Six US helicopters have been downed in less than 3 weeks, almost certainly by the Iranian Republican Guard. To stop that, we must take the war to the enemy.
A U.S. Marine transport helicopter crashed in flames Wednesday in a field northwest of Baghdad, killing all seven people aboard, the U.S. military said. It was the sixth U.S. aircraft reported lost in less than three weeks and the latest sign of growing problems with aviation in Iraq.
An Iraqi farmer who lives about a half mile from the crash site said he heard a missile fired moments before the crash, which took place in an insurgent-infested region.
“The helicopter was flying and passed over us, then we heard the firing of a missile,” the farmer…said. “The helicopter then turned into a ball of fire. It flew in a circle twice and then went down.”
These kills were probably the work of the Russian SA-16 9M313 GIMLET, a third-generation man-portable missile similar to the Stinger. It’s hard for a slow mover to decoy or dodge it below 10,000 feet:
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.
Iran has these weapons and Jane’s says it supplied them to the Hizbollah:
Iran is to supply the Islamic Resistance – the armed wing of…Hizbullah… – with a quantity of surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems over the coming months, Western diplomatic sources have confirmed to Jane’s.
According to the sources, Tehran will supply Hizbullah with Russian-produced SAMs, including the Strela-2/2M (SA-7 ‘Grail’), Strela-3 (SA-14 ‘Gremlin’) and Igla-1E (SA-16 ‘Gimlet’) man-portable SAM systems.
So Iran is for sure supplying these weapons, and it’s probably operating them too – they need substantial operator training
The coalition depends on helicopters for resupply and close ground support, so what to do?
Modern flares are tuned to decoy the SA-16 – the Reuters forgery used a picture of an Israeli F-16 launching them. But there’s not much time to launch them from a slow mover – the SA-16 flies at Mach 3. A better helicopter defense is the Directed InfraRed CounterMeasure (DIRCM) – that jams the IR homer. But this will take a long time to deploy, and even when it’s in place the Iranians can just switch to a non-IR seeker.
So the solution is to turn off the faucet, and that can be done is by damaging raids on the Republican Guard bases supporting Iraqi terror. An example is the Brit/Australian/New Zealand special forces raids into Indonesia in the 1960s that stopped Indonesian meddling in Malaysia.
Our special forces must be itching to take a crack at the Republican Guard, and now’s the time to let them loose.