Helicopters on airstrip

Helicopters on airstrip (Google Maps)
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By pdunn @ 2005-08-08 21:14:59
Three U.S. missiles on an airstrip in Baghdad, Iraq
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kjfitz picture
@ 2005-08-08 22:00:00
I doubt those are missiles but I don't have any idea what they are. They look like they have tails like a helicopter. They are the size of other helicopters. But they have those white halves.
Anonymous picture
@ 2005-08-08 22:16:06
Frankly, I don't think any military in their right mind would leave missles laying outside.
pdunn picture
@ 2005-08-08 22:57:40
I originally thought they looked like the Navy's SM 120 missile (which doesn't explain why it would be on an airstrip). However, I think kjfitz may be right. They could be helicopters wrapped in white plastic for transport incountry.

Anonymous picture
@ 2005-08-09 02:22:07
Indeed. They are attack helis with their blades folded. Im guessing Mi-28 Havocs.
Analogman picture
@ 2005-08-09 12:13:23
They're too small to be helos and the wrong shape too. The large helos in the image are Mi-8s so the white things are far too small to be aircraft. They're most likely ground support equipment, possibly maintenance stands. You'll notice, by looking at the shadows, that the item on the left is horizontal (no shadow) while the middle and right objects are elevated (shadow). This facility is the Al-Rasheed (or Al Rashid, or just plain Rashid) air base, which used to house MiG-21s and -23s.
Analogman picture
@ 2005-08-09 14:06:40
I did a little research and have come to the the conclusion that the large helos are not Mi-8s but rather Mi-17 "Hips", and the white objects are possibly AA-7 "Apex" air-to-air missiles. The Iraqis were suspected of placing AA-7s on helicopters in the early 1990s and this photo could be several years old, possibly before the 2003 invasion.
pdunn picture
@ 2005-08-09 15:41:06
I'm pretty confident this shot was taken post invasion. Zoom out a couple clicks and follow the river to the north west. There is another small airbase there, that, if you look directly north has a complex adjacent that is riddled with bomb craters.
Anonymous picture
@ 2005-08-10 01:32:06
If it is post invation they are cobras. They are definately not missiles. Anyone who says that they are are either: half-blind or inexperienced with anything military related. They are not Apexes...obviously.
Analogman picture
@ 2005-08-10 20:21:50
The way the helicopters are spread out over a large area, and parked in unusual locations, leads me to believe this photo was taken pre-invasion. Those helos are parked in such a way that one bomb or missile won't take out more than one helo.

The white objects are most certainly NOT helicopters. First off, there aren't too many white painted military helicopter. Secondly, there are not rotor blades or other features. (Don't look at the objects, look at the shadows.)

Additional keys are the small "wings" located just forward of the tail rotors on the Mi-17s and the rotation of the rotor blades. The rotors on Mi-17s, like those on most Soviet era helos, rotate clockwise when viewed from above. American helicopters rotate counter-clockwise.

Kevin, the smaller helos to the SE of the runway are Mi-8s.

Analogman picture
@ 2005-08-10 20:38:03
I stand corrected. I got a better look at these in Google Earth and they could be helicopters. The ones that ARE helicopters are Mi-17s. The white color could be a result of preservative coatings sprayed on mothballed aircraft.
Analogman picture
@ 2005-08-20 18:40:10
Google earth has some more recent, high quality imagery of this airfield. All of the helicopters are gone, the terminal building and hangars are rubble, and there appears to be burned out aircraft in a couple of the revetments around the airfield.
kjfitz picture
@ 2005-08-20 19:36:46
Do we know for sure the Google Earth pictures are earlier? Perhaps they date back to post Gulf War I and these are post Gulf War II.
Analogman picture
@ 2005-08-21 08:35:40
The aircraft in the earlier Google Map and Google Earth were Iraqi aircraft. My guess is the older imagery was post GW 1 but prior to the 2003 invasion. The new stuff is obviously more recent, possibly as new as a few weeks.
kjfitz picture
@ 2006-01-30 18:43:14
After the recent Google database upgrade the helicopters are no longer there.