Flightglobal tip: don’t attack army helos with pickaxes



Perhaps I’m missing something, but I’m stunned by theA$200,000 claim the Australian Army has made against Bryan Law, the peace protestorwho used a garden pickaxe to smack a small hole into a Eurocopter Tiger attackhelicopter last month during the Talisman Sabre exercise.  



According to a story in the North Shore & Coolum News, theclaim covers several items.

1) Minor damage to the helicopter’s fuselage – basically asmall tear in a non-vital area.

2) The loss of the helicopter’s use during the repair period. 

3) Transporting the aircraft by air (presumably in a BoeingC-17 Globemaster III) to a repair centre.

Anyone who has ever had to replace a panel on their Europeancar will understand the first claim, but it’s the second two that bewilder me. Wasthe damage so great that the helicopter had to be grounded? The Taliban will takeheart if a few strokes of a pickaxe is all it takes to knock out an attackhelicopter.

Since regular use of the aircraft probably runs into the thousandsof dollars per flight hour, having it out of action probably saved taxpayers asmall fortune. Of course, this benefit was probably offset by the decision totransport the helicopter by air (by air!) to a repair facility.

Law reportedly says he doesn’t regret his action, and iswilling to go to jail for a while.  Asfor the cost, it’s probably a good thing Mr. Law didn’t know enough aboutattack helicopters to realize that the real money is in the aircraft’s sensorsand weapons. Perhaps he needs to spend more time on Flightglobal’s defencepages.  

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