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US Study: Iraqi Insurgents Using More Sophisticated Weapons
VOA News
18 Jan 2004, 02:56 UTC

The New York Times reports a classified U.S. Army study concludes insurgents in Iraq are using increasingly sophisticated tactics and weapons to target coalition helicopters.

The newspaper quotes Army officials familiar with the study as saying the insurgents are successfully using rocket-propelled grenades and heat-seeking surface to air missiles.

They say the study found that all types of U.S. helicopter are equally vulnerable to the attacks. But the study did make recommendations to help pilots evade ground fire, including flying more night-time missions with lights off.

The study was conducted before the three most recent helicopter downings in Iraq this month.

Army officials tell The New York Times that the senior U.S. commander in Iraq, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, ordered a comprehensive study of all helicopter downings in Iraq to find possible weaknesses in U.S. tactics.

Nine military helicopters have been shot down or crash-landed after being hit by suspected hostile fire in Iraq since late October.