Tuesday, July 05, 2005


The Associated Press has this catalogue of helicopter losses in Iraq in 2005.

  • June 27, 2005: A U.S. Apache AH-64 attack helicopter crashed in Mishahda, north of Baghdad, killing both pilots.
  • May 31, 2005: An Italian AB-412 helicopter crashed eight miles south of Nasiriyah, killing four Italian troops aboard in what a spokesman said was likely an accident.
  • May 26, 2005: Insurgents shot down an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter near Buhriz, north of Baghdad, killing two U.S. soldiers.
  • April 21, 2005: A Russian-made Mi-8 helicopter is shot down by missile fire north of Baghdad, killing 11 people, including six American contractors, U.S. and Bulgarian officials say.
  • Jan. 26, 2005: A CH-53 Sea Stallion transport helicopter crashed in bad weather in western Iraq, killing at least 31 Marines aboard.

The Washington Post carries this story about the loss of an MH-47 Chinook in Afghanistan on June 29, 2005.

A large U.S. military helicopter crashed Tuesday afternoon while carrying 17 American troops to reinforce a counterterrorism mission in eastern Afghanistan, U.S. officials confirmed. "Initial reports indicate the crash may have been caused by hostile fire," the military said in a statement this morning. ... Afghan officials said the CH-47 Chinook helicopter was hit by a rocket while flying over Konar province, near the Pakistani border. A purported spokesman for the Taliban Islamic militia asserted responsibility for the attack. U.S. and Afghan forces "quickly moved into position around the crash to block any enemy movement toward or away from the site," the statement today said. "Coalition aircraft remain overhead."

It's only a matter of time before there is speculation about whether the insurgents are being supplied with newer and more effective MANPADs by nations eager to see the US fail in its war on terror. Readers can compare these to the tempo of Soviet aviation losses in Afghanistan most of which were probably caused by US-supplied MANPADs (Stinger). The Taliban have now claimed that the MH-47 lost trying to rescue the SEAL team in contact with the enemy was shot down by a "new weapon". According to the New York Times:

The unit of four commandos was investigating reports of sighting of Taliban fighters last Tuesday when it encountered and engaged a large force of enemy and, under fire, called for additional support. Reinforcements were sent that afternoon aboard the Chinook that crashed as it approached the battlefield, probably brought down by a missile.

A video purportedly showing insurgents in Afghanistan shooting down a Chinook helicopter surfaced on the Web today, according to the SITE Institute, for Search for International Terrorist Entities, which tracks terrorist Web sites. Last week, a spokesman for the Taliban movement, Abdul Latif Hakimi asserted that Taliban fighters had used a "new weapon" to shoot down a Chinook in Kunar Province, and had videotaped the incident.

Hakimi's claim should be taken with a grain of salt. Most helicopter losses to missiles occur when the aircraft is either taking off or setting down and not when they are transiting en route. At sufficiently low altitudes and airspeeds unguided projectiles (like machinegun bullets or RPGs) can down any helicopter and no countermeasures are possible against it. What about 'new weapons'? The real weakness of MANPADs is their limited engagement horizons and the difficulty of netting them into an integrated air defense environment. A MANPAD operator trudging along with his unit will have no idea that a helicopter will be on him until it is almost too late. Low flying, fast helicopters flying evasively have a statistically small probability of blundering into a MANPAD operator ready to fire and looking in the right direction. But the MH-47's loss occurred at its most vulnerable, when it was descending into a combat situation. If ever there were a shootdown that did not require a new weapon, this was it.

(Speculation alert) But that does not mean that enemy MANPAD-based air defenses cannot be improved. If he were provided with a missile launcher with a long-standby time capable of being cued by networks of aircraft spotters carrying communications devices linked to a GPS device, the effectiveness of the enemy air defense would increase by an order of magnitude. Enemy missileers and machinegunners could get one or two minute's warning and the relative bearing of an incoming threat -- and that would prove deadly for the helicopter. Electronic warfare could nullify such devices but perhaps such a threat had never been tactically encountered before. Any new enemy weapon which played a part in the hunt for the SEAL recon team would likely be a new communications device.


Blogger usually mellow said...

Quick note on GPS functionality in the hands of the enemy is the notion of 'selective avialability'.

In 2000, President Clinton issued a decreee turning off the selective availability feature of the GPS system.

However, the military/NCA has the option to degrade the signal on a regional basis for commercial users of the technology.

Can anyone here confirm whether or not the civilian GPS signal Afghanistan (as well as Iraq) is being degraded to deny the enemy the ability to fix their position?

Link to President Clinton's 2000 decision:

7/05/2005 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

There is no reason why antiaircraft missiles should not be availabe in Afghanistan,left over from the Soviet invasion.Similarly Iran and Syria could have supplied them,theseare not particularly top secret or new.
If the operator was up on the mountainside with a vantage point of the box canyon a range of 5000 metres would allow plenty of advance warning.There are some unconfirmed reports of the helicopter being hit from above.

7/05/2005 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Spotters with a comm link to the shooters,a complete network waiting for reinforcements to arrive. Chinook = big slow target.

SA-16 or SA-18 seems to be top of the line Opfor technology from the Warsaw Pact days. I think that is what AQ used in Africa against the El AL flights. 7 to 8 km range, IR guided.
The Chicoms have similar tech in their QW-2 6km range, IR & .57 kg warhead.
The French Mistral missle also has similar capability, but looks a bit larger.
All are supposed to be functioning equals to the US Stinger missle.

The Taliban will be stepping it up a notch if has inventory of any of these type missles.
Flares and other types of diversionary tactics will have to begin to be employed if this is the case.

7/05/2005 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

Wretchard leaves open the question of who would be supplying any "new devices", either missile or communication.

Is North Korea rich enough to be exporting? Does China care enough to get involved?

The two countries who have the technology (even if it isn't particularly new to the U.S.) and are desperate for money are France and Russia.

Am I leaving anyone out who deserves a nomination?

7/05/2005 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

sure the Syrians and the Iranians, they both have access to the technology and neither are our friend. In fact the Iranians think we are supplying the bombers that attempted to disrupt the elections there. Then again I hoped that we had.

7/05/2005 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger Eye eye eye said...

Admire the Belmont Club, but don't you realize terrorists read it too? I would delete some of these analyses.

7/05/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

Judging from today's reports on the missing recon team, it now seems like the Taliban probably overran the team at or near the extract LZ, thus having an ideal shot at the Chinook as it came in close. It was dark, the SEAL team had proably popped off one of those infrared strobes that guided the bird right into the KZ. What delivered the kills hot? Maybe a missile did the trick, but an RPG could have easily done it under the same conditions. My jury is still out on this one.

7/05/2005 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

A thorny problem indeed, one that has not escaped notice. I had a chat with a rep from a major U.S. helicopter manufactuer while attending a DoD school in the late 80's. He said that the company had decided to focus on other areas for military contracts in the future, because they had concluded the helicopter's utility on the battlefield was going to become too limited. Manpads do not seem to be much of a problem for jet attack aircraft because they are too difficult a target to hit, carry countermeasures, and are tough enough to keep flying if they are hit.
Manpads are a worry for commercial aircraft, and one serious proposal to address this is to provide an area defense around major airports using high power energy microwave weapons.
Tests were done against Sidewinders using airborne lasers back in the the early 1980's. Plans are being made to equip the F-35 with a turret-mounted laser weapon, using the space and power designed for the VTOL lift fan. I could see F-35's one day orbiting above helicopters, getting ready to pick off any missiles fired.

7/05/2005 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

By the way, "mellow," during Desert Storm, SA was turned off in order to enable the US military to employ thousands of low cost off-the shelf civillian grade GPS receivers. Production of the full military capability models was being delayed due to concerns over reliability. So we went out and bought thousands which had no reliability requirements at all....

7/05/2005 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Bearing in mind that the Afghans were supplied with Stinger missiles to use against the Soviets,there will be many who are conversant with the technology.
There will be vast amounts of surplus weaponry unaccounted for in the former Soviet Union,it is quite possible that the Manpads and those trained to use them could come from Chechnya.
Whilst is is prudent to conjecture that Manpads are in the hands of the opposition and take the neccessary precautions.If they do then lives may be saved,if they don't, nothing is lost.
Either way it is only a matter of time.

7/05/2005 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

This is good.

7/05/2005 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Wild Bill said...

The cat has already been let out of the bag.. Someone leaked that the arhabi have been tinkering with the timers on their RPG's to use as anti-aircraft weapons.. That isnt to say that as close as they are to the Red Border, that they arent getting a donation or two from the Reds..

7/05/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Read in a few places that AQ teams--or their trainees--brought down the Somalia/Mogadishu choppers ("Blackhawk Down") with some field-modified RPGs.

7/05/2005 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Thanks Buddy. Great find. That is good.

7/05/2005 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Missiles left over from the SOviet times would be noticeably degraded by now. Newer weapons are certainly a possibility, though.

7/05/2005 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Minh-Duc said...


This new weapons maybe simple as modified air-to-ground rockets, such as the old 57mm rockets used on Mi-24 Hind. This type of rocket has longer range, higher velocity, and much more accurate. However, it need some serious modification; otherwise it is as risky to the operator as the aircraft he try to take down.

7/05/2005 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger jinnderella said...

If we can intercept encrypted data, we can tell by the code where the coms mecha came from...sov style is my guess.
the supplier? NK...Iran? ;)

7/05/2005 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

The CH-47 has turbofan engines mounted on either side of the fuselage. These supply power via shafts to a gear box that drives both the forward and rear blades. A missile hit in either engine would cause the aircraft to fall from the sky, not travel a mile or more before crashing like the news articles said. Sometimes the crashes are spectacular as shafts break and one rotor has a lot more power than the other - the bird flips over and rolls. I have photos of these - sometimes just a soldier's ID card in the shaft housing is enough to cause a shaft failure.

The CH-47's great weakness is its hydraulic system. It has lines everywhere. The large size of the craft and the long runs from compressors to reservoirs to motors means that not only is it vulnerable but a hit in a line will cause the aircraft to have to set down. And once its down, its down. The most important spare item to carry on a CH-47 is hydraulic fluid.

The other great vulnerability is altitude and payload. 10,000 feet is very high for a CH-47. And 16 men plus a full combat load is a lot of weight.

The final vulnerability is the terrain itself. Its hard, rocky, and not flat.

The US supplied stingers are now dead weight due to the loss of coolant for the IR seeker. No one is going to lug it around unless they know for sure it will work.

A good light infantry commander (Co+ or higher ) in mountainous terrain worried about slow-movers can set up interlocking heavy machine gun positions on the military crest of hills along avenues of approach and put out observers on key terrain. The NVA and VC brought down a lot of US Aircraft with 12.7MM MG and good weapon siting. And it makes good military sense to control key terrain anyway.

Another thing a good commander will do is fight the recon battle. Aggressive patrolling and good overwatch positions are critical. Linking observation positions to the CP with telephone wire would be a neat low-trick as well.

7/05/2005 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

One of the crticisms leveled at the Army one frequently hears about is regarding Blackhawk Down was how predictable they had become.

So the skinnies were ready. As has been noted here it doesn't take a whole lot of weaponry to bring down a helicopter when it is landing or hovering.

It is a matter of adapting. In football (American) the offense can perfectly execute a given play but if the other side has chosen the correct counter-play (by noticing something, by discerning a patter, by sheer luck) your perfect play either is a disaster or a no-gainer.

One hopes the people in charge of that operation are working to figure out how to change the dance rythym so we are stepping on their toes.

7/05/2005 08:36:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...

Helicopter use is unavoidable if you want to reinforce a small unit in contact with the enemy. It's almost a replay of the SOG "over the border" missions during the Vietnam War. It was in one of those hot extractions, I believe, that Roy Benavidez got his Medal of Honor.

One cheap way out is to let the recon team die. If the roles were reversed the AQ would do just that. But the US is not the AQ, and will never be like the AQ, so how do we turn lemons into lemonade?

If you look at the type of terrain in Asadabad, Afghanistan you can see that the "wooded terrain" through which the fight developed is along the contour lines. They probably weren't running uphill and downhill (nobody does that anyway), but along a contour through woodline. That fact probably made fire support hard. All the same, the fact that one and perhaps two got away suggests that the enemy got pasted but good. Maybe the guy who evaded took off at right angles to the pursuit or even let them pass his position. Perhaps one day we'll know.

What's really needed is a way to put a persistent ring of fire around a recon team with zero response time. Aerial assets are just too slow to respond. Ideally, you'd have the recon team inside artillery range and have GPS (Excalibur) rounds available. If you had artillery, you could suppress the MANPADs and the machineguns with airbursts.

Given that the US is almost always going to come to the rescue of its own, whatever the risk, its important to be able to drop stuff around or behind a deep recon team within a minute of request.

7/05/2005 09:19:00 PM  
Blogger Spag-oz said...

Red River quotes "The US supplied stingers are now dead weight due to the loss of coolant for the IR seeker. No one is going to lug it around unless they know for sure it will work."

IIRC the matter of shelf life of the Stinger has been raised before in other forums. A mention was made of the fact the power pack (battery) has a very limited life & because of its design cannot be easily obtained at the local 7/11. There was a suggestion made however that they could possibly be supplied by certain Middle East arms dealers.

No doubt time will tell whether a MANPAD brought down the Chinook but if I was a betting man I would be laying odds on an RPG at close range + big target.

7/05/2005 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger Ticker said...

eye eye eye,

I don't think we're discussing anything secret here. Back in the days when the Afghans fought the Sovs, I believe they'd put 14.5 mm machineguns on hilltops. They once wiped out an entire Soviet airborne regiment by trapping them in a kill zone.

The small size of the recon team implies they were deep in the enemy stronghold, so some kind of air defense was going to be in the cards. Absent the artillery and a lot of armed UAVs, there's always going to be this deadly gap between a recon team's discovery and the time it takes for enough aerial suppressive firepower to get there.

7/05/2005 09:24:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Bill being floated in the House that would require Airbus to install missile defense:

A senior Republican has introduced legislation in the US Congress that would force Airbus to install technology on its A380 aircraft to counter the threat from shoulder-fired missiles.

John Mica, Republican chairman of the House aviation sub-committee, last week introduced the bill, which would require aircraft that carry over 800 passengers to install technology to combat Manpad (man-portable air defence systems) threats such as Stinger missiles.


7/05/2005 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Red River said,
"Another thing a good commander will do is fight the recon battle. Aggressive patrolling and good overwatch positions are critical. Linking observation positions to the CP with telephone wire would be a neat low-trick as well.
Isn't that what they did that first night over Karbala when they brought our Helo down?
Remember remember returning pilots were shocked and helos full of holes, 'cause town all at once lit up w/small arms fire and I don't recall what else.

7/05/2005 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Airbus=Manpad Magnet

7/05/2005 09:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Those guys need a PR Specialist.
And a Modern Man Brain Transplant.

"Now we discovered that they are sick and crazy.
"They interfered in everything, even how we raise our children. They turned the city into hell, and we cannot live in it anymore.
Why don't we start calling them by what they really are?

Sociopathological, anal-retentive, hypercontrol freaks, with archaic tendencies.

Might even pass the PC test by sounding Therapeutic enough.
That way we could just say our special forces, Spectres, and etc were just
"responding to their cries for help."

7/05/2005 09:55:00 PM  
Blogger Fresh Air said...

Guys, I saw one story that indicated there were four Chinooks flying together when the one went down. If that is so, it is unlikely the enemy had more than one Manpad, since none of the other birds were hit. I would go further and speculate the enemy did not have a Manpad at all, but used an RPG with a fiddled timer and basically got off a lucky shot. I think Occam's Razor still cuts the finest until the smoke clears and we know more.

7/05/2005 10:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wouldn't it still be pretty sharp if we go out on a limb and speculate two RPG's?
Grand total of $20 investment.

7/05/2005 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I wonder if eye-eye-eye wrote a nasty-gram to the NY Times for their story on the CIA transport planes which was printed complete with pictures and ID numbers.

Or if triple-eye took the time to write the MSM TV networks when Geraldo was drawing maps of troop movement in the sand for the TV cameras.

Or maybe Eye-Dude sat up and took notice that Reuters and AP seem to be printing photographs of American soldiers being killed taken by terrorists-on-payroll with advanced knowledge of what's coming down.

I bet since he (she/it) is so concerned about what the pea-brained terrorists are reading on the internet and elsewhere that eye-eye-eye spends hours each and every day berating all of the initial-media about the aid and comfort the newspapers and TV programs are offering our sworn enemies.

We should be proud that 3-eye found the time to remonstrate here, too, in addition to the rest of the extraordinarily heavy load he/she/it must be carrying, remonstration-wise.

7/05/2005 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

More proof of Baath/Jihad link:

The enemy has understood our domestic and insular mentality from the beginning. I call your attention to a report in the London Independent from Patrick Cockburn, published on Dec. 1, 2004. I should say that Cockburn is an old friend of mine, an extremely brave veteran of Iraqi reportage for three decades, and no admirer—to say the very least—of the war or the occupation. He reprinted a letter from Naji Sabri, Saddam Hussein's foreign minister, to his supreme leader. It is dated five days before the fall of Baghdad. In the letter, Sabri expresses concern that world opinion is receiving an impression of too much fraternization between Iraqis and American forces. A cure for this, he argues, is "to target their vehicle checkpoints with suicide operations by civilian vehicles in order to make the savage Americans realize that their contact with Iraqi civilians is as dangerous as facing them on the battlefield."

This delightful suggestion possesses many points of interest. It demonstrates that the Baath Party already had organized links with jihadist suicide bombers. And it shows a cruel but shrewd understanding of how public opinion, and indeed American policy, might be forcibly altered. (It also illustrates the stony evil of the Saddam regime and its fedayeen, which at about that time also publicly hanged a woman who had applauded the arrival of coalition forces in Nasariyah. One would not need to emphasize this if it were not for those who sneer every day at the idea that Coalition troops were greeted as liberators. They often were. I saw it myself and will not be told that I did not see it. But the disincentive to such greeting was higher than the sneerers know.)


7/05/2005 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Are there any 3-eyed Clerics?

7/05/2005 11:14:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Do we know if the terrorists read Reuters and the NY Times?

7/05/2005 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Warrior souls:


7/05/2005 11:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/06/2005 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Sam's link, Warrior Souls

7/06/2005 12:56:00 AM  
Blogger fjelehjifel said...

Wretchard wrote: "Absent the artillery and a lot of armed UAVs, there's always going to be this deadly gap between a recon team's discovery and the time it takes for enough aerial suppressive firepower to get there."

Recent reports do not suggest that artillery was available, but they don't exactly say it wasn't either.

Artillery is a great force equalizer for any recon team caught in a bind. However, unless the mission is pre-planned--that is, targetting information is already dialed in to the fire control center--the recon team needs to be in a "stationary" position from which to call and adjust fire.

Any recon team trying to break contact against a numerically superior foe, which seems to be what occurred in this case, is going to have great difficulty calling in artillery "on the run."

Besides, in close combat situations, any artillery called in would be, by definition, "danger close" and perhaps of equal danger to friend and foe alike.

It doesn't sound like the recon team was compromised in an OP (observation post) position. It sounds like they just plain bumped into some bad guys and all hell broke loose.

We can only speculate who shot first and under what circumstances. But the recon was effectively destroyed at some point. We can only hope that they gave better than they got.

7/06/2005 03:21:00 AM  
Blogger Fabio said...

I still cannot understand, why people consider the new A380 as a magnet for any kind of nastyness, but they completely gloss over the 747-400, which is just slightly smaller. And much more common than the A380.

No stealth features can give protection from rockets; for that we have to wait for active conter-measures.

7/06/2005 03:25:00 AM  
Blogger Smith said...

Quick note,

As an ADA madpads crewmember, I worked exclusively with the stinger missle. The stingers that were given to the soviets and afghans are little more than an RPG(generalization). The one's we use now are quite sophisticated and have many classified parts.

You are totally right about the effect of a non ADA mission orientated MANPAD. It's very difficult to use properly without being set up, ready to go, staring down your AAA.(air avenue of approach)

I'd bet my money on an RPG shot as well.

7/06/2005 03:33:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wishful thinking: It's French.
(Although that might be the basis of the legislation Sam linked to.)

7/06/2005 04:15:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hey, Smith,
Thank you for your service!
(Looks like you're enjoying it.)
Keep us posted, we're all ears.
...most of us, at least.

7/06/2005 04:23:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Matrix Rear Loaded

7/06/2005 04:25:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

At least one of the reports cited referred to the MH-47 being brought down ny "indirect fire."
To me that means morters. They have a faster fire rate than RPG's and manpads and if fired from a mountaintop at a chopper at the same or lower altitude they could hit it. It would not take many of them to create an aerial kill zone. And we know that the enemy just loves them.
Also on the GPS units, you just know that we have a lt of civillian friendlies using off-the-shelf units in Afghanistan, so I would doubt that we would turn on SA over there.

7/06/2005 05:36:00 AM  
Blogger Dan said...


aw. yeah. "Sick and crazy" indeed.

7/06/2005 05:53:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Flares (which I would guess that they already carry) used proactively will just announce the presence of the helo.

7/06/2005 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Red River,
The engines on an H-47/46 are not mounted individually to single rotors. They are joined through the transmission, and the power provided is split up to the two rotors. With one engine lost (whether to mechanical failure or a missile hit) the aircraft is still flyable; it may or may not be able to maintain altitude, depending on the ambient conditions (temperature, humidity, barometric altitude) and it's weight. In this case, I think the 47 was relatively light (only 16 people on board) but it was already up at a significant altitude. If it lost an engine, it may not have been able to maintain altitude.

7/06/2005 06:39:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I would agree proactive flares would announce your arrival, but Chinooks are loud anyway. In the 'old' days you could hear them coming. Not the pleasing thump of a Huey bringing in chow, just a dull roar. As a troop I never liked flying in them, no windows or open side doors to look out, just a little trap door in the floor and a port hole in the door. Even with the ramp down, you could just see where you had been.

Copters at the edge of their operating capability are dangerous, in and of themselves. I recall seeing video of a Blackhawk that went down in the Sierras a year or so ago. Trying to rescue some mountain climbers in the thin air. Just rolled over in the sky and then tumbled down the mountain.

7/06/2005 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Yes, a shift in the wind of 30 or 40 degrees (which is not uncommon in the mountains) when a helo is hovering at the edge of it's envelope is enough to make it crash.

7/06/2005 07:18:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Which ones did you fly, ex-helo?

7/06/2005 07:31:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Held up there by little (stallable) rotating wings.

7/06/2005 07:47:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The interesting proposition is whether or not OpFors have a net capability. The indigenous forces have spent their lives in the badlands. Their forefathers used signal fires and embraced the technology of polished metal to communicate from mountain top to mountain top. Modern communication technology allows for many low tech methods all along the spectrum from Hf to light wave. Operators of such point to point communications devices must be mindful of the probability of intercept and more troublesome, probability of detection. No doubt that every available communication spectrum is being meticulously monitored with regards to strength quality and location. But as Peter UK alludes, every canyon has an overlook and commanding this kind of view gives the opfors a second chance to live and a second chance to kill.

The high ground around insurgent bases must be crawling with lookouts. The cat and mouse game being played puts US commandos picking through the rocky redoubts seeking to locate the enemy. But the enemy has been playing this game in their own back yard for a long time and likely know all the vulnerabilities to their approaches. Ambushes can be affected by simply enveloping a small team as they quietly pass into the opfors kill zone.

US forces know well the hazards. These are truly brave men. If US forces manage to pin point OpFors bases they have little time to call in air support, for the enemy knows his back door as well. Add to this mix of difficulty that the opposing forces are blending in with civilians and you have the incredibly slow tempo of warfare that is being waged in the high mountains of Afghanistan.

7/06/2005 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

I flew H-3s (Sea King) in the Navy, mostly off of carriers. I didn't have much personal experience doing mountain ops; just some pretty basic training.

7/06/2005 08:13:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Gonna be rough to hold that terrain. USSR mine-salting didn't do them much good.

7/06/2005 08:18:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...


Nice! ASW?

7/06/2005 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Yes, most of my career was in ASW, with a secondary mission of search-and-rescue. My last tour was doing external load operations.

7/06/2005 08:46:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Fox just reported that the recovered soldier says the team was "moving down a ravine when they came under heavy fire." He saw "two of the team get hit." That's all Fox had to say, other than that the search for the 4th SEAL is "aggressive" and "not hopeless".

The enemy are ambush specialists--have been, probably since the "silk road" has been in use--a thousand years, anyway.

7/06/2005 08:50:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Reminiscent of Geronimo War. Tough terrain for the hunters, alright.

7/06/2005 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

From now on, I'll defer to your ASW experience whenever we get to talking about sub warfare. I really don't know enough beyond some engineering basics.

7/06/2005 08:57:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

First ya help me, then ASW.
Kev is calling on previous thread.

7/06/2005 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Oh, subs.
and MJ

7/06/2005 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger GoGo said...

when yur done killing all the taliban.

could you please come back home and fix our border situation.


7/06/2005 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Trucks, what trucks?
Free trade man!
The 60's was Free Love.
The New Millenium is,
Free Trade!
Peace, Love, and $.
(see Kev. I can almost talk the talk.)

7/06/2005 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Aww, fooey, I figured he'd be at the G8 straightening out the World Leaders.

7/06/2005 09:17:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

I thought it was G-Ate.
Or Paul McCartney.

7/06/2005 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger goesh said...

you've seen the elephant in your day it sounds like

7/06/2005 09:32:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mark Steyn on Live Ate

7/06/2005 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...


"Red River,
The engines on an H-47/46 are not mounted individually to single rotors. They are joined through the transmission, and the power provided is split up to the two rotors. With one engine lost."

I never said they were mounted individually and linked to the rotors, but I can see how you might think that. But here is my source:

My dad is a retired US Army Senior Enlisted mechanic on CH-47s including three years as BN Maint Supervisor over 18 Ch-47s and three combat tours. He helped pioneer sling loading.

He says that " if you catastropically lose an engine or a shaft, there is no guarantee that power will transfer smoothly nor are the forces on the rotors or the friction the same for each rotor."

He then related two accidents he personally witnessed where this occurred - one was an engine taking in a bird and another where the shaft from the engine to the gear box snapped. In both cases the CH-47s went tail-high then rolled over and crashed.

"A loss of an engine in combat due to fire almost always means the bird will crash right away."

"Most of our problems were due to loss of hydraulic fluid due to small arms or machine gun fire. What happended in Afghanistan sounds a lot like hydraulic problems."

"When we operated above 4000 MSL, we would send just one crew chief. If it was a long flight, we'd take out the guns and gunners and add extra fuel. 10,000 feet in a storm is really the limit if the aircraft is not stripped and I'd be very uncomfortable with more than a ten special operators on board. Those teams can weigh over 400 pounds per man."

"Your crew chief has to watch the QRF teams and make sure they don't overload the aircraft."

7/06/2005 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...

Wretchard wrote:"Absent the artillery and a lot of armed UAVs, there's always going to be this deadly gap between a recon team's discovery and the time it takes for enough aerial suppressive firepower to get there."

There is more to it than time.

In the terrain in Afghanistan, indirect fire assets can be emplaced where its very hard to get them with longer range artillery or even air assets. Furthermore, many avenues of approach for infantry are similarly protected.

If I can hide my mortars in a box canyon with high walls and lob the shells over a ridge, then there is no arty or even PGMs that will get me. Or if my guys can sneak in via a ravine shielded by a peak from your arty, we'll do it.

So having lots of firepower does not mean you can use it effectively.

7/06/2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Red River,
An engine failure is completely separate from loss of hydraulic fluid; losing an engine when in forward flight will NOT result in crashing right away. (If the failure is due to the high-speed shaft connecting the engine to the transmission breaking, that can cause any number of subsequent problems in addition to the loss of the engine.) Depending on the airspeed it occurs at, and the environmental conditions, the pilots may or may not be able to fly single-engine for an extended time. In the worst case they would be in a controlled descent. If a helo is capable of landing and taking off in a restricted site (i.e. not a runway) in a specific set of environemental conditions, it is capable of flying single-engine in those conditions.

If an engine was lost in a hover, at that altitude, it would very likely crash.

That doesn't appear to be what happened in this case. It very possibly could have been due to a contol problem (including loss of hydraulic fluid).

There have also been significant upgrades to the engines over the past 10-15 years.

7/06/2005 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger foxenburg said...

rwe suggested that mortars had been used to down the ch47. the time of flight of a mortar is so long - 30 seconds plus - that short of firing hundreds of the things pretty much simultaneously i can't see how you could hope to shoot down a moving aircraft.

wild bill suggested that people "have been tinkering with the timers on their RPG's to use as anti-aircraft weapons". last time i fired one RPGs didn't have timers. just a shaped charge that went off bang. would do the business on any chopper it was lucky enough to hit. no timers needed.

hot extractions are always fraught.
i doubt they would use such a large lumbering aircraft for one.
i doubt they had an extraction in mind, more likely just piling in more bayonets.

firing a sam7, for example, is easier said than done.
got to wait for the pressure cooker to build up enough steam to pop it out, got to wait for the gyro to get up to speed. at least 7 - 10 seconds. then you've got to have a nice contrasting background with no interference or noise. it makes sense if you're staking out an airport, but tricky to get the thing off your back and into action in seconds. choppers in hilly country, hugging the contours, are on you in, like two seconds max, out of nowhere. since this was supposed to have happened in the dark, the idea that someone heard the chopper and organised a sam is unlikely.

7/06/2005 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

I agree that mortars are unlikely, unless by chance it was a sited-in landing site, where they were able to catch the helo just as it was landing or taking off. That is not what happened in this case. If the SEALs were surrounded/closely pursued, though, there would have been time to call in reinforcements with SAMs, and they would have been able to set themselves up to monitor the likely approach lanes. But I still think that the most likely culprit was an RPG.

7/06/2005 01:38:00 PM  
Blogger Nathan said...

last time i fired one RPGs didn't have timers. just a shaped charge that went off bang. would do the business on any chopper it was lucky enough to hit. no timers needed.

I believe RPG-7 rounds have a self-detonation timer set to go off if the round doesn't hit anything in 900 meters.

7/06/2005 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Chirac on the Brits:
"You can't trust chaps who cook as badly as that."
(to the ruskies)
World leader, indeed.
Should be a blog commenter maybe.
French Roast.

7/06/2005 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Is that NY Times reporter going to Gitmo?

7/06/2005 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Or as Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd put it: "I want to do everything I can to persuade the G8 leaders to make huge commitments to the relief of poverty and increased aid to the Third World. It's crazy that America gives such a paltry percentage of its GNP to the starving nations."

No, it's not. It's no more crazy than Linda McCartney giving such a paltry percentage of her estate - ie, 0 per cent - to Gordon Brown. And, while Britain may be a Bananarama republic, it's not yet the full-blown thing.

Africa is a hard place to help. I had a letter from a reader the other day who works with a small Canadian charity in West Africa. They bought a 14-year-old SUV for 1,500 Canadian dollars to ferry food and supplies to the school they run in a rural village. Customs officials are demanding a payment of $8,000 before they'll release it.

There are thousands of incidents like that all over Africa every day of the week."

7/06/2005 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Here, Doug--from Gopinion.

7/06/2005 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/06/2005 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

What's sad is it looks like S. Africa is going down with the rest.
...and while the "world leaders" were calling it Nirvana, Ken Hamblin was telling the truth.
12 years ago.
Who should we listen to?
World leaders, or Nirvana?
Maybe that's why kids get confused?

7/06/2005 04:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The comments there are informative, also.
esp wrt china.

7/06/2005 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Peter UK said...

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Do yourealise that attributing the killing of your militaries finest with a weapons system introduced in the 60s is probably very poor propaganda!

7/06/2005 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

The world's finest handgun is from 1911!

7/06/2005 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Peter UK,

No I would not say that. I guess leftist eight-balls are going to celebrate this Taliban win and to talk about as frankly as we are here may boost their spirits.

I don't have to go over the many truism of war here. The Taliban are bound to score (as small as it is) every now and then.

A few things are known about American forces. One of them is we are loath to leave our warriors behind, a Taliban patrol probably stumbled onto the Seals by sheer luck and then it became a pursuit. The seals called for an extraction and the Taliban in the area know where those spots are likely to be and set up in those spots and waited.

Yes, but as many have noted here, helicopters hovering or landing are not in a good position.

7/06/2005 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

I am hoping that Wretchard will write one of his essays on Adm Stockdale.

7/06/2005 06:18:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Second that. He was a real one. RIP.

7/06/2005 06:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This what I find unfortunate Peter:
"and capable of penetrating 12 inches of armor plate."
That, the low price, and high availability.
...but most of all that some genius hasn't invented an effective defense yet.

7/06/2005 07:01:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

"Chobham" is it? A Brit armor that is mightily good.

7/06/2005 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

But you can't armor everything like a tank.

7/06/2005 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Wild Bill said...

Modern warfare vs horse and chariot.. The arhabi in Iraq are still using old tactics.. A letter from the sandbox recently reported that piano wire was being strung between trees, across roads to, to "clothsline" the gunner in the turret of hummers, and using timers from washing machines in IED's.. I just wonder if they have redneck iraqi's ?? Sure sounds like it !!

7/06/2005 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Wild Bill Ali, huh?

7/06/2005 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Arab Okies.

7/06/2005 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

...wonder if they like cold beer?

7/06/2005 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger guinspen said...

Doug said...
Do we know if the terrorists read Reuters and the NY Times?

The terrorists write Reuters and the NY Times.

7/06/2005 07:38:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Do a damn fine job too.
For Arabs.

7/06/2005 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger sam said...

Lehrer interview with Stockdale in '99:

JIM LEHRER: Let me ask you finally this question, Admiral. When it was all said and done, back to the 1992 election, do you think in the final analysis you would have been, in fact, a good vice president of the United States?

ADMIRAL JAMES STOCKDALE: I think so. I think so. I've done nothing but manage - I mean, I'm - yeah, I think I would have been surprisingly good, because I call them like I see them, and I think I'm fair-minded, and I have a good understanding of international law, and all the other accoutrements that are necessary for military decision-making at a high level, and Ike didn't do too badly, did he?

JIM LEHRER: No. Admiral, thank you.


7/06/2005 07:43:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Professor Wretchard: Absent the artillery and a lot of armed UAVs, there's always going to be this deadly gap between a recon team's discovery and the time it takes for enough aerial suppressive firepower to get there.

Let's go back jack, and do it again. A couple of B-2's, which are effectively invisible and quiet at even a very close distance, could provide quick aerial artillery. As they and their sister B's have done in the past. Sounds pricey, but as W points out, Americans spare no price.

Afghanistan's lessons shaping new military, circa 2002

7/06/2005 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger noprisoners said...


I am not quite sure of the operational limits of Predator UAV's. I am guessing that this altitude would not be a problem for them. Why couldn't armed (Hellfire missiles)Predators be in the vicinity of Seal Teams on missions like this? Due to the duration, they would probably need to operate in a "tag team" fashion but, once again, that should be doable. Certainly, cheaper that a B-2.

7/06/2005 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

The Predator B has an operational ceiling of 50,000ft and a maximum internal payload of 800lb and external payload of over 3,000lb. Predator B has been flight tested with Hellfire II anti-armour missiles and can carry up to 14 missiles. Flight trials have also taken place with the General Atomics Lynx SAR (synthetic aperture radar) payload. Lynx also features ground moving target indicator technology.

Current one is 25,000

7/06/2005 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


I'm just noting: we already used this FAC strategy in Afghanistan in 2001, with heavies circling in the deep blue over the mountains. If it ain't broke.

I would do almost anything to prevent the losses we suffered last week.

7/06/2005 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Wonder what the treeline is in N Afghanistan. 11,000 in the Colorado Rockies.

7/06/2005 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

How come they fly from CONUS instead of Diego?

7/06/2005 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

When Mike takes his hike I'll ask him.
Startin to miss that boy.
(In advance, Mika.)

7/06/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger noprisoners said...


Naturally, I want to do everything possible to provide protection against this kind of tragedy. However, since these missions might last days or weeks, I doubt that we will see a gas hog flying 24/7 for four guys' protection. That is why, I was looking for a more practical solution that might be kept on-station on a 24/7 basis. You know, that many of the UAVs in Iraq (and maybe Afghanistan too)are flown from Edwards AFB in California? Hard to believe.

7/06/2005 08:35:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I heard Nevada also?
CA sounds more likely.

7/06/2005 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

W sure sounds confident w/press.
Must believe Dems in a meltdown.
Probably right.

7/06/2005 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


Is it 11,000 in CO? I was at 12,000 at Monarch Pass last Feb and found a goodly number of trees at that atlitude.

Remember the VC in Vietnam were ingenious at adapting all sorts of knick-knacks into weapons. It isn't the technology it is the will and skill with which the weapons are employed.

7/06/2005 08:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Vietnamese Rednecks?

7/06/2005 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Bud's wondering about Afghanistan.
Being a redneck texan, probably seen CO.

7/06/2005 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Different Part of CO?

7/06/2005 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Predator follows a conventional launch sequence from a semi-prepared surface under direct line-of-sight control. The take-off and landing length is typically 2,000ft. The mission can be controlled through line-of-site data links or through Ku-band satellite links to produce continuous video. Video signals received in the Ground Control Station are passed to the Trojan Spirit van for worldwide intelligence distribution or directly to operational users via a commercial global broadcast system. Command users are able to task the payload operator in real-time for images or video on demand.
Designated MQ-9 Hunter-Killer, Predator B's primary mission is interdiction and conducting armed reconnaissance against critical, perishable targets.

7/06/2005 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger husker_met said...

Exhelo, et al:

Just out of curiousity, how do you do an autorotation on one of the twin rotor jobs? Particularly when one rotor is out or pulling harder than the other?

Doug and others regarding the tech:

Unfortunately, I'm still skeptical about a techno fix in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Remember the Russian experience of controlling the cities but being inept in the boonies.

I'm afraid that to really go after these people it's going to take less whiz-bang and more down and dirty covert shootouts (perhaps supported by whizbang).

I hate like hell to see it come to that not only because it will mean greater casualties for us, but because this is exactly the kind of thing MSM/Libs will seize upon to further their Vietnam/quagmire rants. It will also require a more sausage-making approach to warfighting that will provide fuel for the handwringers.

I don't know how far along the Afghan army is in their training, but this seems like a perfect situation for indigenee support (someone mentioned the Apache Wars before). I think we could make good use of a great deal of trustworthy local scouts.

No matter how you approach it though, I'm afraid success will hinge on our willingness to engage in small unit slugfests without UAVs or high altitude bombing.

As for "Rednecks"...

I hope we never get to the place where we underestimate the redneck, no matter what his nationality. The most adaptive and dangerous people I know hail from the forgotten backwaters of the planet. They have crazy esoteric knowledge about things that concrete dwellers have long forgotten, and they all shoot straight.

7/06/2005 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Wretchard MANPAD post is provocative and is a cause for concern. They threaten our slow flying military aircraft and civilian aircraft. I will come back to that in a second.

As Fresh Air and exhelodrvr have said, the most likely cause was a RPG strike. From what I have read a recon team got in a jam and called in help. Between 3 and 4 Chinooks flew to the team's location which had already been abandon. One of the Chinooks was hit and traveled about and mile, crash and rolled down a mountain side into a ravine killing 16. I also read a recon drone circling the area had been shot down (how it was shot down is unknown). I believe it's just a case of a mission that went south. The helo was probably hit by an RPG and crashed - maybe just a luck shot. The rest of the story will have to wait until more information is released. I don't consider this incident a major setback (until further information is revealed).

It's certainly is a sad incident - as all casualties of war are. And, it has be hyped by the press as a major blow to the Coalition. But, that just not the case. My understanding is the troops have been successful in killing over 400 terrorists in Afghanistan in the recent months. Hence, I would expect the Seals to move forward and take the fight to the enemy (and hopefully get the thugs who did this).

Returning to Wretchard's main theme of MANPADs. They are a real problem and must be dealt with. In large numbers they could be a huge setback to our operations. Look at Russia's troubles in Afghan area when MANPADs where introduced. As I have written before, Russia has been selling Syria and Iran MANPADs (although in a battery configuration) and other AAA systems (not to mention antitank systems). Both, Syria and Iran are linked to terrorists organizations. Hence, the danger of said weapons falling into terrorists hands is real.

I would suggest that if it is found that such weapons are being used to kill our troops, then serious action must be taken against these two totalitarian regimes (no holds barred - just get them off the playing field).

[Report of weapon sales to Syria]

...Vladimir Putin and Syrian president Bashar Assad, who arrived in Moscow Monday, January 24, will sign a $70 million deal for the sale of 20 SA-18 Igla-S batteries mounted on Armored Personnel Carriers. One of the most effective missiles against low-flying aircraft on the market... The sale culminates intense quiet exchanges conducted by the US Pentagon and State Department with the Kremlin and Russian defense ministry to prevent the sale to Damascus of the shoulder-launched version of the SA-18 for fear it falling into the hands of Iraqi guerrillas and Hizballah terrorists.

[picture of Russian SA-18 with case]

...Washington accepted the APC-mounted compromise despite Israel's complaints. Although 20 batteries do not present a major headache for the Israeli air force, their mobility makes them difficult to target and limits the maneuverability of Israeli planes in Syrian airspace... Igla-S is also effective against small targets like reconnaissance drones, helicopters and cruise missiles. Missile experts report that when fired against fighter craft an Igla-S has the effectiveness of two missiles fired in a single round – or five missiles when launched against a cruise missile... This is Syria's second important arms purchase in recent months... [The] acquisition in East Europe of Kornet AT-14 anti-tank missiles. This purchase provoked a warning from Washington that if this weapon should turn up in Iraq or Lebanon, America will be free to take military action... military sources now reveal that the Syrian missile sale is integral to the Kremlin's new, broad strategic initiative that encompasses secret military assistance to Tehran as well as its overt deals with Damascus. Moscow's objective is partly to secure its investment in Iran's nuclear center at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf against the fate of the Saddam Hussein's French-built Tamuz nuclear center which the Israeli air force bombed out existence... Russian experts from the Raduga OKB engineering group in Dubna near Moscow had just completed the installation of two advanced radar systems around the Bushehr nuclear reactor on the Persian Gulf... These improved mobile 36D6 systems, Western codenamed Tin Shield, were custom-made to upgrade the air defense radar protecting Iran's key nuclear facilities from American or Israeli aerial, missile or cruise missile attack... the fat hit the fire when the Russians were discovered to be building the same system at Iran's uranium enrichment plants for military purposes in Isfahan in central Iran. It was taken to mean that Moscow has undertaken to secure all of Iran's nuclear industry from top to bottom... On January 12, the day Russian radar was finally installed at Bushehr and Isfahan, the Kremlin leaked word of a large-scale arms deal afoot with Syria for the delivery of advanced SS-26 road-mobile Iskander-E surface missiles - successor to the Scud, whose 480-kilo multiple warhead can dodge air defense radar systems and electronic jamming - as well as surface-to-air SA-10 ("Grumble") and SA-18 ("Grouse") shoulder-launched missiles. The first can engage several targets at varying altitudes simultaneously including raiding aircraft and cruise or tactical missiles. The SA-18 is an improved version of the Strela with a 2-kilo high-explosive warhead fitted with a contact and grazing fuse, aerodynamic improvements, extended effective range and greater speed. The SA-18 has a maximum range of 5.2 km and maximum altitude of 3.5 km. ...military sources describe the Tin Shield 36D6 as a mobile radar system designed to detect air targets and perform friend-or-foe identification. It is highly effective in detecting low, medium and high altitude targets moving at almost any speed, including winged missiles and American or Israeli cruise missiles. It is capable of providing the target and bearing of active jamming, as well as integrated computer-aided systems of control and guidance of anti-aircraft missile complexes... If Syria gets this sophisticated system, a Russian-coordinated Iranian-Syrian-Lebanese radar barrier will rise with three serious consequences..:

1. The 36D6 radar system deployment, if acquired by Syria [and] Iran, will confine US aerial operations in Iraq to a narrow corridor hemmed in by sophisticated Russian radar...
2. Its deployment at nuclear sites in northern Iran near the Afghan border will obstruct any American air operation mounted from the north against Iran from Afghan bases, while the Russian radar system's presence in Syria will hinder an American or Israeli strike against Iran from the west.
3. Moscow's military backing for Iran and Syria is tantamount to sympathy for their diplomatic postures and extends to their sponsorship of Hizballah and Palestinian terrorist organizations. ...official Russian foreign ministry denunciation last week, the first since the 1990s, of the American threat of new sanctions against Syria for sponsoring "freedom fighters" – Syria's term for Palestinian terrorist organizations like Hamas and the Jihad Islami.

See: MANPAD Sales

7/07/2005 12:29:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...


Concerning your post on weapons proliferation:
“Treachery” by Bill Gertz

7/07/2005 06:13:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

On any helicopter, whether a CH-46/47 type, or a more "standard" main rotor/tail rotor type, the rotors are driven through the same source, so they will always be working together. (Assuming a drive shaft doesn't snap.) When an engine is lost, the engine connection to the transmission will start freewheeling, so that the failed engine doesn't slow the rotor down. Depending on the strength of the remaining engine (if a multi-engine), weight, altitude, airspeed, etc., the pilot may need to decrease the load on the rotor by slowing down/descending/dumping fuel/etc. WIth a complete engine failure, all the engines connections will start freewheeling, and the pilot needs to immediately start a rapid descent. In this case, the air coming up through the rotors is keeping them turning, and the pilot will have one shot at "cushioning the landing" by using the remaining energy of the rotor blades to slow the descent. Helos such as the 46/47 both main rotors operate in essentially the same manner, in a main rotor/tail rotor design, the tail rotor is driven by a drive shaft coming off the main rotor transmission.

7/07/2005 06:26:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/07/2005 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger Tony said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/07/2005 06:33:00 AM  
Blogger ledger said...

I don't have the book but I will try and get it. Proliferation of MANPADs and other conventional weapons can be almost as bad a nuclear proliferation (with nukes one has refine the uranium, build a complex bomb casing, build a delivery system, arm the device without having it explode, and in some instances miniaturize the weapon). A SA-18 can be used to down a helicopter or jetliner straight out of the box.

7/07/2005 08:45:00 PM  
Blogger blue Talon said...

You guys are ignoring the first rule of analysis. "The simple answer is almost always right"

This team got spotted and could not retreat fast enough. They were engaged by the enemy and the enemy were numerous enough-close enough to overweight the best 4 man team in modern warfare.

The Chinook was most likely brought down by rpg/rifle caliber mg fire combination.

God Bless the Seals

7/09/2005 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

Hey Noprisoners,

The NYT reported today (Sunday, 10 July 2005) that we used B-52's to counter-attack in the SEAL recovery op. As I said, If it ain't broke.

I was suggesting B-2's for the ungodly expensive role of CAS because they are almost invisible wing-on even in a clear blue sky at close-to-medium range, and you can not hear them at all until they pass close over head. And then you only hear them from behind, ie, too late.

And they don't have to drop long sticks of Mk.82's. They can "shoot" now.

Besides, we currently have fleets of B's, we don't have fleets of UAV's, yet. And this war is NOW.

7/10/2005 10:19:00 AM  
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