Warplanes: The Semi-Gunships Of Iraq


June 25, 2011: Iraq has received the first two of 24 EC635 helicopters it ordered from France two years ago. This is a 2.9 ton helicopter that can carry 1.4 tons (one pilot and up to seven passengers.) Cruising speed is 261 kilometers an hour, and max air time per sortie is about 4.5 hours. The twin engine EC635 is a militarized version of the EC135. The two side pylons can carry about 137 kg (300 pounds) of weapons each. Thus the EC635 can carry four Hellfire missiles, or six HOT ATGM, or two 20mm autocannon (with 180 rounds each). A 7.62mm machine-gun can also be mounted in the side door. Iraq is paying about $20.5 million for each EC635. This is the first French military sale to Iraq since 1990.

The EC635s are being armed with French NC-621 20mm autocannon and Belgium 12.7mm machine-gun pods. South Africa is providing Ingwe anti-tank missiles. These weigh 28.5 kg (63 pounds) missiles have a max range of 5,000 meters.





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