Thursday, July 24, 2014

ISIL seizes 50 U.S. artillery batteries and up to 4,000 U.S. PKC machine guns

ISIL seizes 50 U.S. artillery batteries and up to 4,000 U.S. PKC machine guns

World Tribune | July 22, 2014

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has been bolstered by the seizure of a fleet of U.S.-origin artillery batteries.

Officials said ISIL has captured a huge amount of U.S. combat platforms and equipment deployed in military bases in northern Iraq.

They said ISIL was already using combat ground vehicles and artillery acquired during the advance by the Al Qaida force in June.

“The booty could help ISIL transform into a military,” an official said.

The extent of ISIL’s new U.S.-origin arsenal was determined by the U.S. military’s Central Command in early July. The 120-page review, already submitted to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, cited the loss of more than 50 155mm artillery batteries sold to the Iraq Army. The M-198 artillery was said to have a range of nearly 35 kilometers.

“The assessment is that ISIL has also taken plenty of shells for the howitzers,” the official said.

ISIL has also captured 1,500 Humvee combat vehicles. The review said the Humvees were armored and could withstand light arms fire.

Another U.S. weapon seized by ISIL was identified as the PKC machine gun. The U.S. military has assessed that the Al Qaida force could have taken up to 4,000 machine guns, a 1960s-era weapon designed to fire 800 rounds per minute.

So far, ISIL has used the Humvees in operations in Iraq and neighboring Syria. Officials said ISIL could find fuel for the Humvee fleet from its vast oil wells in Syria.