Imagery of a knocked out Iraqi Army M1A1M Abrams main battle tank (Al-Anbar News)
According to IHS Janes:
At least one video has emerged showing an Abrams 'brew up' after being hit by an ATGM during fighting this year in the western province of Al-Anbar. Militants operating in Al-Anbar have also released images of numerous attacks on other Abrams tanks, including ones involving a 9K11 Kornet ATGM, RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and a M70 Osa rocket launcher. The latter is a Yugoslavian weapon that has been widely used by insurgents in neighbouring Syria, but is rarely seen in Iraq.
Only one sequence of images posted on a pro-Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) Twitter account on 6 June appears to show an Abrams actually being destroyed. A militant is seen placing a charge on the tank and an object is also thrown into an open turret hatch. Flames are then seen coming out of the hatches. The fate of the crew is unclear.
Another sequence posted on 28 May purportedly shows the same militant placing a charge on or in the turret of another Abrams in a hull-down position. While the extent of the damage caused by the resulting explosion is unclear, the fact that militants are repeatedly getting close to the tanks suggests the vehicles lack adequate infantry support.
Other types of armoured vehicle in service with the Iraqi Army appear to have suffered higher attrition rates than the Abrams. Militants have released many images showing destroyed or captured Humvees, M113 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), and mine resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles.
The US official also said that six Iraqi helicopters had been shot down and 60 damaged in combat between 1 January and the end of May. This represents a significant proportion of the Iraqi Army Aviation Command's assets. Another helicopter was shot down by a light anti-aircraft gun (LAAG) over Al-Saqlawiyah on 16 June; its two crew members were killed.
It is unclear what helicopters the Iraqis have lost, but militants have released footage shot using an infrared camera of heavy machine guns or LAAGs bringing down at least two Mi-24/35 combat helicopters carrying out low-altitude rocket attacks.COMMENTARY: The Iraqi Army that was built up as part of an investment that cost $25 billion dollars was not primarily intended as an instrument fighting an urban war against irregulars, but to present a bulwark against Iran. For years this writer pointed out the folly of this orientation, as the Shia-Iraqi government in Baghdad and Tehran were sure to maintain a linked relationship. During the current crisis, that is now more apparent than ever.
News that the United States is only contemplating a limited airwar against ISIL targets in Iraq is sure to disappoint the Baghdad government. The rationale provided to the media is a lack of targets. However it must be conceded there exists a rough equivalent of similar type targets in Iraq as there were in Afghanistan during the initial, sustained air bombardment of Operation Enduring Freedom. It appears the Obama administration has a number of reasons for this decision, including political sensitivity toward potential collateral damage and the highly sectarian nature of the current conflict in Iraq.
If the U.S. airwar is going to be limited primarily to assassination strikes, it may be assumed Iraq's war against ISIL and its allies will take on, from the Baghdad/Damascus/Tehran perspective, a similar rendering of conflict encountered and pursued in the adjoining Syrian theater of war. Likely, that will inevitably render Baghdad seeking Iranian assistance in tactical and operational expertise, training and logistical support.