On Thursday, America's Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced (link opens in PDF) that it has notified Congress of plans to make a "foreign military sale" to Iraq of multiple bomb and weapons detection systems, generally identified as "backscatter X-ray systems."

Specifically, DSCA intends to sell Iraq:

  • 90 M45 RAPISCAN Mobile Eagle High Energy Mobile System Vehicles manufactured by OSI Systems (NASDAQ:OSIS).
  • 40 M60 RAPISCAN Mobile Eagle High Energy Mobile System Vehicles, also from OSI.
  • 70 American Science and Engineering (NASDAQ:ASEI) Z Backscatter Vans.

In total, and including the cost of training and support services, spare parts, and related equipment, the 200 mobile X-ray vehicles are valued at $600 million.

Justifying the sale, DSCA advised Congress:

[T]his proposed sale ... will contribute to a stable, sovereign, and democratic Iraq. The purchase and use of these systems will [increase] Iraq's ability to defend critical infrastructure and reduce terror and insurgent activities. The Z Backscatter vans will be used to scan vehicle interiors and will provide the Government of Iraq a tool to restrict the ability of insurgent and terrorist groups to operate by detecting contraband movement through borders and checkpoints.

This being the case, DSCA explained that "this proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country." Furthermore, "the proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region," nor result in any "adverse impact on U.S. defense readiness."