A U.S. Air Force (USAF) HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter has crashed near al Qaim in western Anbar Province, Iraq, on Mar. 15, 2018 and at least some aboard were killed.
According a U.S. official there was no sign of hostile fire, but it is not being ruled out at this time.
It’s believed to be the first fatal helicopter crash in Iraq since the U.S. began fighting ISIS there in 2014.
In a statement, the anti-ISIS coalition, officially known as Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, said: “A U.S. military aircraft has crashed in western Iraq with U.S. service members aboard. Rescue teams are responding to the scene of the downed aircraft at this time. Further details will be released when available. An investigation will be initiated to determine the cause of the incident.”
The incident occurs as the U.S. is shifting personnel and resources out of Iraq and into Afghanistan, as the war against ISIS in Iraq has wound down in recent months.
The HH-60G Pave Hawk is a highly modified version of the Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter which features an upgraded communications and navigation suite that includes integrated inertial navigation/global positioning/Doppler navigation systems, satellite communications, secure voice, and Have Quick communications.
The primary mission of the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter is to conduct day or night personnel recovery operations into hostile environments to recover isolated personnel during war. The HH-60G is also tasked to perform military operations other than war, including civil search and rescue, medical evacuation, disaster response, humanitarian assistance, security cooperation/aviation advisory, NASA space flight support, and rescue command and control.
Photo credit: Senior Airman Brian Ferguson / U.S. Air Force
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