US approves $870 million sale of Hellfire missiles to Iraq

US approves $870 million sale of Hellfire missiles to Iraq
This April 23, 2008 US Navy photo shows an MH-60R Seahawk firing a Hellfire missile during training near San Diego, California.

WASHINGTON - The US State Department has approved the sale of 5,000 Hellfire missiles to Iraq as Baghdad tries to fend off militant Islamist forces.

The deal is valued at US$700 million (S$869.92 million), the Defence Security Cooperation Agency said on Tuesday.

Iraq had requested 5,000 of the air-to-ground missiles, which are manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp and enable helicopters to battle tanks and other armored vehicles. Much smaller Hellfire shipments have already been sent to Iraq.

Parts, training and logistical support are part of the new deal.

Iraq's US-trained and -funded army has unraveled as Sunni insurgents have taken swathes of northern and western Iraq.

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