Iraqi Navy

Iraqi Navy
Iraq Navy
Flag of Iraq.svg

National flag as ensign.
Active founded 1937
2004 Iraqi Coastal Defense Force
12 January 2005 name returned to Iraqi Navy
Country  Iraq
Branch Navy
Size 1,500 naval
800 marines
Part of Joint Forces Command (JFC)
Headquarters Camp Victory
Equipment 85+ Patrol and Coastal Combatants
3 Support vessels
0 aircraft
Iraq (orthographic projection).svg

The Iraqi Navy is one of the components of the military of Iraq currently being reconstructed by UK-US Coalition forces in Iraq. Its primary responsibilities are the protection of Iraq's coastline and offshore assets. Initially called the Iraqi Coastal Defense Force, its official name was changed on 12 January 2005.[1]

As of February 2011, the navy has approximately 5000 sailors and marines which form an Operational headquarters, 5 afloat squadrons, and two marine battalions.[2]

Headed by Rear Admiral Muhammad Jawad, the navy had plans to build six Al Uboor-class patrol boats in Baghdad, with the first of the boats to enter service in September 2005. This project however, was ultimately canceled. Additionally, two Assad-class corvettes built for Iraq in the 1980s by Italy were originally planned to be delivered sometime around 2006–2007. The ships however, were found to be in a worse state than originally believed, forcing the Iraqi navy to reconsider the deal and instead buying 4 newer, smaller modified-Diciotti class vessels. The 5 British corvettes and 1 Soviet patrol boat operated by the Saddam-era Iraqi Navy were destroyed in the 2nd and 1st Gulf Wars respectively.

At the moment, the Iraqi Navy is designed for coastal water protection; stopping the smuggling of people, oil and weapons; and to protect the country's oil platforms. As a result, the Iraqi Navy mainly needs patrol boats-these could be backed up by fast attack craft. The patrol boats need to have the ability to launch RIBs for boarding ships and also possibly be able to accommodate a helicopter which would increase its patrol capability. The Iraqi Navy is building a second Marine battalion.[3]



Kingdom of Iraq

The Iraqi Navy was formed in 1937 as a small four-ship force headquartered in Basra. Between 1937 and 1958, it was primarily a riverine force.

Republic of Iraq, pre-Saddam

Following the 14 July Revolution of 1958, the Iraqi navy began to expand. Operationally based in the port of Umm Qasr, the Arabic Gulf Academy for Sea Studies was established in Basra, which offered a bachelor's degree in war and engineering naval studies. By 1988, the Iraqi Navy grew to a force of 5,000, but played a relatively small role during the 1980–1988 Iran–Iraq War.

Republic of Iraq, Saddam

Between 1977 and 1987, the Iraqi Navy received eight Osa class missile boats, equipped with Styx missiles, from the Soviet Union. It also purchased four Lupo class frigates and six Assad class corvettes from Italy, although these were never delivered because of international sanctions following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.[4]

In September 1980, after Iraq's invasion of Iran (Iran-Iraq War), Iran launched a massive blitzkrieg-style air attack, Operation Kaman-99 (named after the mythical Persian/Iranian archer Arash Kamangir), it involving the bombing of hundreds of military bases in Iraq. In this operation, 70% of Iraq's navy was either destroyed or grounded. However, due to the West's constant selling of weapons (including poison gas) to Iraq in order to defeat Iran, the losses were quickly replaced.

The Iraqi Navy was almost completely destroyed during the Gulf War of 1991. The Iraqi Navy had 19 ships sunk and 6 vessels damaged. In total, more than 100 Iraqi ships were destroyed. The Navy was not rebuilt and played no role in the Iraq War (2003). Of the units that remained by late 2002, most were in a poor state of repair and the crews were in a poor state of readiness.[5]

Republic of Iraq, post-Saddam

In January 2004, the Iraqi Coastal Defense Force (ICDF) officially began training its first 214 volunteers.

On 1 October 2004, the ICFD began coastal patrol operations.

On 11 November 2008, Rear Admiral Muhammad Jawad signed the historic non-legally binding Khawr Abd Allah Protocols or "KAA Protocols" at the Kuwait Naval Base.[6] The protocols were the concept of the British Royal Navy in 2008 when in command of Combined Task Force 158 operating in the northern Gulf region and specifically within Iraqi territorial waters for the protection of the Iraqi oil terminals Al Basrah Oil Terminal and in support of Iraqi maritime boundaries. They are a non-legally binding military agreement aiding deconfliction between the maritime forces of Kuwait and Iraq in the Khawr Abd Allah waterway and are reflected in a former United Kingdom Hydrographic Office chart and which was re-titled the "KAA Interoperability Admiralty Chart".

The protocols were developed, written and mediated by a British naval lawyer, Major David Hammond Royal Marines, working alongside the heads and staffs of both the Kuwaiti Navy and Iraqi Navy and which saw the historic first meeting on board a British warship HMS Chatham (F87) on 8 May 2008. The protocols were historically ratified and signed on 11 November 2008 at Kuwait Naval Base in the presence of Vice-Admiral Gourtney USN, commander of the United States Naval Forces Central Command based in Bahrain and remain an enduring success story in the region highlighting co-operation and co-ordination between the two countries.

On 30 April 2010, Iraqi naval forces took over responsibility for the protection of the Khawr al-Amaya and Basra oil terminals, as well as the ports of Umm Qasr and al-Zubair.



Iraqi Naval Headquarters: Baghdad (Camp Victory).

May move to Umm Qasr.

Operational Headquarters: Umm Qasr

  • Tactical Operations Center: Khawr al-Amaya Platform
  • Tactical Operations Center: Al Basrah Platform

Naval Training Center: Umm Qasr

  • NCO Academy
  • Swiftboat Crew Training Course

Maritime Academy: Basrah

Diving Squadron: Umm Qasr


Patrol Squadron: Umm Qasr

PS701, PS702, PS703, PS704, PB301, PB302, PB303, and 5x U/I PBs.

Patrol Squadron: planned

Patrol Squadron: planned

Patrol Squadron: planned

Small Boat Squadron: Umm Qasr

Squadron equipped with American Defender Class boats.

Support & Auxiliary Squadron: Umm Qasr


1st Marine Brigade Special Troops Battalion: Basrah Log City

In December 2010 was redesignated 1st and moving to Basrah Log City. Reached full strength in 2011.

  • 1st Marine (Wolverines) Battalion: Umm Qasr
  • 2nd Marine Battalion: Umm Qasr/Az Zubayr
  • 3rd Marine Battalion: Basrah Log City
  • 1st Marine Bde Base Support Unit: Basrah Log City

2nd Marine Brigade Special Troops Battalion: planned



Umm Qasr:


Umm Qasr, Iraq (Sept. 30, 2004), Iraqi Sailors celebrate as they get underway for the first time.

1,500 sailors and officers, in addition to 800 in the Iraqi Naval Battalion (marines) who guard the platforms.

Commanders Dates
Rear Admiral Ali Hussain Ali 2009 to present
Rear Admiral Mohammed Jawad 2004 to 2009


Iraqi Predator Class patrol craft in 2004
An Iraqi patrol craft in Manama, Bahrain prior to being delivered to the Iraqi Navy

Patrol and Coastal Combatants

  • 4 53.4-meter Saettia MK4 class offshore patrol vessels (PS 701),(PS 702), (PS 703), (PS 704)
  • 6 of 15(option for 3 additional) 35-meter Swiftships Model 35PB1208 E-1455 (P-301), (P-302), (P-303), (P-304), (P-305), (P-306), (P-307), (P-308), (P-309), (P-310), (P-311), (P-312), (P-313), (P-314), (P-315)
  • 5 27-meter Predator Class patrol boats (P-101), (P-102), (P-103), (P-104), (P-105)
  • 64 PBRs
  • 10 river patrol boats (PBR)

On 15 February 2006 the Iraqi Navy signed a $101 million contract with the Italian Government to provide four Saettia MK4 class Offshore-Patrol Vessels.[7][8][9]

The Saettia MK4 class is a modified Diciotti class offshore patrol boat, as originally used by the Guardia Costiera. The vessels are to be built by Fincantieri at Riva Trigoso, with modifications including increased crew capacity of 38. The contract also comprises the provision of logistical support and crew training with each crew completing a 7 week training course. In cooperation with the Marina Militare (Italian Navy), each commissioning crew is provided with a week’s bridge simulator course at the Academy in Livorno.[7]

In May 2009, the first vessel, Patrol Ship 701 named Fatah (Arabic for Opening), was handed over at the Muggiano, La Spezia shipyard. The crew hand been training since January 2009, and would now be heading for Umm Qasr, a 20 day/5,000 nautical miles journey via the Mediterranean, Suez Canal and Red Sea.[8] There, additional training will be completed, before the vessel takes over duties from the British Royal Marine patrols, who will then revert to a training role of new crew.[8] The vessels will be used to patrol the exclusive economic zone, control maritime traffic, for search and rescue and fire fighting.

On September 2009, the Iraqi Navy awarded a $181 million contract to Swiftships Shipbuilders of Morgan City, Louisiana for the construction of 9 coastal patrol vessels.[10] The vessels are purchased under Foreign Military Sales.[11] The Iraqi Navy is expected by the end of the year to award a $109 million contract to build two 60-meter Off-Shore Support Vessels. The FMS program will contribute $82 million. The ships will provide logistical support for securing the oil platforms, to the Interceptor boats and more than 60 Fast Attack boats. Lieutenant Abdul, the captain of patrol boat 301.

The five 27-meter Predator Class patrol boats: (P-101), (P-102), (P-103), (P-104), (P-105); were purchased used from Taiwan. Built in Taiwan and delivered in 2002, they were to be the new ICDF's first ships and were to be purchased under the oil-for-food program. Due to their military compatibilities they were not allowed to enter Iraq until 2004. They are aged and delivered barely seaworthy.[12]

Support Vessels

  • 1 offshore supply vessel
    • Al Shams (Sun):[13]

September 2006, an Iraqi marine company will deliver a new ship (Al Shams or the Sun) which was bought from Iraqi aquatic transportation company to be employed as guiding afloat station across the sea in order.

  • 2 offshore support vessels

Future procurement

See also


  1. ^ John Pike. "Iraqi Navy". Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq – February 2006 Report to Congress,". 17 February 2006. p. 45. Retrieved 26 May 2008. 
  3. ^ DJ Elliott (4 July 2008). "Iraqi Security Forces Order of Battle: July 2008 Update". The Long War Journal. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Iraqi Navy". Global Security. 7 September 2005. Retrieved 25 May 2008. 
  5. ^ "Iraqi Navy". 
  6. ^ "Press Release". 2 December 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Iraqi Navy Patrol Ship 701 named Fatah handed over at Fincantieri". 16 May 2009. Retrieved 16 May 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c Owen, Richard (16 May 2009). "Iraq's fledgling navy takes possession of its first naval patrol boat". London: The Times. Retrieved 16 May 2009. 
  9. ^ "Patrol Vessel". Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  10. ^ 10-Dec-2009 12:49 EST (10 December 2009). "Swiftships to Build Up Iraqi Navy’s Coastal Patrol Capabilities". Retrieved 13 November 2010. 
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^

External links

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