Friday, May 20, 2005
How the RAF Hercules C130 was shot down in Iraq
On January 30, a Royal Air Force Hercules C130, a transport plane, went down in Iraq causing the greatest loss to British forces in any one incident. Speculation surged for a few days as to the cause, then was forgotten.
On Tuesday Thomas Harding of the Telegraph wrote that a cause has been determined—
An interim Ministry of Defence report has ruled out almost everything apart from enemy fire and it was suggested that a missile or rocket-propelled grenade could have brought down the aircraft.
But an official told The Daily Telegraph yesterday that the report concluded that the Hercules had been shot down by anti-aircraft artillery, as it flew at a low altitude, possibly 150ft.
"It was shredded by a multi-barrelled 20mm canon," the official said. "They have worked out that's what caused the crash."
The gun is believed to have been a 1960s twin-barrel Zu-23, made in China or the Soviet Union, left over from the Saddam Hussein regime.
It has an effective range of 2,000 yards and can be mounted on a lorry or set on wheels.
It is not known why the Hercules, which was equipped with sophisticated defensive measures, was flying at low altitude for the 40-minute trip.