Tag Archives: Black Hawk

Turkish Blackhawk Kill Claimed by Kurds on YouTube, Turks “Counterattack” on Twitter.

The Social Media Battlefield: Fighting a Confusing War on Twitter, Youtube and Facebook.

It is the new battlefield, the great equalizer, delivered at the speed of light and impervious to bullets, missiles and armor. It is social media. Increasingly social media is being used as a weapons delivery platform in the information war. It is an equalizer between conventional militaries and insurgent forces, providing a sometimes-terrifying mouthpiece for guerillas and freedom fighters.

Weaponized Social Media (WSM for short) is also a source of misinformation and deception, one wielded effectively whether you are showing video of a U.S. Air Force B-2 stealth bomber strike, or an ISIL insurgent IED suicide attack. Every combatant on the YouTube battlefield is the same size, 800 x 600. For only a few thousand dollars an insurgency can terrorize the world via YouTube. It is the textbook manifestation of Sun Tzu’s axiom on terrorism in his masterwork, “The Art of War”. Sun Tzu wrote, “Kill one, terrorize a thousand”. The damage radius is limited only by the speed of your internet connection and the size of your monitor.

But there are at least two sides to every story, and often many more. During the last 24 hours, a fascinating textbook example of using Weaponized Social Media surfaced on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram.

The country of Turkey is in conflict with the covertly U.S.-backed Kurdish People Protection Units, known as the “YPG”. There is also spill-over tacit U.S. support for the Syrian Democratic Forces, the free-Syrians not under Bashar al-Assad. Bashar al-Assad, as you know, is the Syrian President backed by Russia. As with most relationships played out on social media, it’s complicated.

The gray-area support from the U.S. government of the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG) started during the administration of former President Barack Obama, and continues under President Donald Trump. Trump is a rough-talking gangster of a politician to Obama’s polished attorney voice.

Under Trump’s administration the SDF forces are now 50,000 strong according to reports- they fight Assad’s regular army Syrian units for control and in combat with their common enemy, ISIL. The authoritative publication “Foreign Policy” described the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and their same-side alliance with the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG) as, “The most capable anti-Islamic State force in northern Syria.” While Russia may not agree with that assessment, there is no doubt the SDF and YPG guerilla forces amount to more than a series of acronyms formed by a Scrabble game gone wrong.

Get out your notebook because it gets more complicated. Enter the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by several states and organizations including NATO. The short story is, SDF and YPG are aligned with the PKK in the fight against ISIL, but not liked by the TAF, the Turkish Armed Forces. You can also call the TAF the “Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri, or “TSK” if you prefer. The TAF, or TSK if you prefer, are the military forces of the Republic of Turkey. So, the PKK, the SDF and the YPG, backed by the USA, are at odds with the TAF, or TSK if you like.

Before you ask, “WTF?”, just think of it this way for our purposes; The guys in the Blackhawk helicopter in these photos and videos are fighting the guys who launch the rocket at them from the bottom of the mountain.

One video shows the rocket launch from the perspective of the guys firing it. It seems to weave and bob the way rockets do, on its way to the top of the ridge, where a Turkish S-70A helicopter appears. The Turkish Blackhawk dips below the ridge just as the PKK ATGM explodes. The inference is that the guys firing the ATGM hit the Blackhawk.

Click over to the video of the guys up on the ridge with the Blackhawk, being resupplied, it would appear. The wire-guided missile fired from the bottom of the ridge by the first guys videoing, explodes over the heads of the guys on top of the ridge, also videoing. An instant after the rocket explodes the Blackhawk successfully escapes. The point? The one video from the bottom of the ridge suggests the S-70A was hit, a huge victory for those lads. The other video shows the Turkish helicopter flying away, “proof” that it is not a victory, just a near miss and one for the highlight reel on YouTube.

The entire episode is proof of another Sun Tzu principle from “The Art of War”:

“All warfare is based on deception.”

Legendary U.S. Army Special Operations Force gets MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones

In May 2011, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) used two stealthy MH-X “Silent Hawk” (or Stealth Black Hawk) to infiltrate and exfiltrate U.S. Navy SEALs during the Osama Bin Laden raid.

At that time, nobody knew a radar-evading version of the Black Hawk helicopter existed. However, it was not such a big surprise that such an advanced weapons system was already in the hands of the aircrews of the legendary 160th SOAR, also known as “Night Stalkers”.

The U.S. Army special ops force provides support for both general purpose and special operations forces. They fly MH-47G Chinooks, MH-60L/K Black Hawks, A/MH-6M Little Birds, MH-X Silent Hawks (the latter is an unconfirmed designation) and maybe stealthy Little Birds and stealthy Chinooks as well.

160th SOAR mainly operate at night (hence their name) in attack, assault, reconnaissance, infiltration and exfiltration, and any kind of known or unknown special operations you may imagine.

Since Nov. 19, the Night Stalkers have welcomed the first MQ-1C Gray Eagle.

Gray Eagle is an advanced derivative of the Predator  specialized in providing direct operation control by Army field commanders. It can fly Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition (RSTA); convoy protection; Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detection as well as providing live aerial imagery to ground patrols carrying also PGMs (Precision Guided Munitions).

160th SOAR recently formed E-Company will receive 12 Gray Eagle which will strengthen the U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command (ARSOAC) fleet of smaller RQ-11B Raven and RQ-7 Shadow UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) giving the Night Stalkers autonomous ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) and attack capabilities over a larger area of interest.


Image credit: U.S. Army


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Polish made Black Hawk helicopters in the Colombian Army. Featuring advanced avionics.

Sikorsky Aircraft has announced (a bit late) that it has passed another two S-70i Black Hawk helicopters to the Colombian Army.

The S-70i version of Black Hawk is being produced in PZL Mielec works in Poland. Beside Colombians the Polish made choppers are used by Saudi Arabia, Armed Forces of Brunei and Mexican Police. What is more the Mielec works also supplies parts for the Black Hawks that are to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

The latest two choppers differ from the earlier deliveries. They have new avionics system.

The helicopters have been taken on charge on Aug. 13, 2013 in Sikorsky West Palm Beach factory in Florida. Later they flew a 30 hour trip t0 Tolemaida AB in Colombia, covering a distance of approximately 5,560 km.

The peculiar feature of the chopper is the HTAWS (Helicopter Terrain Awareness and Warning System) that was developed by Sikorsky in collaboration with Sandel Avionics.

It is similar to TAWS that is present in the fixed-wing aircraft, but at the same time it is adapted to the peculiar features of helicopter flying. The HTAWS works together with the GPS and INS (Inertial Navigation System) navigation systems, digital maps, radar altimeter, heading indicator and air data computer. This allows the HTAWS to provide very accurate data about the position of the chopper, along with e.g. positions of the electric power transmission lines, roads, terrain etc. Voice alerts are provided to warn the pilots.

The system features four sensitivity modes — Normal, Low, Tactical, and Obstacles Only. The last one reduces the number of false alerts in low altitude operations.

Colombia uses seven S-70i along with 96 UH-60L choppers that make it one of the largest Black Hawk Operators.

Jacek Siminski for TheAviationist

Image Credit: Sikorsky


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Impressive photo: eight U.S. Army helicopters simultaneously launch from base in Afghanistan

Taken on Jan. 18, the following impressive photo, shows six UH-60L Black Hawks and two CH-47F Chinooks, assigned to Task Force Brawler, 4th Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, Task Force Falcon, simultaneously launch a daytime missionfrom Multinational Base Tarin Kowt.

Task Force Brawler

Image credit: U.S. Army

Doesn’t it remind you of “Apocalypse Now”?

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Turkish Black Hawk crashes during operation against Kurd rebels, 17 dead

News websites are reporting that a Turkish Sikorsky (Black Hawk?) has come down in bad weather on Herekol mountain, in the Pervari district of Siirt province (southeastern Turkey). It was carrying members of gendarmerie special forces whilst on operations against Kurdish rebels. All 17 people on board died in the crash.

The Turkish military has opened an investigation into the incident which is said to have taken place in thick fog.

[Read also: U.S. Predator spy drone shot down by Kurd rebels in Turkey, near Iraq]

The helicopter is thought to have clipped a rocky outcrop whist trying to ferry the troops to Pervari, where the Turkish army has been flushing out the rebels. It is the second crash in a month involving Turkish helicopters when another crashed in Diyarbakir province after it hit power lines killing one and wounding seven.

Richard Clements for TheAviationist.com

Image credit: Cpl John Bradley, NCE Photographer