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The Air War In Afghanistan Expands On Both Sides | M of A |

It beggars belief that the CIA would put D'Andrea on a BACN operations flight. The E-11A typically loiters over the service area by flying in circles tens of thousands of feet above shoulder-fired SAM range for several hours. It can collect electronic intelligence, but there is no reason for someone to sit in the back of the aircraft to 'listen'. Everything the E-11 hears is relayed back to a command center. An air conditioned command center with soda and snacks and bathrooms. That's where any CIA types would be listening if they were at all. People like D'Andrea don't do mundane chores like that - they get summary reports and clips of recordings provided by peon analysts.

The wreckage of the E-11 only shows engine damage on the starboard (right) engine from inside the engine - about where the turbine's compressor section is located. Turbine blade failure would look like that, but I have no idea if that was the cause of the crash or a result of the impact and debris. The exhaust cowling is not attached, but one video shows it in fairly good condition a few hundred feet earlier in the skid marks (= not blown off by a MANPADS at altitude). The other engine appears relatively undamaged except for the underside cowling probably opened during the initial impact.

None of that engine damage is typical of IR-homing MANPADS seeking on the hot exhaust side of a turbine engine.

There's a little air scoop (red?) opened on the right-side tail section that I think might be the E-11's Auxiliary Power Unit (APU - a small turbine generator). The APU is automatically activated a secondary power source if either engine's generator goes out. The APU intake air scoop opens whenever it runs. It could be further indication of and engine failure or some other kind of electrical problem related to the crash.

The Taliban certainly don't have any secret mobile SAM launchers or radars. We'll probably never know why the aircraft really came down, but 'technical difficulties' (= catastrophic engine failure) is at least a possibility here. At least as much of a possibility, I would argue, as the Taliban acquiring MANPADS from anyone.

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 28 2020 4:21 utc | 109

by Oui on Tue Jan 28th, 2020 at 02:02:48 PM EST

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