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Iraq signs contract with U.S. to buy 18 F-16 warplanes

(Xinhua)

10:29, September 28, 2011

BAGHDAD, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Iraq has signed a contract with the United States to buy 18 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter jets, an Iraqi official said on Tuesday.

"Iraq has signed a contract with Washington to buy 18 F-16 fighter jets, and part of the contract's money was paid already to the company," an official from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's media office told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

He did not give further details about the delivery date and how much exactly has been paid yet.

On July 30, Maliki said that Iraq would purchase 36 F-16 fighter jets to bolster the country's air force instead of the previously planned 18 warplanes.

Earlier, Iraq was due to buy 18 F-16 fighter jets, but the deal was delayed to the allocation of its budget over 900 million U.S. dollars to support the country's national food ration program to help quell street protests over the country's poor basic services.

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