Taliban shoot down Blackhawk with potential “new” weapon

Posted on: January 14th, 2014 by Will Rodriguez 6 Comments
Anti Helo Mine shown in an Islamic Jihad Union (IJU) video (Long War Journal)

The government reversed itself and reported a UH60 Blackhawk helicopter was shot down by the Taliban in Afghanistan Dec. 17 2013.  Six soldiers were killed five from the 1st Infantry Div. and one from the 2nd Cav Regiment.  Initial reports were conflicted about enemy fire in the area but initially claimed enemy fired did not bring the helicopter down.   The Taliban, as they always do, claimed responsibility. 

Helicopters being shot down in Afghanistan aren’t necessarily new or unheard of.  Most are attributed to RPG attacks as were the Chinook shoot downs carrying QRF’s during Operation Anaconda, Operation Red Wings and most recently Extortion 17 carrying members of SEAL Tm 6.  RPGs are very capable of taking down a helicopter as we learned in Mogadishu Somalia popularly depicted in the movie “Black Hawk Down”.  This RPG effectiveness against helicopters isn’t a controversy.  RPG’s can penetrate the 30T Bradley from almost any direction.  Helicopters fly virtue of some very fine and balanced aerodynamics and are much more delicate than most fixed wing aircraft.

What’s new about the recent incident was the AQ affiliated insurgents claimed they used an anti-helicopter mine to shoot down the Blackhawk.  Crude video and pictures exist of two insurgents carrying a heavy looking pot with a crude warhead sticking out the top.  The insurgents claim these are designed specifically to target the lightly armored AH64 Apache gunship.  Most likely these are placed in areas where helicopters will pass over or hover and are command detonated.  Similar weapons and tactics were used against the Russians who learned to avoid insurgents who made appeared in the open like staked down goats.  The Russians had little to fear until MANPADS found their way onto the battlefield.

It was reported the one helicopter downed was one of two flying in tandem and engaged from fire from below.   While a disturbing development simple anti-helicopter mines require very lucky and insightful emplacement by insurgents to be successful.

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  • ArcticWarrior

    Not exactly new, the VC did it, the Jawas did it to the Soviets… we even went over using a claymore in a tree…but this, while not quite Eastern Bloc production looking, is obiously lethal. Helos are fragile, would hate to be looking down the hell hole and seeing one of those on the rocks below…..

  • 5000area375

    I mourn the fallen. This is a low level threat, even a blind squirrel or sheik gets a nut every onces in awhile. IMO this is not effective unless it is smart tech or a helo lands on it.
    The claymore and a few other techniques would work but shouldn’t be discussed openly. Can’t give them any ideas they don’t already have.

  • clluelo

    A direct result of a long war ! The Terrs learn and adapt , I wish this would be a lesson learned ….but it won’t.

  • ArcticWarrior

    5000area375 They already know them, they used to take out HIPs and HINDs the same way back in the early 80s. The Chech’s used the same tactics in the 90’s.

  • ArcticWarrior

    clluelo Its a recycling. Some village elder probably resurrected the idea or some Paks reminded them of the great struggle against the Bear.

    The bigger threat is the MANPADs that keep turning up from Soviet stock in the Balkans. A lot of those were late 80s early 90s vintage, cached in caves and bunkers. That puts the battery life at the far end of its useful life. In Albania a some of early 90s stock in pristine condition were found. Some of the other caches found have been thoroughly trashed by the elements. Its a big unknown how many of these stores are out and about, but one thing is certain, the Balkan states and SE Europe were stuffed with lots of Soviet toys.

    The Mumbasa SA7 was 30 years old, and the grip stock and battery was still functional. Its all about capability and intent.

  • GodblessUSSF

    I just wonder what the hell the reason is for this loss of life if we’re getting out of there without any real reason or sense of mission accomplishment. Everything I hear tells me this is all but over outside of the small amount of troops that remain for now. If we aren’t there to win a war or even fight outside of small ops and posturing then why be there? If we don’t have leadership that believe in a mission (or even should since the mission is to just get out) what’s the fucking point? Don’t get me wrong, I think there is a reason. I just don’t think the current admin does. And what they’re doing is making this look like another Vietnam to the rest of the world and even to some here, where people happily claim we lost this war. And that is not fucking conscionable to me.