COPTER SHOOTERS WISING UP

"A classified Army study of the downings of military helicopters in Iraq found that guerrillas have used increasingly sophisticated tactics and weapons including at least one advanced missile to attack American aircraft," the New York Times reports.

The insurgents have proved adept at using both rocket-propelled grenades, which are point-and-shoot weapons, and heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles, which require greater maintenance and skill, said Army officials familiar with the study.No type of helicopter is more vulnerable or more protected against the problem, the review found. But the team recommended specific changes to help pilots better evade ground fire, Army officials said. Senior officers declined to elaborate, but changes in the past have included flying more missions at night with lights off to avoid detection...One troubling finding, Army officials said, is that on at least one occasion the insurgents used a SA-16 shoulder-fired missile, which has a guidance system that is harder to thwart than the SA-7 missiles and rocket-propelled grenades that insurgents have used in other attacks.
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