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Iraq: Shooting Down of U.S. Sea Knight Helicopter in the Al-Taji Region - February 7th, 2007

 

Background

 

“[…] On Friday, a Sunni insurgent group released a two-minute video of what it said was the ‘downing of U.S. aircraft on Feb. 7,’ showing a helicopter that appears to be a Sea Knight. The video shows an object trailing smoke in the sky near the helicopter. Then it shows the aircraft, its hull on fire, spewing debris and trailing smoke, heading downward and hitting the ground behind a line of trees. The group that posted the video, an umbrella organization called the Islamic State of Iraq, which includes al Qaeda in Iraq, has said its ‘anti-aircraft’ battalion was responsible for the downing. […] Most heat-seeking, shoulder-launched missiles have a firing range of about 2 miles, enabling the attacker to shoot from a hidden location far from the target. […]”

 

Excerpt of a San Francisco Chronicle article from February 10th, 2007.

Target of new missile attack: a U.S. helicopter

 

The Video

 

 

External view: link   file format: .rmvb

 

Aftermath & Background

Aftermath photo 1

Aftermath photo 2

File photo of a Sea Knight helicopter

Photo & Video Credits

 

The Video

 

1) On February 7, 2007, the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) posted a communiqué on the Islamist websites and later published the video, in which the group claimed responsibility for the downing of a U.S. Chinook helicopter in Iraq on the same day. According to the message, around 10:40 AM an "Islamic State in Iraq air defense unit" had targeted the helicopter in Al-Karama, destroying it completely. Apparently, it was a Sea Knight helicopter that went down - and not a Chinook.

 

Aftermath & Background

 

1) & 2) In this images made from video broadcast by AP Television News, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2007, smoke rises from the crash site of a U.S. military CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter which went down about 30 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, Iraq. Al-Qaida-linked Sunni insurgents claimed responsibility Wednesday for the downing of a U.S. military helicopter northwest of Baghdad. The claim was issued in an Internet statement signed by the Islamic State in Iraq, an umbrella group of several Sunni insurgent groups, including al-Qaida in Iraq. The authenticity of the statement - posted on a Web forum where the group often issues statements - could not be independently confirmed. The U.S. military did not give the cause of the crash or comment on casualties, though one U.S. military official said there were reportedly fewer than 10 people on board. - February 7th, 2007 - Associated Press/APTN;

3) Background information on CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters:

Mission: The mission of the CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter in a Marine Medium Helicopter (HMM) squadron is to provide all-weather, day/night, night vision goggle (NVG) assault transport of combat troops, supplies, and equipment during amphibious and subsequent operations ashore. Troop assault is the primary function and the movement of supplies and equipment is secondary. Additional tasks are: combat and assault support for evacuation operations and other maritime special operations; over-water search and rescue augmentation; support for mobile forward refueling and rearming points; aeromedical evacuation of casualties from the field to suitable medical facilities.

Background: The CH-46 Sea Knight was first procured in 1964 to meet the medium-lift requirements of the Marine Corps in Viet Nam with a program buy of 600 aircraft. The aircraft has served the Marine Corps in all combat and peacetime environments. However, normal airframe operational and attrition rates have taken the assets to the point where a medium lift replacement is required. The safety and capability upgrades are interim measures to allow continued safe and effective operation of the Sea Knight fleet until a suitable replacement is fielded. - Photo & Background information can be found on the website of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) - external link;

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