US helicopters are flying in Afghanistan and Iraq three to five times more than they would in peacetime. With two helicopter crashes, Afghanistan saw its worst day for US deaths in more than four years on Monday.
Depending on the model, US copters are flying in Afghanistan and Iraq three to five times more than they would in peacetime. That may be indicative of how hard American units are using all their large pieces of equipment, from cargo aircraft to armored mine-resistant vehicles.
Helicopter crashes killed 14 US personnel on Monday, making it the deadliest day for American forces in Afghanistan in more than four years.
In the country's west, a US helicopter went down after leaving the scene of a firefight, killing seven troops and three Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
The personnel had been involved in an antinarcotics operation, according to a military spokesman, who added that hostile action was not the likely cause of the crash, as the helicopter was not taking fire when it took off.
Helicopters are at a premium in today's wars, according to US officials. Since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, American copters have flown more than 3 million flight hours, pointed out Lt. Gen. Stephen M. Speakes, deputy chief of staff of the Army, in an appearance before the House Armed Services Committee earlier this year.