Turkish-backed forces in Syria got a reality check after their attacks came a little too close to American troops, courtesy of some of the finest aerial hardware the United States has in its arsenal.
After the Turkish-backed fighters’ reckless Tuesday assault put American lives in danger, the U.S. military responded with a major show of force with Apache helicopters and F-15 Eagle fighter jets.
According to an official who spoke to NPR, no shots were fired in the display of military supremacy.
The show was intended as a warning to the fighters nearing U.S. positions — giving them a look at what they’ll have to answer to in the event a wayward shell injures American troops.
“The Turkish forces violated a standing agreement with the U.S. to not get close enough to threaten U.S. troops on the ground,” the official said.
“U.S. forces responded with a show of force using aircraft to demonstrate the forces were prepared to defend themselves, as well as communication with the Turkish military through formal channels to protest the risk to U.S. forces.”
The close encounter comes after a Turkish invasion of Syria in the wake of continuing U.S. withdrawal from the region.
Turkey’s aim is not American soldiers, but Kurdish fighters in the region. The Kurds have been a longtime adversary of Turkey, mostly over the ethnic group’s desire for greater autonomy.
The country has been clashing with members of different Kurdish groups since the 1970s.
The Turkish forces closing in on Kurdish fighters likely wouldn’t have much, if any, air defense equipment.
It’s a brutal reminder that in the open ground of northern Syria, any assault from a U.S. Apache would be a turkey shoot.
The U.S. Army’s field manual for attack helicopter operations gives the standard loadout for a cover mission, and it’s clear you don’t want to end up on an Apache’s bad side.
The helicopter carries 1,200 30mm rounds that are fired from the chopper’s chaingun at a punishing rate of 600 shots per minute. If the Apache runs out of 30mm ammo, or needs something with a little more bang, pilots have a few options.
Armed with 8 Hellfire missiles and an additional 38 Hydra 70 rockets, even tanks and other hard targets are easy prey for this bird of war.
Although no shots were fired, attack helicopters have a fearsome reputation.
A show of force from helicopters and airplanes often involves a low flyover above opposing forces. With Apaches and F-15s taking part in this display, there’s no doubt that it was anything less than terrifying.
Needless to say, this show of force likely left an impression that these reckless fighters won’t soon forget.