Chinook Down in Afghanistan

It appears a U.S. MH-47 special operations variant Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook was brought down by hostile fire in Afghanistan. While information is scarce about the crash western sources are saying it was likely shot down. The Taliban say they hit the chopper carrying U.S. special operators with a rocket following a “heavy” raid. While it’s too early to tell for sure, I’d guess the helo was hit with an RPG since MH-47s are equipped with advanced infrared countermeasures designed to foil heat-seeking shoulder-launched missiles. It turnd out, the chopper was indeed downed by a rocket propelled grenade. Decades after its first appearances on the battlefield, the relatively-low tech RPG remains one of the biggest surface-to-air threats to helicopters.

A CH-47 Chinook was shot down in July by insurgents using an RPG. That incident left two soldiers wounded.

Our thoughts are with the families of those on board the MH-47.


  • Swamp

    I assume it is an MH-47. News reports all just say Chinook. But it looks like a SOF DA raid, which means it’s likely an MH. Waiting to hear more. My condolences to the community. Nightstalkers Never Quit.

  • morty

    probably right

  • Matt

    More details here…

  • Joe Schmoe

    “A NATO helicopter crash in Afghanistan on Saturday killing 31 U.S. special-forces troops, including more than 20 Navy SEALS from the unit that killed Osama bin Laden, and 7 Afghan commandos.

    It was the deadliest single combat incident for American troops in 10 years of war, according to an American official.

    The operators from SEAL Team Six were flown by a crew of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regimen, according to U.S. officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because families are still being notified of the loss of their loved ones.

    One source said the team was thought to include 22 SEALs, three Air Force air controllers, seven Afghan Army troops, a dog and his handler, and a civilian interpreter, plus the helicopter crew.

    The sources thought this was the largest single loss of life ever for SEAL Team Six, known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group.

    A brief statement from the presidential palace said the helicopter had crashed in central Wardak province, an area west of Kabul. The volatile region is known for its strong Taliban presence.”


    May they rest in peace.

  • Jonathan

    Fox News is saying it’s the same team that got Bin Laden. Truly saddening. We need to get out of Afghanistan and countermeasures need to be developed against RPG’s the lives of these great men are not worth it. My best wishes are with their friends and family.

    • TMB

      RPGs are unguided. There’s no real countermeasure short of getting out of the way. The Blackhawks that were shot down in Mogadishu in 1993 dodged almost 100 rockets before they got hit. For all we know the Chinook that went down had a barrage of rockets fired at it too.

      • In the know

        Don’t be so quick to shut people down TMB. Unguided doesn’t mean “there’s no real countermeasure short of getting out of the way.” That attitude is a destructive one that keeps good ideas from ever becoming reality. Enough said.

      • nraddin

        You can counter unguided systems with hit to kill, directed energy, or deflecting blasts. The scuds where unguided during the terminal phase when they where killed by the patriots in gulf war 1 after all.

        • traindodger

          Installing hit-to-kill or blast-based active protection systems on a helicopter is tricky business. Not only do these types of systems weigh a lot (Trophy is 1763 pounds), but they also take up a lot of cubic feet of volume (you need room for the threat detection radar, cooling systems, electronics and the ammo/launcher). Lastly - and most importantly - you don’t want the blast overpressure or fragmentation from one of these systems to shred the fuselage or rotors of the helicopter that you’re trying to protect. That said, it is not out of the question that a soft-launch, missile-based APS similar to Raytheon’s Quick Kill could one day be fitted to an aircraft.

          • nraddin

            Not saying it will be easy, but 30 years ago if you told someone that you would put anti-missle systems on a tank people would have laughed in your face, a decade before that and they CIWS would have been a laugh. I could picture a system firing rifle caliber weapon, and running optically on a fairly small gimbal and computer system, spotting, calculating and aiming fast enough to kill missiles of all kinds. I am guessing we will see stuff like this within 20 years maybe a lot less.

        • TLAM Strike

          Don’t forget Slat Armor, I wonder how feasible it would be to mount it on a helicopter. The stuff is fairly light, but it would need to be retractable to protect the belly of the aircraft.

          • joe

            Slat armour? Easy. It’s just some lightweight metal grills.
            Thing is, Slat armour detonates an RPG early - but it still needs to be paired with actual *armour* to protect you.

            The Hind was pretty much the far end of the possible in terms of flying armour plate, and that was still killable by equivalent weapons to this.

            As said, the best defence for an aircraft will always be not getting hit - whether by active defence or by evasive manouvres.

          • TLAM Strike

            Curious what is the maximum range of the EFP created by the RPG warhead…

            If the slat armor was placed near the edge of the rotors footprint would it detonate the RPG early enough to be no longer a threat. And would it work without destabilizing the aircraft.

          • joe

            Question 1: From which direction and angle?

            Tanks have an advantage that they have a 2m height ‘ring’ around them at ground level from which 99.99% of man-portable threats will emerge. Shots going up into the belly of a chopper, more of an issue.

            Max range of the EFP depends on the thing it’s striking. For a tank, not far. For a helicoper…..yeah, not gonna help so much. Bear in mind that cruder EFP IEDs don’t launch a missile at you; they just detonate on the ground many metres away and fling the copper jet and still damage vehicles.

            Also *very* unconvinced that decent strength metal grills several metres off-axis will not affect the manouvring of an aircraft. Aerodynamics matter to choppers too, after all.

      • Jonathan

        The Israelis have developed RPG countermeasures for their tanks, there has to be some way of adapting that to helicopters. Jeez! we put men on the moon in the late 60’s if enough time and money is put into this it can easily be achieved. Losing any men to primitive technology is unacceptable let alone 31 of the finest we have to offer. something must be done.

    • Andrew

      It is not the same navy seals that got bin laden what they are trying to say it is the navy seals that belonged to SEAL TEAM 6 THE UNIT THAT TOOK OUT BIN LADEN SAME UNIT, DIFFERNET PERSONELL.

      • Jonathan

        I saw, at first they published a story on their website saying it was the same guys.

  • Maxtrue

    I’m at a loss as to why we are doing what we are doing in AFPAK. Navy Seals should be used for special ops, not shoring up the front in a forgotten war. And there are strategies that would thwart the PREDICTABLE use of manpads (or “rockets”). We have been burying these stroies for years. Gees…the Soviets faced this threat from our proliferation in the hands of those we trained. We read how manpads poured out of Libya and that Iran is now assisting the Taliban and AQ. I know its premature to have an opinion, but this feels like both a sad and stupid loss of national heroes. There is nothing that can replace a determined order of battle with the resources needed. Perhaps these lives were sacrificed because we have less than that commitment in Afghanistan despite the determination of our armed forces.

    Many things don’t sit well in America this week. This one is another. My condolences to the families and questions for our leadership.

    • Matt

      Older MANPADS (that the Taliban could have access to) aren’t said to be that big a threat. They can be jammed by lasers or distracted by flares. The RPGs (unguided rockets) are said to be deadliest as there is (currently) no aircraft active protection system for volleys of these “dumb” rockets…

      A tragic incident, truly tragic

    • danboone143

      For political and economic reasons, we are reducing forces in country. This means those who are left have to do more with less. This means those of us who are still in the fight are going to be in more danger as the nation executes an exit strategy.

      Both political parties are betraying the military in the field. One party is trying to keep promises when they can see that those promises were premature and incorrect, appealing to the masses instead of simply doing the right thing. The other party, also lacking moral scruples or princples, seeks to opportunize on this and hopes that catastrophic mission failure occurs so they will have something to bolster their position in the upcoming elections. While they may as individuals lament the loss of life of our nations warriors, make no bones that they are exploiting this to their full advantage, just as their opponents would if the roles were reversed.

      Add to this the spectre of the current warriors being told that while they fight, the politicians stand ready to steal their retirement in order to sustain other governmental functions and I question how much longer this nation will remain on its feet.

  • racoon1

    I wonder if an Osprey would have been less of a sitting duck?

    • SJE

      It certainly would have been flying a lot faster.

    • Guest

      I doubt it. Most likely the Chinook was shot down near the LZ. The Osprey’s speed wouldn’t have helped in that situation.

      • Guest

        The osprey may have approached more quickly and gone further unnoticed, preventing an ambush from being perfectly positioned. Im sure a 47 lumbering in gives guys on the ground a lot of warning and time to set up a kill box.

        • blight

          That’s context-dependent. If the insurgents were prepared enough to ambush the QRF, then it /may/ have made no difference.

          Alternatively, you need more Ospreys to carry the same amount of troops, so even a single shootdown won’t kill 30+ people.

      • SJE

        Thanks, I did not realize that part of the story.

    • danboone143

      Good question. If it were flying in one of the passes, it might have been about the same target; certainly a target if it was in transition mode between fixed wing flight and vtol! good question indeed.

  • Jeremy

    They were on a rescue mission. I think it’s amazing though that we don’t hear more of these types of incidents considering the Chinooks are large and not terribly difficult to shoot down. Reports are saying they were from the same team that killed OBL but not the same men. RIP men….

  • lh32

    Does any one think that there was a leak of info on this mission? Because if it was the same guys that did Bin Laden it would be kinda strange?

  • LCpl Williams (FAST)

    I’m hearing it was an ambush, not unlike the Khost/CIA incident. RIP. If we can’t fight right, we’re gonna have to leave. We’re hemorrhaging billions into this losing fight, w/ ZERO benefit to us. Let’s pack up and leave.

    • lit

      Where did you hear it?

  • Old MSgt

    Helicopters by nature will be vulnerable because they can’t be well-protected against RPGs and still fly. It sucks but casualties are inevitable. The current rate is historically modest.

    Nearly HALF the helicopters use in Viet Nam were lost:

    There is no _current_ countermeasure short of getting out of the way or not being in the way, for example by airlifting light armor nearby and driving to target when that’s an option. OOPS! We got rid of everything in the inventory which could drive out the back of a CH-47 and perform acceptably off-road.

    Pop quiz-what vehicle was that?…

    • William C.

      Arg. Combat Reform, that guy (Mike Sparks) is a hack.

      I would have loved to seen the M8 AGS enter service. I’m sure many would agree with me there. But Sparky’s ideas about the M113 are pure nonsense, as are most of his ideas. There are only a handful of vehicles like the German Weasel which you could jam into the back of the CH-47. None of these carry a lot of armor or equipment.

      • blight

        Wiesels would get chewed up by the same RPGs that took down this Chinook. However, with a predictable flight path or a known profile, you can always barrage fire against a Chinook.

        Maybe 160th SOAR needs some ACH-47s…mix them with the MH-47’s for a little surprise.

  • traindodger

    For something this profoundly silly to have happened, the planning on that op had to have more than a few holes in it before the mission even began.

    • joe

      What? The enemy shooting back is cheating or something?
      Now, I lament the loss of brave men. I also agree that other aircraft or new defence kit might have improved the chances of survival.
      Yes, analyse every combat loss to the Nth degree because nothing is more damning than losing men the same way twice.

      But without knowing what happened, we’re making assumptions. One good assumption is that a fair proportion of Taliban infantry have access to RPGs because they’re cheap, reliable, and can be used for just about anything. Including barrage fire at landing aircraft.

      It doesn’t necessarily need to be a conspiracy, or an ambush, or anyone in the US military’s “fault”. Shock, awe and surprise gives you the edge but the concept that every casualty can be prevented is a fantasy that will drain every cent you have and leave you doctrinally impotent. It’s a damn war. People try and shoot at you. Sometimes, sadly, they hit you. Mourn the people lost, learn what you can, and move on.

      • traindodger

        Well, there is a bit of a problem with packing 38 people into a vulnerable transport chopper like sardines and flying low over enemy-held territory. If they had split the rescue force over four helicopters, they would have presented a much more difficult target. Unfortunately, QRFs don’t seem to have those kinds of resources.

        • blight

          You’re also assuming that the military has clouds of Chinooks available at beck and call. Even at the peak of Vietnam we did not have large numbers of Chinooks available for airmobile operations, and the Chinooks in Afghanistan are obviouslyc competing for a variety of missions, such that a ANG CH-47 was drafted for a QRF mission.

  • outlander15

    Wonder why we can’t put something like Trophy (Isreali active protection system for tanks for RPG defense) on an aircraft - we shoot chaff/flares out of aircraft, so being projectile based shouldn’t be an issue. Certainly some challenge with having the small radar and needing to survive airborne environment, but not like we haven’t done that before (and I work defense acquisition).

    • traindodger

      The problem with Trophy is that it is essentially a little radar-controlled turret that points what is basically a Claymore at the incoming warhead. It explodes with about the same force as an anti-personnel mine. The reason why they can put it on a tank is because a tank is thick-skinned enough to withstand the activation of the device. If you put that on a helicopter, the blast overpressure and fragmentation will send ripples of energy through the fuselage, potentially damaging the aircraft’s drivetrain and/or injuring the occupants.

      A soft-launched missile-based APS that detonates after putting distance between itself and the aircraft may be a viable solution.

      Here’s a video of Trophy in action:

      Note the large blast deflector mounted next to the charge.

      • Joe Schmoe

        That blast deflector is only there to protect a crewman that is hull-out of the tank, not to protect the tank itself.

        In any case, Israel does have a second APS system system in service called “Iron Fist”, it is to be mounted on the Namer AFV.

        • traindodger

          Sure, the tank’s hull would easily be able to stand up to the blast without the deflector there, but what about the sensitive electronics, like the threat-detection radar for the APS? Or the main gun optics?

          • Joe Schmoe

            Radar is armored as well, as are the main gun optics (which are covered away from the blast anyways). The only reason they put those deflectors there were to protect a hull-out crewman, otherwise they would have left the deflectors off and had each of the two firing positions covering a 360 degree arc instead of 180 degrees.

    • Andrew

      We are going to put lasers on that can defeat incoming missles just look up for yourself…

  • mehrdad

    putting 31 special ops troops in 1 big a** hilo and fly it on top of enemy land is a mistake in my mind.

  • Andrew


    • traindodger

      An RPG-7 round can travel a couple hundred yards in just two seconds. A laser constructed with present-day technology - with about the power of a blowtorch - would take about ten seconds to burn through its casing and destroy it.

  • A.g.

    I see 4 people whot tag “i like this” on FB. Really offensing.

    • Jeff Fraser

      I can’t speak for them, but I wouldn’t assume such. They likely meant it as respect for the fallen men.

      • A.g.

        I hope but I doubt.

  • Ziv

    Would an automatic shotgun on the rear deck pintle give an MH47 some chance of defeating a rear quarter RPG attack? The gunner would only have a second or two to acquire the target and fire, but it would be coming straight at him and a 12 gauge full of 00 buckshot would deflect the RPG by a significant amount. An M60 is what they usually mount there but it doesn’t have a chance in hell of intercepting an RPG whereas an AA12, automatic shotgun might. It wouldn’t be as effective at suppressive fire beyond 150 yards, but in the shorter ranges it would be devastating and it would have some chance of hitting an RPG.

  • Gunny R.

    Really makes you wonder what the end game is over there. RIP.

  • Roy Smith

    Alex Jones is saying on his website that this shootdown is a cover-up,AND that the SEAL Team 6 members reportedly killed in this crash were really killed in that secret “stealth” helicopter crash during the Bin Laden raid(Although,it would seem that a Blackhawk would be kind of small to put 22 people in,on top of the normal Blackhawk crew). Anyway,Alex Jones said that he had sources telling him that SEALs did die in the Bin Laden raid. He also mentioned that various Pakistani witnesses claimed they saw the Blackhawk blow up in the air after taking off from the courtyard of Bin Laden’s house. Don’t you just love “rumor control” & conspiracy theories?

    • David Smith

      I feel dumber for having read a post even related to that moron’s site.

    • Brian Black

      Alex Jones, and his like, provide a certain kind of entertainment-fiction for those that want it. They don’t really have anything relavant to add to a sensible discussion.

      It’s just unfortunate that some folks read these kind of blogs and take the stories to be factual.

  • jamesb

    Regards to the families of ALL of these brave soliders and helo drivers….

    Helo’s are sitting targets for RPG’s…..
    Which are effective
    The ole’ fashion way….
    Fighting a war involves risk…
    On ALL sides…..

  • SJE

    Can anyone comment on the relative survivability of an Osprey over the Chinook? I wonder if the presence of wings and control surfaces on the Osprey give it at least some cushion for a hard landing.

    • TLAM Strike

      Well helicopters can do something called Auto-Rotation, remember that on a helicopter the rotors are the wings. If the heli loses power the pilot can let the rotors spin freely and descend towards the ground- at this point the heli is in essence a glider. After he finds a location suitable to make an emergency landing he flairs (pulls the helicopter’s nose up) and uses the remaining energy in the rotors to reduce his vertical speed to land softly.

      If either a fixed wing/hybrid or rotary aircraft loses either airfoil or control surfaces its in trouble no matter what.

      • Jeff Fraser

        I’m no expert, but considering that the Ospreys rotors will be facing upwards when it is coming in to land (like a helicopter’s), couldn’t an Osprey’s pilots also use auto rotation?

        • TLAM Strike

          The Osprey cannot auto-rotate like a helicopter, its rotors lack sufficient lift to slow it if it loses all power. If it loses both engines its limited to functioning as a glider (with its fixed wings for lift), if its in helicopter mode at the time it will most likely result in a fatal crash.

  • 0311 Marine

    A couple of soldiers from the motor pool teaching Afghans how to drive, get blown up by IEDs, and zero news. Grunts get ambushed, a little news, but no one cares the next day. But when it’s SEALs, Special Operations, die the media goes all ga-ga and goo-goo. It’s not just special operations fighting these wars, guys.

    Everytime “S” goes side ways and down hill and our boys and girls die or are injured, this should be news everyday, everyday. This is about every single one of our troops out there, not just the Special ones, but the regular soldiers doing time so you don’t have to.

    RIP, but remember sometimes it’s better to die than to have to suffer through life because of combat injuries. Go Volunteer at your local VA hospital or clinic.

    • Brian Black

      It’s the scale of death in a single incident that has brougt the spotlight onto this particular tragedy. I think that the same number of guys from any of the services or any unit would get the same attention; though I agree that the media’s attention to casualties does wane during conflicts, particularly one of this length.

    • TMB

      0311, I think the reason for this difference of attention is that Special Operations guys are a much smaller bunch than the 0311 and 11B community. They’re also a lot harder to replace. It will take the Navy years to bounce back from losing 20 experienced SEALS.

  • citanon

    RIP to our brave warriors. It made me so sad to hear this yesterday.

    It seems to me that special operations need a light attack / scout helicopter with the same range as the MH-47 and similar high altitude performance to scout and clear their landing zones.

    That might have prevented this situation from occurring because the advanced thermal imagers on something like an Apache could have picked up the waiting insurgents, and disrupted the ambush before it can take place. On the other hand, while the MH-47G is night vision compatible, it doesn’t appear to have the same imaging equipment and certainly not the same weaponry as something like an Apache, and would not be able to “prepare the landing site” in the same way.

  • jamesb

    SJE…The ARMY Special Helo drive’s of the 160th fly Chinooks…..
    They do the MAJOR Special Ops work….

    The CV-22’s are Marine and Air Force assets….

    • SJE

      So, we make decisions on what to fly depending on who owns what, not what is the best tool for the job?

      • TMB

        The Army was offered the Osprey and they declined it. The 160th was formed so that Special Operations troops had a dedicated team of pilots and aircraft they worked with rather than rely on strangers. Special Ops units pretty much get whatever they want, so if they haven’t picked up the Osprey they probably have good reasons for it.

        • Altro

          Uhh…you do realize its AFSOC that operates the CV-22, right? Thats air force special operations.

          MV-22s are the Marine non-SOF version.

          • TMB

            Yep, should have specified Army Special Operations.

  • USAF

    I fell bad

  • Tad

    Are we using special forces commandos for missions that can be handled by soldiers or marines? For example, in this case, I am wondering why these guys were being sent to supposedly reinforce a firefight gone bad when a company of Marines could also do that job.

    • Jeff Fraser

      You can’t value one service member’s life over another’s.

      • blight

        We can, and do. “Leave no man behind” often means sending in more troops, and risking more men than are at risk in the first place. The last incident with a shootdown was because a unit needed backup, and sixteen SEALs died to provide it.

      • Tad

        I didn’t mean to imply that. Sorry it sounded that way. I was just wondering.

  • SEAL 6

    were you the one who fired the RPG?

  • crackedlenses

    May the ghosts of the ST members haunt you till you jump in the way of some American bullets, jihadist……

  • TLAM Strike

    Could you do us a favor and start your flag raising campaign with Moscow 1st?

    Moscow: Where empires march to die…

  • Guest

    Shouldn’t you be busy making celebratory love to a goat or lashing your wife for showing her ankle or something?

    Like you people care about women and children right? So much that they hang 8 year old and pour acid on little girls for going to school.

    I hope a 5.56 round dipped in pig blood finds its way to your empty beard ape skull.

  • Dr. Smarty

    one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter-and vice versa. it’s all fair in love and war. RIP, to all warriors involved in this senseless conflict.

    bring home our troops, leave af-pak (all risks, zero rewards), focus on china, which means improve our education and infrastructure so we can compete, since our competition w/ china, india, brazil and russia will be a lot more sophisticated.

  • Long Gun

    As Roy’s relays of Alex Jones site reporting would imply, this seems to be ‘damage control’; I hope this is the Navy’s way of closing out ST6, as there were a lot of ‘faces & names’ claiming to be from the Team on National News, ranging from Operators to Flag Officers. Outside of a few Officers, most prefer the shadows for safety and comfort. Consider how the Navy officially took care of the phasing out of the original Team, or certain ‘incidents.’ Hopefully the Team will come back as ST7, and be allowed to operate on their comfort one, with their families comfortably ‘re-located’ to a relatively reporter camera free zone.

    My thoughts and prayers to the surviving families.

    • Roy Smith

      Well since “SEAL Team 6” is supposed to be “officially” known as Naval Special Warfare Development Group(of course,I’m sure that like the “A ‘I pity the fool’ Team” they DON’T officially exist),I guess their moniker can be anything they want it to be.

    • jamesb

      Long Gun….Are you suggesting this is a ‘staged’ event?

  • Billy

    ABC News is saying the Seals were inbound to help Rangers under heavy indurgent fire. R.I.P. Thoughts with the Spec Ops community and thier family.

  • Musson

    I hate to say it - but is there a possiblity that the chopper was brought down by an Afghan suicide bomber among the locals onboard?

    • SJE

      Unlikely. More likely is that the presence of Afghan soldiers lead to some intel leak.

  • Old Gunner

    I have to question the wisdom of bringing in a ‘hook with that many troops on board into a contested LZ. Not saying that using more smaller aircraft with a lighter ACL, say 8 per AC would have saved everyone but the likelyhood that Taliban could have hit more than one aircraft is small, especially with gunship cover in the LZ.
    BTW the Chinook was not an MH variant, it was a standard CH-47 from a National Guard unit. MH would not have made any difference in this instance.

  • bigRick

    Something about this whole sad episode really sinks
    -one has to be fairly close for an RPG shot
    -why were they leaving when the LZ was still hot
    -the Chinook is too slow
    -too many saillors and soldier on one bird
    -why wasn’t the LZ secured
    -why wasn’t there patrols out on the edge looking for ambush sites
    -if an Chinook is going to be used there should have a 1 mile secure parameter
    -if the Seal came in to rescue the Ranger why were they leaving when they did, they area was cleared

    this whole thing just smells really bad, and when something smells that means there’s something rotten going on

    • jenifer

      impossible to secure the LZ for aircraft, the only other thing to be done was to have escorts of appachies, and that still might not have worked, when you’re up there you know you can have your ass handed to you any second.

  • Swamp

    Old Gunner is right. I just assumed it was Nightstalker bird since it had DEVGRU on board. But a news release today said it was a Kansas based reserve unit. Not 160 or FCD. The article ID’d the 47’s unit as Bravo Company, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment. I guess the SEALS had to go fast and that ship was on the ramp ready to go.

  • Mehrdad

    RIP brothers.My thoughts and prayers go to families of those brave men.
    I’m thinking if there was any attack helicopter for cover or any predator or UAV (at least 1) to scan the area for OPFOR while we have this hot zone and we are taking risk , sending too many special ops man into the scene with 1 vulnerable chopper?

  • phrogdriver

    Coming in/out of a contested LZ is difficult for any aircraft, no matter what it is or what you do. By definition, you’re very slow at a low altitude, and aluminum skin doesn’t stop much. Really all that could have saved this aircraft was not to land at that particular LZ at that particular time. Whether that was an option, or even the right decision based on the facts known at the time, we’ll see. Fog of war and all. If the right decision was easy, then was wouldn’t be so hard.

  • blight

    Do we even know for sure if the insurgents used an RPG? A Duskha or a 14.5mm can be quite damaging to aircraft, and the Chinooks aren’t particularly rugged (as learned at Roberts Ridge).

  • blight

    Trying to figure out more about Tangi Valley (just outside of Kabul, no less!), but there is a Tangi-Garu to the northeast and a “Tangi-Gary” (from mapstor).

    From NYT:…

    The article puts the valley along A01 between Kabul and Ghazni.

    For reference, it’s probably near N 34.42390 E 68.90076

    Names are being dropped, and they don’t correspond to anything on google maps (unsurprisingly). “Tangi Joy Zarin” area. 2 km from “Gulabkhil”.

    • blight

      On second assessment of the map, it’s probably closer to the intersection with the east-bound road, so N 34.05159 E 68.74433

      • blight

        Gulabkhil might correspond to Golabkheyl, which is northeast of Kabul, at…N 35.24996 E 69.70001

        If that’s the right place, the valley is shaped like a wishbone, with 3000m high ground in a triangle around the wishbone. If the location is correct, then there’s three ways in.

        Of course, I’m inclined to believe the times is right, but…

  • *.*


  • Abri

    The Kornet English: Cornet is a Russian anti-tank missile (ATGM). It is a second generation ATGM intended to deal with main battle tanks and to engage slow and low flying helicopters. The 9M133 missile together with its 9P163-1 tripod launcher and 1PN79-1 thermal sight forms the 9K123 missile system, the 9K123 can be carried and operated by a two-person infantry crew.
    Weight 27 kg (29 kg with launch tube)
    Length 1200 mm
    Diameter 152 mm
    Warhead weight 7 kg HEAT, 10 kg TNT equivalent
    Operational range 100-5500m
    Guidance system SACLOS laser beam riding
    Combat history
    During the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Kornets were used by some groups of Iraqi special forces to attack American armored vehicles, “disabling at least two Abrams tanks and one Bradley armored troop carrier in the opening week of the war.
    The second verified episode of Kornet ATGM in combat use occurred during the 2006 Lebanon War, where the missiles, reportedly supplied by Syria, were successfully used by Hezbollah fighters to destroy up to two Israeli Merkava tanks, and damage a number of others. I might be wrong but Kornet E proved to do the job Right. China is producing under the name HJ-9B.

  • ltech

    T say the least, having all the seals, Pjs, flight crew and Afgan forces in one aircraft was just one very bad decision. I did read that the aircraft did take multiple hits from both sides of a mountainous valley. If so, did the Taliban sit and wait for a back up support ground support to come in?

    Why even today, is there some kind of light armor protection for its hydraulics, drive shafts and engines?

    I was a mh-53 pavelow/ H-3 mechanic in the service 20 years ago and one would think that is very feasible to use light armor Aaramid or Kevlar” to protect these vulnerable areas from shrapnel.

  • Flyer66

    The problem with the rpg’s used in Somalia most likely as well as some used by insurgent in Afghanistan today is that these men have been trained to convert the grenade from a direct hit or time delay fuse into an airburst much like AA flak creating a much more deadly result not to mention that many of these fighters had years of experience with Soviet choppers even without the aid of U.S. Stinger missiles.