During recent decades, rotary-wing aircraft (helicopters) within the U.S. Department of Defense (e.g., U.S Army and U.S. Air Force) have been deployed overseas to conduct a variety of noncombat and combat missions. Our objective was to conduct a comprehensive analysis of wildlife (birds, bats, insects) strikes with U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force rotarywing aircraft during overseas deployments. We acquired all available wildlife strike information involving U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force military rotary-wing aircraft engaged in flight operations associated with U.S. military bases around the world during 1990 to 2011. Wildlife strikes with military rotary-wing aircraft occurred in >31 foreign countries. Almost two-thirds of wildlife strikes to U.S. Army aircraft occurred during deployments in the Middle East (e.g., Iraq), whereas, strikes to U.S. Air Force aircraft occurred most frequently in Afghanistan and the Middle East. Month, time of day, and location (i.e., on airfield or off airfield) influenced the frequency of wildlife strikes. Wildlife strikes occurred most frequently when aircraft were traveling en route or were engaged in terrain flight. Larks, doves, pigeons, and various perching birds were the species most frequently struck by military aircraft. Wildlife strike records related to U.S. military overseas operations represent a unique source of ornithological information from areas of military conflict.
Washburn, Brian E.; Cisar, Paul J.; and DeVault, Travis L.
"Wildlife Strikes with U.S. Military Rotary-wing Aircraft Deployed in Foreign Countries,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 8
, Article 11.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol8/iss2/11