Theodore's World: Teheran Smuggled In Missile That Shot Down RAF Helicopter In Iraq

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March 04, 2007

Teheran Smuggled In Missile That Shot Down RAF Helicopter In Iraq

Teheran Agents Smuggled In Missile That Shot Down RAF Helicopter In Iraq
By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent, Sunday Telegraph

A missile which brought down an RAF Lynx helicopter and killed five British Service personnel was smuggled into Iraq by Iranian agents, an official inquiry into the attack will reveal.

The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that a British Army Board of Inquiry (BOI) into the events surrounding last May's attack will state that the weapon, a shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile known as an SA14 Strella, came from Iran.

The attack, which was also responsible for the death of Flt Lt Sarah Mulvihill, the first British servicewoman to be killed on active service since the Second World War, appears to provide further evidence of Iran's direct involvement in the deaths of British troops serving in Iraq.

It is understood that the inquiry, which has assessed evidence from military engineers and scientists, will conclude that the aircraft was shot down with an Iranian SA14 missile. The inquiry, which is conducted by senior RAF and Army officers, will deliver its finding to defence chiefs next month.

The report will also reveal whether the helicopter's self-defence systems were working properly and whether they provided adequate protection from a missile fired from relatively short range.

Traditionally, the role of a military board of inquiry, which can examine everything from the loss of a piece of equipment to the deaths of servicemen, is not to attribute "blame" for a particular incident. Instead, senior officers make recommendations as to how a similar situation might be prevented.

The Foreign Office is expected to use the findings to step up diplomatic pressure on the Iranian government, which has been asked to crack down on units within its defence and security services believed to be supplying weapons and bomb-making technology to insurgents in Iraq.

Dozens of British soldiers have been killed in Iraq by improvised explosive devices in the form of roadside bombs, thought to have either been manufactured in Iran or by insurgents trained by the Iranians.

Hundreds of thousands of Strellas were produced by the Soviet Union in the 1970s and were used to equip armies throughout the Warsaw Pact, central Asia and the Middle East, including Syria and Iran. The same weapon system is also believed to have been responsible for bringing down several US helicopters in Iraq.

Although the weapon is cheap to produce and easy to assemble, operators need some skill to use it effectively, suggesting that the missile was fired either by an Iranian agent or by someone who had been trained by a skilled soldier.

The attack also claimed the life of the most senior officer to have been killed in the three-year conflict, Wg Cdr John Coxen, 46, who was about to take over command of the British helicopter fleet in southern Iraq.

The other three men killed were the pilot, Lt-Cdr Darren Chapman, 40, his co-pilot, Capt David Dobson, 27, and the door gunner, Marine Paul Collins, 21.

The Lynx Mark 7 was travelling low over central Basra on a sortie to familiarise Wg Cdr Coxen with the dangers that his pilots might face. Although it was believed at first that the helicopter had been brought down by a "lucky hit" from a rocket-propelled grenade, British troops found discarded missile parts in a nearby building after the incident.

Patrick Mercer, the shadow minister for homeland security and a former infantry commanding officer, said:

"This is another indication of a deeply dangerous escalating situation about which the Government has got to come clean. It's no good pretending that these things are not happening. When British servicemen are being killed, the Government has got to be far more robust than this."

Wild Thing's comment......

Wouldn't this be an act of war? I mean they have been doing this for awhile now, weapons, trained killers sent to Iraq, so many things and now this. But let's see that's right, that Baker freak wants us to make nice with Iran, Syria and those wanting to kill our troops. God help us.

Posted by Wild Thing at March 4, 2007 12:47 AM


Actually, Iran declared war on the United States in 1979, when Iran attacked the US Embassy in Teheran. We had a sorry excuse for a president in Jimmy Carter, who backed down from the Iranian Islamic revolution he helped create.

I am betting we have supplies of SA14s we have captured. It would be fitting to start training and supplying these missiles to Iranian dissidents trying to overthrow the islamic regime.

Posted by: TomR at March 4, 2007 12:09 PM

Tom's right. Look no further than Russian president Putin for the real culprit, that monkey on a string Ahmajinidad is an out of control fanatical idiot. We put way to much emphasis on collateral damage, I'm all for the same scorched earth policy that they use against us when it comes to the Muzzies. Chivalry died a long time ago, handling them with kid gloves is a mistake. James Baker is not a friend of the United States.

Posted by: Jack at March 4, 2007 02:47 PM

Tom your right, it was 1979, thank you.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 4, 2007 11:12 PM

Jack I agree we had better stop handling them with kid gloves or we will regret irt big time.

Posted by: Wild Thing at March 4, 2007 11:13 PM

I don't smoke, but those folks got a sayin'. Smoke 'em if ya got 'em. There's a bunch of 'em. Time to smoke a few. I like that scorched earth policy that Jack mentions. Leave nothing but ash behind.

Posted by: raz0r at March 5, 2007 11:14 PM