U.S. evacuation flights from South Sudan hit by fire. US personnel injured

According to the BBC (and other media outlets around the world) two US evacuation flights from South Sudan have been fired upon with subsequent injuries.

The aircraft, which landed in Uganda, were attacked near Bor, capital of the state of Jonglei occupied by forces loyal to former Vice-President Riek Machar and the scene of some of the country’s worst violence since last week.

Whereas Pentagon has confirmed three US servicemen where hurt, the type of aircraft hit by the fire is not clear yet, even if it could have been a Marines MV-22 Osprey according to the first rumors.

Update: the aircraft were indeed Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, but CV-22s of the Air Force Special Operations Command.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. It looks the the V-22 is better at FLACK than FLAK. It was knocked out of action by locals with small arms. Better go back to hauling toilet paper and VIPS

    • Idiotic comment.

      There is no mention of this being simple small arms fire – even if it were – are you implying the skin of a Chinook or a -53 protects the occupants from small arms?

          • Small arms is everything short a heavy vehicle mounted chain gun and missiles. Also don’t forget news reporters are more often than not military illiterates so it could have very possible been old Russian AAA towed or technical mounted guns called small arms, hell could have even been a MANPAD type. Regular case in Iraq.

            Regardless the bird went in probably expecting a friendly zone (S Sudan and both of these tribes were/are US allies) took her hits, recovered and got out of the zone. It then flew over 500miles south into Uganda (no current helo in 100% condition could do that without tanking). Ohh and did I mention it had deployed into theater from Uganda as well.

            Range and speed equal options, options in war often is the difference between winning and losing.

            Having no escort is an issue but that will be corrected in due time probably when the V-280 gets pulled into the army air.

      • The claim was repeatedly made that the enhanced mission survivability of the Osprey was part of the justification for the massive cost.

        • The aircraft survived the mission just fine. No transport helo can protect the passengers from small arms. Contrary to popular belief, generic small arms will shred through 3/8 steel like butter – let alone the paper thin skin of a transport.

          • By that logic I survived Mt Everest, by not going. the Osprey had no passengers. if it no more capable of carrying out a mission in the face of small arms fire than any helicopter it is an over priced bus

        • Well, that can mean a lot of things…
          An asset for mission survivability for exemple is speed…
          Getting fast in and out the ennemy territory, and land anywhere you want contributes to this and the osprey is much faster than a helo….

          • Sure it can run away faster than any helicopter. But if you cant do the mission it doesn’t matter.

  2. There is no helicopter capable of escorting a V-22 and the lack of a support is probably at the origin of this aborted attempt.

    AgustaWestland AW609 has been considered a possible gap filler for this role:

    “In 2004, Lt. Gen. Michael Hough, USMC deputy commandant for aviation, requested that Bell conduct studies into arming the AW609, potentially to act as an escort for V-22s.”


    • Do you really believe the politicians in control would *ever* allow an American evac mission to go into South Sudan guns blazing with Apaches or even door gunners anyways? Not a chance in hell.

      • Maybe not but the problem remains. Apaches do not have the speed nor range to escort V-22s so this is a big problem at the moment.

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