Taliban Shootdown Forces Chinook Rethink

by Jeremy Sapienza, August 09, 2011

Three days after the Taliban used a grenade launcher to shoot down a Chinook military helicopter in Afghanistan, the Pentagon is now reconsidering landing the crafts in battle zones, McClatchy reports.

The Chinook is vulnerable and slow during landings, exposing troops to attack. But the choppers can fit a lot of personnel and get them quickly to a battle scene, as was the situation on Saturday. 30 US personnel, including members of the same SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden, were killed, along with an interpreter and seven Afghan troops.

Near the end of the Vietnam war, B-52s, which had dropped thousands of bombs over Vietnam’s cities, had begun to be shot down. 17 were blown out of the sky, and up to 11 within a one-week period in December 1972, before the planes were removed from service.

Another Chinook had to make a “hard landing” yesterday in Afghanistan, as did another just two weeks ago after being hit with a grenade. Other helicopters have been shot down since the war began in 2001, with some 100 deaths and 150 injuries.

In the wake of the chopper downing, the Taliban claimed they had a new weapon to use against helicopters.

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