Thursday, February 08, 2007

Analysis: Copter Crashes Suggest Shift in Iraqi Tactics

News footage of yesterday's helicopter crash which killed 7

BAGHDAD, Feb. 7 — With two more helicopter crashes near Baghdad, including a Marine transport crash on Wednesday that killed seven people, the number of helicopters that have gone down in Iraq over the past three weeks rose to six. American officials say the streak strongly suggests that insurgents have adapted their tactics and are now putting more effort into shooting down the aircraft.

The number also includes a previously unreported downing of a helicopter operated by a private security firm on Jan. 31.

Some aspects of the recent crashes indicate that insurgents have become smarter about anticipating American flight patterns and finding ways to use old weapons to down helicopters, according to military and witness reports. The aircraft, many of which are equipped with sophisticated antimissile technology, still can be vulnerable to more conventional weapons fired from the ground.

Read the rest at the NY Times