Here’s An Update On The Military Aviation Mishaps In The Last Few Days

Two OH-58Ds of the 93rd Air Force Base of the Croatian Air Force (HRZ) during a training flight. (Photo: HRZ / M. Karacic)

Other incidents were reported on the same day the E-11A BACN crashed in Afghanistan.

On Jan. 27, 2020 three different military aviation mishaps were reported in a 12 hours timeframe: an E-11A BACN in Afghanistan, an OH-58D in Croatia and a Su-30MKA in Algeria. We already wrote about the BACN when the first photos and videos surfaced online; however, since there have been new details about the crash and the recovery operations, let’s start from that one.

The E-11A Battlefield Airborne Communications Node crashed in the Taliban-controlled area in Dih Yak, Ghazni, about 178 miles northeast of Kandahar Airfield, where the aircraft was based. Colonel Sonny Leggett, spokesman for U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, stated in an official release that on January 28, the day after the crash, U.S. Forces recovered the remains of the two crewmembers that were on board the E-11A and the Flight Data Recorder (FDR), before destroying what was left of the aircraft. The incident is under investigation but, according to the statement, there are no signs the crash was caused by enemy fire.

According to defense officials reached by Newsweek’s correspondent James LaPorta, the recovery operation was executed by the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), also known as SEAL Team Six, after a first rescue attempt by Afghan forces was ambushed by Taliban militants on the way to the crash site, as reported by Reuters. According to LaPorta, the crew of the E-11 sent a mayday call while flying at 42000 ft, before crashing at about 1:00 p.m. local time (8:30 a.m. UTC).

The second mishap of the day happened near Zablać and Zlarin, Croatia, when an OH-58D Kiowa Warrior of the 93rd Air Force Base of the Croatian Air Force crashed in the sea for unknown reasons at 11:00 a.m. local time (10:00 a.m. UTC). The helicopter, part of a lot of 16 aircraft received from the U.S. Army, was flying in formation with another Kiowa, which gave the alarm and remained on the location of the crash while waiting for the rescue forces. Both pilots perished in the impact with the water, of which one was found shortly after the incident and the other was found by divers with the wreckage of the OH-58 one day alter, after an extensive search effort.

An Algerian Su-30MKA Flanker-H during an air-to-air refueling exercise with an Il-78 Midas. (Photo: Force Aérienne Algérienne)

The last mishap happened during a night training flight of an Algerian Su-30MKA Flanker-H, custom version of the Russian-Indian Su-30MKI with French and Russian avionics . The aircraft, belonging to the 121st squadron of the Algerian Air Force, crashed for unknown reasons near Mechta Draa Tafza, about 300 miles east of Algiers, at 10:00 p.m. local time (9:00 p.m. UTC), causing the death of both pilots. This should be the first Flanker lost by Algeria, out of 58 already delivered and 16 more on order.

It’s also worth noticing that on Jan. 29, another incident was reported: the crash of a U.S. aircraft in Iraq. Initially, Iraqi media outlets stated a USAF C-27J Spartan had crashed killing four U.S. crew members. However, since the U.S. Air Force does not operate any C-27, someone suggested the aircraft involved in the incident was an UC-27B a military version of the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan used by the U.S. 427th Special Operations Squadron.

The incident has not been officially confirmed yet.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.