Iraqi rebel tactics to down helicopters

NyTimes: Iraq Rebels Seen Using More Skill to Down Copters:

Iraqi rebel forces using Russian made guided missiles:

    One troubling finding, Army officials said, is that on at least one occasion the insurgents used an SA-16 shoulder-fired missile, which has a guidance system that is harder to thwart than the SA-7 missiles and rocket-propelled grenades that insurgents have used in other attacks.

    Since Oct. 25, nine military helicopters have been shot down or have crash-landed after being hit by what the authorities believe was hostile fire, killing a total of 49 soldiers. American military authorities say on Jan. 2, a rocket-propelled grenade or a surface-to-air missile downed an OH-58 Kiowa reconnaissance helicopter, killing the pilot. …

    Colonel Bullinger said that even before the team started its work, the Army was adopting lessons from Iraq, teaching Apache and Kiowa pilots to fire their weapons while “running and diving,” instead of hovering, when a helicopter is more vulnerable to an attack from the ground.

(It sounds like these pilots need to play some Desert Combat)

Global security has some good reference information with images on the different missile systems described here:

  1. SA-7 GRAIL 9K32M Strela-2
  2. SA-14 GREMLIN 9K34 Strela-3
  3. SA-16 GIMLET Igla-1 9K310 “The 9M313 missile of the SA-16 employs an IR guidance system using proportional convergence logic, and an improved two-color seeker, presumably IR and UV). The seeker is sensitive enough to home in on airframe radiation, and the two-color sensitivity is designed to minimize vulnerability to flares. The SA-16 has a maximum range of 5000 meters and a maximum altitude of 3500 meters.”
  4. SA-18 GROUSE Igla 9K38

The Afghan mujahadeen of course used American shoulder-fired FIM-92 Stinger missiles against the Soviets during their attempted eleven year occupation of Afghanistan. From Wikipedia:

    The CIA helped supply nearly 500 Stingers to the mujahideen warriors fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan. The Stingers are said to have downed nearly 300 Russian aircraft, including many helicopter gunships, before Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989.

Comments are closed.