Excerpts of Report
……………The attack helicopters’ mission is to provide an aerial umbrella and proximate airborne assistance to ground forces as they engage in operational activities. The operations during the Second Intifada entailed dif cult battles against guerrilla forces in densely populated urban centers. The urban terrain limits the infantry forces’ mobility and observational capabilities.34 To this extent, Apaches have many advantages: repower of great intensity, concentration and precision, and observation capabilities, including thermal night visions systems (e.g., FLIR, the Forward Looking Infra- Red system). Connecting helicopters’ operational components with the ground forces resulted in doubling the power of any unit operating in any delimited location.35
In the dif cult, complex warfare against terrorists, attack helicopters earn maximal media exposure. In April 2002, a BBC report presented Israel’s war on terrorism, including the targeted assassinations of terrorists by attack helicopters. The report implied that one of the ways to eliminate a wanted terrorist is by ambush. The report showed the classical method, i.e., ambush by infantry, as well as the innovation used by the IDF is the elimination of wanted terrorists by ambush by attack helicopter.36
Despite the drawbacks of using attack helicopters, especially their high cost, they do represent an offensive platform. Attack helicopters improved the IDF’s offensive capabilities in guerrilla warfare and reduced the number of potential casualties in urban areas. The helicopters’ daily activities resulted in constant pressure on the guerrilla units. Generally and historically speaking, one may say that the more the side confronting guerrilla warfare and/or terrorism engages in offensive strikes, the more the guerrillas are forced into defensive positions, thus resulting in a decrease of their attack capabilities.37 It may be that a drop in operational capabilities will, to one extent or another, damage the guerrilla forces’ ability to achieve their political ends.38
The uniqueness of the IDF’s deployment of attack helicopters, as discussed herein, lies in using them in designated offensive missions while seizing the initiative in ghting against guerrillas and/or terrorists. In order to further highlight the Israeli uniqueness it is necessary to examine the attack helicopter’s function in the United States and Great Britain’s ght against guerrillas and/or terrorists until 2001.
The literature dealing with Great Britain and the United States’ Special Forces and counterterrorism units shows that the helicopters’ primary function is to land masses of troops and provide proximate airborne support, i.e., the traditional roles of helicopters as developed in the 1950s. Other than some technological innovation (the introduction of more modern helicopter models), there has been no operational innovation in the deployment of attack helicopters in Western nations.39
There is no evidence that the British used attack helicopters against high-quality human targets of the Irish Republican Army. Unlike what is commonly thought, the war against the IRA took place not only in the large cities of Northern Ireland but also in rural settings. The war against the Irish underground saw the participation of the army, police and the 22nd Regiment of the Special Air Service.40
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