- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Obama administration plans on having a U.S. presence in Iraq of roughly 1,000 troops and advisers to protect its embassy in Baghdad, but deployed personnel won’t lack firepower — Apache helicopters will be at their disposal.

Rear Adm. John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, announced Tuesday that in addition to the Apaches, unarmed surveillance drones will help U.S. personnel and Iraqis gather intelligence on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Agence France Presse reported.

Apache helicopters are capable of firing Hellfire missiles and 70 mm rockets. The aircraft includes a 30mmautomatic cannon with up to 1,200 high-explosive, dual-purpose ammunition rounds.

Aerospace company Boeing, which manufactures the aircraft, also says that the radar-equipped AH-64D Apache Longbow can classify and prioritize up to 128 targets in less than a minute.

Currently there are about 475 U.S. military personnel deployed to Iraq for security purposes, AFP reported. Adm. Kirby said that the Obama administration has approved sending up to 300 more military advisers to augment the 180 currently in Iraq.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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