Thursday, May 15, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 15 May 2008

From MNF-I, Iraqi Security Forces Obtain New Counter IED System.

BAGHDAD — Coalition military police forces here will soon be freed up on extra convoy duties that Iraqi security forces will take over.

As of 2006 the Government of Iraq has engaged in a $51 million contract to purchase 411 Symphony counter-improved explosive device jammers. After numerous technical and administrative delays fielding is now underway within the Baghdad area of operation.

“Along with tier one and two vehicles the system will also be distributed to a number of Iraqi forces as well,” said Coen McFarland, Program Office Liaison. “These forces include the Iraqi Special Operation Forces, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of the Interior elements to include the Iraqi Army, police, national police and explosive ordinance disposal units.”

The contract was funded through Foreign Military Sales for the Symphony systems. Along with the 411 Symphony systems which cost around $78,000 a piece the contract will include a nine month support and sustainment contract from original equipment manufacturer Lockheed Martin to ensure the units function properly and the Iraqis can properly utilize the systems to their full advantage.

“If an electronic module is determined as faulty, a spare is provided while the module is repaired at depot level which will then be cycled back into the spares to replace what was taken,” said McFarland. “They will also be providing the most up to date electronic threat fill that will determine how the system operates when in use.”

The system is already up and running in a few vehicles with more slated within the next month and the rest of the systems to be fully employed by summer.

“To field the remaining systems this summer the fielding efforts will be transitioned from here to Taji,” said McFarland. “The Taji National Depot will be our long term Symphony installation and maintenance facility after the transition.”

The new Symphony system along with freeing up additional coalition troops will provide many added benefits to the Government of Iraq in the near future.

“This system will afford the Iraqi security forces long tern, independent counter-IED protection and relieves coalition troops from this responsibility sot he latter may perform other tasks,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Willie Flucker, MNSTC-I Theatre Symphony program manager. “This system is a critical part of security transition from the Coalition forces to the Government of Iraq and integral to developing ISF into a long-term partner in the global war on terror.”