Faulty parts suspected in Apache crash

Boeing experts inspect apparent technical failure in fatal chopper accident.

In an effort to prevent the grounding of the IAF's Apache Longbow squadron, top technicians from Boeing - the aircraft's manufacturer - arrived in Israel this week and replaced parts of the attack helicopter suspected to have been behind the mysterious crash last month of a helicopter along the northern border. A source close to the investigation confirmed that Boeing experts had arrived in Israel and had replaced a small part of the aircraft which connected the rotor to the body of the helicopter. The IAF has 11 Apache Longbows. The IDF initially believed that an artillery missile fired by Israeli forces was what had shot down the helicopter, but after the investigation ruled out that possibility, IAF officers began to suspect that a technical failure was what had led to the tragic crash. A spokesperson in Tel Aviv told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday that the Boeing Company was committed to supporting the IDF investigation into the Apache Longbow accident on July 24 that claimed the lives of two IAF pilots. "We have been actively involved in the IDF investigation and have sent several Apache program technical experts to Israel to provide any assistance requested or needed," said Boeing Spokesman in Israel Amiram Fleischer. "We will continue to support this investigation throughout its conclusion." Fleischer declined to give any details from the investigation and said, "Since the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate for Boeing to comment any further at this time." Called Saraf by the IAF, the Longbow, manufactured by Boeing, is said to be the superior attack helicopter of the world and has highly-advanced radar, firing, and maneuvering abilities. Since the beginning of Operation Change of Direction, launched on July 12 following the abduction of two soldiers in a cross-border Hizbullah attack, IAF attack helicopters - including the Saraf - have carried out some 1,000 sorties over Lebanon.