Iraq Buys $20 Million Worth of War ‘Bots

The government of Iraq continues to snap up American defense products, and is now adding advanced robots that American soldiers are currently using in combat to its arsenal.

On Sept. 26, robot maker QinetiQ North America announced that it had inked a $20 million deal with Baghdad to acquire its Talon IV ‘bot, a deal which the company says includes spares and training.

The company has already sold 4,000 variants of the Talon worldwide, and the ‘bot is designed for use with explosive ordnance disposal teams. Deliveries are expected to be completed to the Baghdad government by March 2014.

Iraq has seen a deadly resurgence in suicide bombings in recent months as Sunni extremists and al Qaeda-affiliated elements have stepped up attacks against government and Shia targets.

Almost 100 people were killed this past weekend in several attacks across Iraq, with the worst coming when two suicide bombers—one on foot and one in a car—struck a Shia funeral gathering, killing 72 and injuring over 100 others. Thousands of other civilians have been killed in similar attacks this year, and many regional experts have said that the violence is the worst the country has seen since the bloodiest days of the American occupation which ended in 2011.

The deal comes at a time of both rising violence in Iraq as well as a military spending spree by the Baghdad government, with deals being reached between Iraq and US defense contractors for more than $4 billion worth of equipment since the end of July.

The sales to Iraq includes everything from infantry carriers to ground-to-air rockets. And now, war bots.

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Paul McLeary

McLeary covers national security policies at the White House, Pentagon, the Hill, and State Department.
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