Tag Archives: CH-47

Take A Look At These Stunning Shots Of The “5 Torri” Joint Multinational Mountain Warfare Exercise in the Dolomites

You don’t happen to see combat helicopters and jets operating in the magnificent setting of the Dolomites too often.

Cinque Torri (5 Towers) is the name of a mountain complex part of the Dolomites, in northern Italy. Named after the mountain range is also an yearly, large, joint multinational exercise that this year took place on Jul. 4: “5 Torri 2018”.

The Army Alpine Troops, military from 14 allied and friendly countries, assets belonging to the Italian Army Aviation as well as all national Armed Forces and personnel from the Alpine and Speleological Rescue National Corps and Civil Protection took part in the alpine  exercise whose aim is to conduct simulated combat in the mountains, apply mountaineering techniques to carry out movement and high-altitude rescue operations, and to show the Alpine Troops’  ability to develop effectively the modern “mountain warfare” concept, an evolution of the traditional high altitude combat techniques.

An NH-90 involved in the exercise.

On the very same mountain tops, where the Italian Artillery Command was located 100 years ago, the Italian mountain soldiers wrote some epic pages of military history during WWI using tactics similar to those used today. Indeed, in a four-dimensional battlefield that includes cyberspace, alpine combat is far from being obsolete, as the operations in Afghanistan have shown.

An Italian Air Force AMX ACOL from Istrana also took part in the drills.

An UH-205 escorted by an AH-129 Mangusta.

An ICH-47F in the magnificient setting of the Dolomites.

The venerable AB.205 involved in a tactical transportation mission.

“A traditional as well as modern exercise, that has engaged our Armed Forces and those of 14 allied and friendly countries who have trained all together in order to be able to intervene in all climate and environmental circumstances. Most of the earth’s land surface is made up by mountains, and most current operations take place in mountain areas”, Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Graziano stated in his welcome speech.

The exercise included several tactical events (SAR, troops infilitration and exfiltration, transportation and escort etc.) and saw the involvement, among the others of Italian Army CH-47F, NH-90 (UH-90), AB-205 (UH-205) and A-129 (AH-129) helicopters as well as Italian Air Force AMX (A-11B) jets and an NH-500 (TH-500A) helicopter.

An Italian Army Aviation Mangusta.

Fast rope from a Chinook.

People enjoy the tactical demo and the stunning panoramic views.

The Aviationist’s contributor Claudio Tramontin took the amazing photographs you can find in this article.

 

CH-47 shot down by an RPG rocket: second episode in less than two weeks

On Aug. 6, an Army National Guard CH-47 with 38 on board, including 19 Navy Seals was downed by a rocket-propelled grenade in eastern Afghanistan. It was the worst incident of the war in Afghanistan as the Afghanistan war as it approaches the 10-year mark. Hundred articles and comments have been published all around the world, but none of those I’ve read so far, has recalled a similar incident that took place only few days before, when another Chinook, operating in the same region was hit by an RPG shot.

On Jul. 25, in what had been considered “a rare incident”, another CH-47 was hit by an RPG rocket and forced to perform a (successful) crash landing. Fortunately, everybody escaped the downed chopper and there were only two slightly wounded.

So, less than two weeks before a CH-47 and its passengers were killed by an RPG rocket, another unguided rocket had hit the same type of helicopter, in similar circumstances and almost with the same consequences.

The helicopter downed in July was carrying US and Afghan soldiers to Nangalam Base, in the Pech River Valley, in eastern Afghanistan and the crash happened shortly after midnight.

Since the RPG is a launcher of unguided rockets, hitting anything even at a few hundred meters is extremely difficult and requires a certain amount of luck. Even if the target is a large chopper. For this reason, an interesting article published few days after the Jul. 25 incident by Strategy Page talked about a “miracle shot”. A miracle that, unfortunately, repeated on Aug. 6, with a death toll of 38.

According to the Strategy Page article, the CH-47 hit on Jul. 25 was the 17th helo brought down by hostile fire in Afghanistan (with another 84 crashed for non-combat reasons).

In most cases, helicopters are brought down machine-guns, especially heavy (12.7mm or larger) ones. The enemy has also been using portable surface-to-air missiles since 2003, including more modern models, like the SA-16 (which is similar to the American Stinger.) American helicopters are equipped with missile detection and defense (flare dispensers) equipment. Thus the most dangerous anti-aircraft weapon remains the machine-gun. However, aircraft losses to ground fire have been declining every year, mainly because of improved defensive tactics.

Helicopters are fired on about six times more frequently than they are hit, and most of those hit are only slightly damaged (and land normally). Today’s helicopters are much more rugged and reliable than those in Vietnam (1966-71, the first major combat use of helicopters). There, 2,076 helicopters were lost to enemy fire (and 2,566 to non-combat losses). In Vietnam, helicopters flew 36 million sorties (over 20 million flight hours). Helicopters were used much less in Iraq, where no more than half a million hours a year were flown (to support a third as many troops as there were in Vietnam during the peak year). In Vietnam, helicopters were about twice as likely to get brought down by enemy fire. As in Iraq and Afghanistan, the main weapons doing this were machine-guns.

Today’s helicopters are more sturdy, partly because of Vietnam experience, and are more likely to stay in the air when hit, and land, rather than crash.

Unfortunately, not enough sturdy to absorb an RPG “miracle shot”.

There’s no way to procted an helicopter from an RPG rocket other than flying unpredictable paths at very high speed, an attitude that can be maintained only for some phases of a mission. Surely not when the helicopter is heavy or close to the ground during take off and landing.

Wired’s Danger Room reports that new helicopter countermeasures are currently under test and could be deployed in combat on CH-47s well before the current deadline (2017), following last week end tragedy.

However such defensive systems react after the first shot, preventing the shooter from taking a second shot. The risk is that Taliban shooters, who seems to be more accurate with their rockets than the past, as the Jul. 25 and Aug. 6 incidents show, may be able to hit the target with their first shot, rendering the countermeasures useless.

Departures from Circus Maximus (in bad weather)

Below, the pictures of the departures from the static display at the Circus Maximus for the Armed Forces Day, taken on Nov. 10, 2010, by Giovanni Maduli.

















Circus Maximus exhibition (for the Armed Forces Day 2010)

The Italian Armed Forces celebrated the 92nd Anniversary since the end of WWI and the Armed Forces Day with the traditional exhibition in the Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo) in Rome with weapons systems and equipment belonging to the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force), Marina Militare (Italian Navy) and Guardia Costiera (Coast Guard), Esercito Italiano (Italian Army), Guardia di Finanza (Custom Police) and Carabinieri (Military Police). Here are the pictures I and Giovanni Maduli took on Nov. 7, at the exhibition.

















Italian Armed Forces Day arrivals

As happend in 2008 and 2009, Circus Maximus (Circo Massimo) in Rome will host an exhibition with equipment belonging to the Aeronautica Militare (Italian Air Force), Marina Militare (Italian Navy) and Guardia Costiera (Coast Guard), Esercito Italiano (Italian Army), Guardia di Finanza (Custom Police) and Carabinieri (Military Police) as part of the celebrations for the traditional Italian Armed Forces Day (Nov. 4th). On Oct. 28, the first helicopters landed in the Circus Maximus and Giovanni Maduli was there to take the following pictures of the arrivals.