Stil Photo from here. Caption:
090826-N-0000F-003 U.S. 5th FLEET AOR (Aug. 26, 2009) Somali pirates aboard Motor Vessel (M/V) Win Far fire upon a U.S. Navy SH-60B Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Scorpions of Light Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HSL) 49. The Helicopter, embarked aboard the cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62), was conducting a surveillance mission near the anchored M/V Win Far south of Garacad, Somalia. The video, from Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR), shows the pirates firing a large caliber weapon at the helicopter. No rounds struck the Sea Hawk and no one was injured. (U.S. Navy Photo from Video/Released) Link to video clip on FLICKR U.S. Navy Gallery: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usnavynvns/3862516548/
A comment I posted over on the USNI blog:
Actually, I’m surprised that this hasn’t happened before.
Here are a couple of scenarios:
(1) Some idiot pirate got tired of waiting for ransom and waiting in general and took a “I’m bored” potshot at the helo, knowing that with 30 or so hostages on the captured vessel the helo was unlikely to respond; or
(2) The pirate master minds have decided they really want a full out war with the U.S. Navy and brought out a heavier weapon to the hostage ship and decided to start the war now – just before the end of the monsoon winds and the beginning of prime pirate weather and a chance to grab more ships for ransom. A war that they cannot win and in which the U.S. has more that little blue skiffs full of AK-47s to play with
Somehow, with a lucrative business operation, I tend to think #2 is less likely than #1. So, without more intel to the contrary, I’m going with my “idiot pirate” thought.
On the other hand, if it happens again ...