairs, website Defense News reported.

The US-Russian tank hybrid has unnerved the Pentagon. According to the officials the hybrid could result in violations of Iraq’s FMS agreements with Washington, due to unauthorized use by Shiite militias and the unsanctioned addition of the Russian gun and Iranian ammo.

“Any time you do a foreign military sale, there’s a requirement that you do end-use monitoring, and it’s a violation if you do alterations,” Vice Adm. Joseph Rixey, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) told Defense News.

But according to Iraqi officials Iraq must do what needs to be done in fight against ISIL. “Iraq has been dependent on a number of different weapons suppliers; therefore they have integrated these weapons onto different platforms to achieve effectiveness,” Dr. Wathaq al-Hashimi, director of the Iraqi Group for Strategic Studies told Defense News.

He further elaborated that the “Russian systems were placed on American M1 Abrams tanks specially with armor-piercing rocket systems to be used against ISIL explosive cars used in their attacks.” “In Beiji [in Northern Iraq], there were 28 explosive cars used in one day and in Ramadi 15 cars were blown on another day,” al-Hashmi said.

Iraq has a long history and experience in weapons and hybridization, al-Hashimi said, noting that Iraqi military experts receive weapons from American, Russian, Iranian and European sources.Washington has also expressed concern about the weapons falling into someone else’s hands other than the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).

On this note, retired Israel Air Force Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, former head of Israeli military intelligence, said he would not be surprised if Hezbollah forces in Iraq or even Syria had access to American MBTs.

“It’s not surprising, because the Iraqi Army and the Shia militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force and some American Special Forces are now fighting against the same enemy,” Yadlin said, Defense News reported.

US Considers $600 Million Arms Sale to Iraq: Official Report

The US Department of State has approved a potential sale of M1A1 Abrams tank ammunition, equipment, parts and logistical support to Iraq that would cost $600 million.

 WASHINGTON, October 21 (RIA Novosti) – The US Department of State has approved a potential sale of M1A1 Abrams tank ammunition, equipment, parts and logistical support to Iraq that would cost $600 million, according to a report from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency [DSCA].

“This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a strategic partner,” the DSCA Monday report read.

“This proposed sale directly supports the Iraqi government and serves the interests of the Iraqi people and the United States,” the report added.

Although the sale has yet to be finalized, the State Department is considering General Dynamics-Ordnance Tactical Systems in St. Petersburg, Florida to be the prime contractor.

The foreign military transaction is meant to help support the military balance in the region, as well as to help develop and integrate a ground defense capability. Iraq has requested thousands of arms and ammunition, that include anti-tank munitions and ammunition for the tank’s gun.