Warplanes: August 2, 2003


Although the U.S. Marines did not lose any attack helicopters in Iraq, they had 49 of their 58 AH-1 and UH-1 choppers shot up so badly that they needed extensive repairs. The marines, like the army, use tactics that allow the armed helicopters to operate over fifty kilometers in front of friendly troops. This tactic has been around a long time without really being exposed to an enemy that is fighting back. The 1991 Gulf war had a ground battle that was over so quickly, against a demoralized Iraqi army, that the helicopters did not have much opportunity to get shot at a lot. But now the army and marines have both seen what a feisty foe on the ground can do to their helicopters. Before the fighting was over in Iraq, helicopter units commanders had changed their tactics, partly because of all the damage their machines were receiving, partly because the ground units were calling for more helicopter gun ships to provide "top cover" for them. This the gunships were happy to provide, as it gave them lots of targets, and a chance to work closely with the troops on the ground. This will probably be the official tactics in the future. 


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close