Warplanes: November 14, 2002


During an incident in Afghanistan last March, a Special Forces soldier was killed. At first it was reported to be from enemy mortar fire. But a subsequent investigation revealed that it was friendly fire from an AC-130 gunship. The AC-130 was in the area to provide fire support, but it's navigation system has broken. Rather that return to base, and leave local troops without the fire support an AC-130 provides, the crew relied on navigating the old fashioned way. Picking out reference points on the ground and comparing them to a map, they got lost. When the Special Forces truck convoy came into view, it was mistakenly identified as hostile and fired on. The error was soon realized, but not before the one Special Forces soldier was killed. More details of the investigation were not revealed, lest important performance data about the AC-130 (that could be useful to hostile forces) be revealed. It's also not known if the AC-130 crew will be punished. The crew did show initiative by falling back on visual navigation. Risks like this are commonly taken in wartime and they don't always work out.


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 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