Magazine article Newsweek

Target: U.S. Choppers

Magazine article Newsweek

Target: U.S. Choppers

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Hosenball and Dan Ephron

Six U.S. choppers (including two belonging to a private security company) have crashed in Iraq since Jan. 20, killing a total of 27. Investigators have concluded four were shot down and are still sifting through the debris of the fifth crash site. (The sixth crash had no fatalities.) The Pentagon says publicly it's too early to determine whether the surge points to new tactics by insurgents. But a U.S. counterterrorism official said it looks as if some Iraqi fighters have been getting special training lately on how to down helicopters. The official, who asked for anonymity because of the sensitive subject matter, indicated that intel analysts were divided over the question of Iranian involvement in the training and that evidence so far was not conclusive. He said low-flying helicopters are being brought down by what amounts to small-arms fire--insurgents aiming machine guns or even rifles at the chopper's vulnerable spots. Some intel analysts believe insurgents have acquired armor-piercing ammunition that can be especially effective against helicopters, according to the official.

Part of the problem is that helicopters are vulnerable at almost any altitude. "Any time you're low, you are exposing yourself to some small arms. Any time you're high, you are exposing yourself to the SAMs [surface-to-air missiles]," said Col. Robert Quackenbush, a veteran Army officer who has flown both Apaches and Black Hawks. Quackenbush said pilots chart different flight patterns every day depending upon intel about insurgents on the ground. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.