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.
As of February 2006, the navy has approximately 800 sailors and marines which form an Operational headquarters, two afloat squadrons, and two marine battalions.
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.
Iraq's navy fleet contains the following ships:
1,500 sailors and officers, including 800 in the Iraqi Naval Battalion (marines) who guard the platforms.
- 5 Predator Class patrol boats
- 4 Saettia MK4 class offshore patrol vessels
- 1 offshore picket vessel; Al Shams
- 35 fast assault boats
- 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.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.
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. 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. The vessels will be used to patrol the exclusive economic zone, control maritime traffic, for search and rescue and fire fighting
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