The United States, in an escalation of its military involvement in Iraq, today sent attack helicopters into combat against Islamic State targets west of Baghdad. CENTCOM, in a statement about U.S. operations against ISIL, provided few details about the helicopters. But AH-64 Apache attack helicopters were deployed to Baghdad International Airport in June, and are believed to be used in combat today. The gunships were used to counter Islamic State advance at Abu Gharib, located west of Baghdad and in artillery range of the airport.
The helicopters carry a two-man crew and with their missiles and canon provide powerful and accurate firepower against their targets. Because they fly low and slow, however, they present greater risk for the crew than fighters and bombers and involve the United States closer to ground combat against the Islamic State.
File photo: AH-64 Apache attack helicopter (Boeing)