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Iraq Helicopter Downing(5 posts)

Iraq Helicopter DowningDwayne Barry
Nov 3, 2003 10:35 AM
So, how come this has taken so long to happen? It seems to me that the Iraqi's were pretty smart not to stand up and fight us, but the aftermath of that is to fight an effective guerilla war until we lose our stomach for it. So wouldn't they have been loading up on shouldered fired SAMs and shoulder-fired weapons to take out armored vehicles? They seem to have plenty of RPGs to take out lightly armored stuff, but little else. Is this an effect of the sanctions, are we just the main dealers in this stuff and they weren't able to get it from Russia, China, N. Korea before the war or now?
re: Iraq Helicopter Downingmohair_chair
Nov 3, 2003 10:50 AM
You only really see their successes, not their failures. They've been doing all kinds of stuff, but only some of it works. From what I understand, this isn't the first missle attack, and it's not even the first successful one. I'm sure glad Bush declared combat was over. I wonder how much worse it would be if combat were still going on.
re: Iraq Helicopter Downingsn69
Nov 3, 2003 3:39 PM
"They" have been lobbing shoulder fired missiles for a while. The weapons are not very easy to use, however. Here's what I wrote a while ago:

A shoulder-fired infrared SAM (called a "manpad") like the SA-7s that were fired at the El Al flight? Nope. The aircraft was too far away to engage with a weapon that has a reasonable, unclassified kinetic envelope of about 3 nm. Additionally, early generation manpads are extremely difficult to use, even by trained/skilled operators. They require the shooter to aquire the target visually, "dead eye" the missile's seeker onto the target, aquire the target's hot spot with the seeker head, super-elevate the launch tube, and then fire. ...And that doesn't guarantee that the missile will hit. First and second generation manpads have lousy engagement envelopes (even the early Stingers), and it's almost impossible that one would track that far into the relatively cold high-bypass turbofans of a 747. Hell, three of them couldn't get a 757 at close range....

That said, there are a number of factors that might have facilitated the successful engagement/shoot-down, not the least of which could have been aircraft equipment. Not all military aircraft are equipped with the latest Aircraft Survivability Equipment packages, and it wouldn't surprise me if this Chinook had only a minimal configuration. Likewise, if the engagement was made at close range, the pilots wouldn't have had time to do much. Again, that's a GROSS simplification of a hard equation to solve. ...Lots of missing pieces of the puzzle make this way too hard to speculate too much.

Given the "heat" of battle tempo over there, your comment about their failures is right on the money. Still, it doesn't make our losses hurt any worse.
re: Iraq Helicopter Downingmohair_chair
Nov 3, 2003 4:07 PM
Did you ever read "Charlie Wilson's War?" It's a very good book about the incredible story of the CIA funding and fighting the Afghanistan war against the USSR. When they finally gave the Mujahideen Stingers, one of their first successes was the downing of a Hind carrying 20 Spetsnaz commandos, which was cause for great celebration. That was the first thing that popped into my head when I heard about the Chinook. I hear people saying Iraq will be our Vietnam, but they're wrong. Ironically, Iraq could be our Afghanistan.
re: Iraq Helicopter Downingtorquer
Nov 3, 2003 11:16 AM
One factor in the increased violence is the influx of foreign Jihadists. Most of the Iraqi army knew it wasn't worth their lives to oppose the overwhelming might of the American military, but since Dubya's "mission accomplished" (I won't get started on what that mission was, exactly) holy warriers from throughout the Muslim world (plus Europe) have been headed towards Iraq to fight their own good fight, and they aren't worried about a one-way ticket to paradise.

This follows the pattern established in Afghanastan, Chechnia, and (to a much smaller extent) Bosnia.

Saddam loyalists obviously aren't totally out of the picture, and they are needed in any case to lead the Mujhadin to all the weapon stores that have been left unguarded. Two-thirds of the estimated 5,000 shoulder-launched missles are unaccounted for.

"In a long, hard war, we're going to have tragic days. But they're necessary." Donald Rumsfeld.

Opinions vary about what they are necessary for.