What I wanted to do here is put together a list of all of the contract aviation losses in both wars. Thanks to wikipedia, it was easy to organize this and put it all together. If anyone has information they would like to add, or if you see some missing aircraft losses in this post, let me know in the comments.
Also, if you follow the links, they will take you to the overall aviation losses in these wars. In Iraq, the Kiowa Helicopter and the Apache really took a hit. Lots of crashes and combat losses there. But they were also heavily used.
In Afghanistan, I would have thought there would be more losses on both the military and civilian side. The CH 47 was the top aircraft that crashed or was shot down. The Blackhawk was right behind this aircraft. Although this war is not over, and these numbers could reach Iraq levels in a few years.
The big one in Afghanistan is the necessary power to get up to those elevations, and the CH 47 is a work horse for that. Hence why this was the top aircraft that crashed, because it gets the most use.
The total losses for military and civilian aircraft in the Iraq war was 133 rotary wing (with 43 lost to hostile fire) and 24 fixed wing losses (with 2 to hostile fire, and 2 to friendly fire).
In Afghanistan, it is 103 rotary wing (with 17 lost to hostile fire) and 23 fixed wing (with 1 lost to hostile fire on ground).
With those statistics, you get a good idea as to what the real danger is of flight in the war zones. The enemy is certainly a threat, but the environment/pilot error/equipment failure is what causes the majority of these crashes.
Also, it would be great to see our military or some think tank go through all of these accidents and combat losses, and find out if there is a better aircraft that could have been used for these types of missions. Sometimes the best aircraft is not necessarily the most expensive or fancier aircraft, but the one that can perform the job in the worst kind of conditions specific to that region or war zone. A hellfire missile fired from a Cessna Caravan, is no different than a hellfire missile fired from an Apache helicopter.
I guess my point is, are we using the correct aircraft with the best survivability and capability for the job that is required? We lost a lot of Kiowas, Apaches, CH 47’s, and Blackhawks in this war, and you wonder if there are aircraft that could have been better suited for these missions?
The other thing to think about is legacy aircraft for these countries when we leave. Both Iraq and Afghanistan are purchasing and using Cessna Caravans, and that is a great multipurpose aircraft that they could use. It is also cheap to keep running and pretty dependable. But once we give these countries the really expensive aircraft to operate and maintain, then how do we expect them to be able to afford using these things? And even with our own operations and the state of the US economy, we should be considering all options for aircraft, based on the requirements of the mission. It is not against the law to be more cost effective in war, and I have to think that there are cheaper options for some of the stuff we are doing in these conflicts. –Matt
Contract aircraft, non-military aircraft losses in the Iraq War
July 17, 2009 – An MD-530F contracted to Xe (formerly Blackwater) crashes at Butler Range outside Baghdad. Two pilots died. The cause was not known.
November 13, 2008 – An Antonov An-12 crashes after takeoff from Al Asad Air Base, killing all 7 crew members. Six members of the crew and one passenger died, three of them were Russians. The crew also consisted of a Belarusian, two Ukrainians and an Indian citizen.
March 7, 2007 – A privately-contracted Mil Mi-8 helicopter from the Republic of Georgia crashes due to technical failures, injuring its three Ukrainian crewmembers, and several Iraqi passengers.
January 31, 2007 – A Blackwater USA Bell 412 helicopter is shot down under fire near Karma during a flight between Al Hillah and Baghdad. A US military helicopter rescues the passengers and crew.
January 23, 2007 – A Blackwater USA MD 530F helicopter is shot down by hostile fire in Baghdad. All of the 5 man crew are killed in the incident, likely executed after surviving the crash. The remaining survivor was also killed under unclear circumstances, when another Blackwater helicopter descended to the crash site.
January 9, 2007 – A Moldovan Antonov An-26 crashes near Balad in the 2007 Balad aircraft crash, killing 34 of the 35 on board.
May 30, 2005 – A Comp Air 7SL aircraft with the Iraqi Air Force crashes in eastern Iraq, killing four Americans and an Iraqi on board.
April 21, 2005 – A Bulgarian Mil Mi-8 is shot down north of Baghdad, killing the 11 civilians on board, including six American contractors, three Bulgarian pilots, one of them is executed shortly after the crash, and two Fijian guards.
Link to Wikipedia here.
Contract aircraft, non-military aircraft losses in Afghanistan War
July 6, 2011: IL-76 cargo plane, registered 4K-AZ55, was destroyed in an accident near Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The plane is said to have flown into the side of a mountain at about 12,500 feet (3,800 meters).The transport plane carried a total of 18 tons of cargo for the NATO-led forces at Bagram Air Base.
October 12, 2010: A L-100-30 Lockheed Hercules (Leased from Transafrik Registration 5X-TUC)cargo plane crashed in a fireball and plummeted into a mountain crevice near the Afghan capital. Eight crew members (six Filipinos, one Indian and one Kenyan) were all killed.
July 28, 2010: Antonov An-12 cargo plane crash-landed in Helmand Province.There were no injuries during the crash.Aircraft destroyed.
June 4, 2010: A L-100-30 Lockheed Hercules (Leased from Transafrik Registration S9-BAT) sustained substantial damage in a landing accident at Sharana AB, Afghanistan. The airplane came to rest beside the runway. The number 4 propeller separated from the engine and the undercarriage was pushed up into the wheel wells.
May 30, 2010: A Mi-8 contract helicopter made a hard landing in the Jaji district of Paktiya Province. A civilian on the ground was killed when he was struck by debris, and three crew members received minor injuries.
May 2, 2010: A Mi-8 helicopter (EX-40008) under contract for NATO forces in Afghanistan crashed during emergency landing at FOB Kalagush,Nuristan. Crewmembers injured during the incident.
April 25, 2010: A Bell 214 helicopter under contract for NATO forces made an emergency landing, due to mechanical problems suffered during the flight, in Farah Province. No one was injured during the incident.The helicopter caught fire after the crewmembers and passengers left the helicopter. Due to the fire damage the helicopter was deemed unrecoverable.
March 1, 2010: A Airbus A300 cargo plane operating for DHL Airways leased from ACT Airlines reportedly registered TC-ACB, suffered a landing mishap at Bagram Air Base , Afghanistan. It came to rest on the left runway shoulder of runway 03, approximately 500 ft north of taxiway Charlie and just south of the 3000 feet remaining distance marker.It has been reported that the airplane suffered a collapse of, presumably the left hand, main undercarriage.Aircraft written off.
November 23, 2009: A Mi-8 helicopter under contract for NATO forces crashed in eastern Logar province.Three Ukrainians were killed in the crash. Helicopter belonged to Air Freight Aviation(UAE).
July 19, 2009: A Mi-8 helicopter under contract for NATO forces in Afghanistan crashed at Kandahar air base, killing 16 people and wounding five others. Helicopter belonged to Vertikal-T (Russia).
July 14, 2009: A Mi-26 helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan, killing the six Ukrainian crewmembers. The aircraft belonged to Pectox-Air, a Moldovan aviation firm.
February 14, 2008: A Kazakhstan registered (UN-76020) IL-76 operated by Asia Continental Airlines damaged beyond repair after an engine fire in Kandahar Airport.
December 3, 2006: A Mi-26 helicopter under contract with Dyncorp, a US security company, crashes in Afghanistan, killing eight Russian crew.Helicopter belonged to Vertikal-T (Russia).
July 27, 2006: A chartered Mi-8 helicopter with 16 passengers and crew crashes en route from Khost to Kabul, killing all on board including 2 Dutch ISAF soldiers.
April 24, 2006: An An-26 leased by the US State Department and carrying US DEA agents crashes on landing at Bost airport in Lashkar Gah, killing the two Ukrainian pilots and two young girls on the ground. The plane attempted to avoid a truck during landing.
November 11, 2005: A Georgian registered IL-76 operated by Pakistan’s Royal Airlines, on charter to carry food for coalition troops, crashes near Khak-e-Shahidan village, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of Kabul, killing all 8 crew members (5 Russians, 2 Ukrainians and 1 Pakistani)
April 25, 2005: A Kazakhstan registered (UN-11003) Antonov An-12 cargo plane swerved off the runway at Kabul Airport. Five of the six crew members were slightly injured.Aircraft written off.
December 30, 2004: A Moldovan registered (ER-IBM) IL-76 operated by Airline Transport crashed in Kabul Airport at 03:48.
November 27, 2004: A US Registered CASA 212 contracted by the US Department of Defense to supply American forces deployed in remote areas of Afghanistan entered a box canyon and struck the 14,650 foot level of Baba Mountain, which has a peak elevation of 16,739 feet. The flight was about 25 nm north of the typical route between Bagram and Farah. All six occupants were killed.
February 22, 2004: AB-212 helicopter crashed after coming under fire 65 kilometres south-west of the southern city of Kandahar.Pilot Mark Burdorf, 45 years-old, killed. Helicopter belonged to Pacific Helicopters(Australia).
Link to wikipedia here.