The transcript of the conversation between two US pilots whose planes attacked a British convoy in southern Iraq in March 2003
Tuesday February 6, 2007, Guardian Unlimited
According to The Sun, which printed the transcript from a cockpit video taken from one of the planes and obtained by the newspaper, this was the attack in which Lance Corporal Matty Hull was killed.
The transcript identifies the pilots of the A-10 planes only as POPOV36 - who fired at the convoy, and who the Sun said was a lieutenant colonel - and POPOV35, a major.
Also speaking are Manila Hotel, Manila34 and Lightning34, US Marine Corps forward air controllers on the ground and attached to British units. Later, Sky Chief, a US AWACS jet controlling the air battle and COSTA58, a British pilot nearby, also speak.
The times given, from the digital clock on the pilot's display, are in GMT.
1336.30 MANILA HOTEL: POPOV from MANILA HOTEL. Can you confirm you engaged that tube and those vehicles?
1336.36 POPOV35: Affirm Sir. Looks like I've got multiple vehicles in reverts at about 800 metres to the north of your arty (artillery) rounds. Can you switch fire, and shift fire, and get some arty rounds on those?
1336.47 MANILA HOTEL: Roger, I understand that those are the impacts you observed earlier on my timing?
1336.51 POPOV35: Affirmative.
1336.52 MANILA HOTEL: Roger, standby. Let me make sure they're not on another mission.
1336.57 POPOV36: Hey, I got a four ship. Looks like we got orange panels on them though. Do we have any friendlies up in this area?
1337.03 MANILA HOTEL: I understand that was north 800 metres.
1337.12 MANILA HOTEL: POPOV, understand that was north 800 metres?
1337.16 POPOV35: Confirm, north 800 metres. Confirm there are no friendlies this far north on the ground.
1337.21 MANILA HOTEL: That is an affirm. You are well clear of friendlies.
1337.25 POPOV35: Copy. I see multiple riveted vehicles. Some look like flatbed trucks and others are green vehicles. Can't quite make out the type. Look like may be ZIL157s [Russian made trucks used by Iraqi army].
1337.36 MANILA HOTEL: Roger. That matches our intel up there. And understand you also have the other fixed wing up this push? For terminal control, if you can.
1337.44 POPOV35: I'd love to. I didn't talk to him yet.
1337.46 MANILA HOTEL: Roger, I believe CASPER is up this push too. Two Super Tomcats.
1337.54 POPOV35: Hey dude.
1337.56 POPOV36: I got a four ship of vehicles that are evenly spaced along a road going north.
1338.04 POPOV36: Look down at your right, 2 o'clock, at 10 o'clock low, there is a, left 10 o'clock low, look down there north along that canal, right there. Coming up just south of the village.
1338.21 POPOV35: Evenly spaced? Where we strafed?
1338.23 POPOV36: No. No. Further east, further west, right now. And there's four or five of them right now heading up there.
1338.29 POPOV35: No, I don't have you visual.
1338.30 POPOV36: I'm back at your 6 - no factor.
1338.31 POPOV35: OK, now where's this canal?
1338.35 POPOV35: Don't hit those F18s that are out there.
1338.38 POPOV36: OK. Right underneath you. Right now, there's a canal that runs north/south. There's a small village, and there are vehicles that are spaced evenly there.
1338.49 POPOV36: They look like they have orange panels on though.
1338.51 POPOV35: He told me, he told me there's nobody north of here.
1338.52 POPOV36: I know. There, right on the river.
1338.53 POPOV35: I see vehicles though, might be our original dudes.
1339.09 POPOV36: They've got something orange on top of them.
1339.10 POPOV35: POPOV for MANILA 3, is MANILA 34 in this area?
1339.14 MANILA HOTEL: Say again?
1339.15 POPOV35: MANILA HOTEL, is MANILA 34 in this area?
1339.19 MANILA HOTEL: Negative. Understand they are well clear of that now.
1339.23 POPOV35: OK, copy. Like I said, multiple riveted vehicles. They look like flatbed trucks. Are those your targets?
1339.30 MANILA HOTEL: That's affirm.
1339.31 POPOV35: OK.
1339.34 POPOV36: Let me ask you one question.
1339.35 POPOV35: What's that?
1339.45 POPO36: (to MANILA HOTEL) Hey, tell me what type of rocket launchers you got up here.
1339.50 POPOV36: I think they're rocket launchers.
1339.52 MANILA HOTEL: . . . (garbled) You were stepped on, say again.
1339.54 POPOV35: MANILA HOTEL, fire your arty up that 800 metres north, and see how we do.
1340.01 MANILA HOTEL: Roger, standby for shot. They are getting adjustments to the guns now.
1340.34 POPOV35: Copy.
1340.09 POPOV36: Roll up your right wing and look right underneath you.
1340.12 POPOV35: (angry) I know what you're talking about.
1340.13 POPOV36: OK, well they got orange rockets on them.
1340.17 POPOV35: Orange rockets?
1340.17 POPOV36: Yeah, I think so.
1340.18 POPOV35: Let me look.
1340.26 POPOV35: We need to think about getting home.
1340.29 POPOV36: 3.6 is what it says (a fuel measurement).
1340.31 POPOV35: Yeah, I know. I'm talking time wise.
1340.35 POPOV36: I think killing these damn rocket launchers, it would be great.(The tape then becomes garbled)
1340.52 MANILA HOTEL: Yeah, POPOV36, MANILA HOTEL. I've got other aircraft up this push. Not sure they're coming to me. Someone else might be working this freak.
1341.00 POPOV35: Yeah, MANILA34 is working them, break, break.
1340.12 POPOV36: Yeah, I see that, you see I'm going to roll down.
1340.15 MANILA 34: Break, be advised MANILA34 is not working the F18s unless they are trying to check in with me, over.
1341.21 POPOV35: Copy.
1341.24 POPOV36: OK, do you see the orange things on top of them?
1341.32 MANILA HOTEL: POPOV 36 from MANILA HOTEL. Are you able to switch to Crimson?
1341.37 POPOV36: POPOV 36 is rolling in.
1341.40 MANILA HOTEL: Tell you what.
1341.41 POPOV35: I'm coming off west. You roll in. It looks like they are exactly what we're talking about.
1341.49 POPOV36: We got visual.
1341.50 POPOV36: OK. I want to get that first one before he gets into town then.
1341.53 POPOV35: Get him - get him.
1341.55 POPOV36: All right, we got rocket launchers, it looks like. Number 2 is rolling in from the south to the north, and 2's in.
1342.04 POPOV35: Get it.
According to The Sun, POPOV36, then puts his A-10 into a dive to strafe the British column, destroying two Scimitar armoured vehicles and killing L/Cpl Hull.
1342.09 - GUNFIRE -
1342.18 POPOV35: I'm off your west.
1342.22 POPOV35: Good hits.
1342.29 POPOV36: Got a visual.
1342.30 POPOV35: I got a visual. You're at your high 10.
1342.31 POPOV36: Gotcha.
1342.30 POPOV36: That's what you think they are, right?
1342.39 POPOV35: It looks like it to me, and I got my goggles on them now.
1342.59 POPOV35: OK, I'm looking at getting down low at this.
1343.13 MANILA HOTEL: POPOV 36 from MANILA HOTEL, guns . . .
1343.17 MANILA HOTEL: To engage those targets in the revetts [slopes].
1343.24 POPOV36: It looks like he is hauling ass. Ha ha. Is that what you think they are?
1343.34 POPOV36: 1-2
1343.35 POPOV35: It doesn't look friendly.
1343.38 POPOV36: OK, I'm in again from the south.
1343.40 POPOV35: Ok.
1343.47 - GUNFIRE -
1343.54 LIGHTNING 34: POPOV 34, LIGHTNING 34.
1344.09 POPOV35: POPOV 35, LIGHTNING 34 GO.
1344.12 LIGHTNING 34: Roger, POPOV. Be advised that in the 3122 and 3222 group box you have friendly armour in the area. Yellow, small armoured tanks. Just be advised.
1344.16 POPOV35: Ahh shit.
1344.19 P0POV35: Got a - got a smoke.
1344.21 LIGHTNING 34: Hey, POPOV34, abort your mission. You got a, looks we might have a blue on blue situation.
1344.25 POPOV35: Fuck. God bless it.
1344.29 POPOV35: POPOV 34.
1344.35 POPOV35: Fuck, fuck, fuck.
1344.36 MANILA 34: POPOV34, this is MANILA 34. Did you copy my last, over?
1344.39 POPOV35: I did.
1344.47 POPOV35: Confirm those are friendlies on that side of the canal.
1344.51 POPOV35: Shit.
1344.58 MANILA 34: Standby POPOV.
1345.04 POPOV36: God dammit.
1344.14 MANILA HOTEL: Hey POPOV 36, from MANILA HOTEL.
1344.25 MANILA 34: OK POPOV. Just west of the 3-4 easting. On the berm up there, the 3422 area is where we have our friendlies, over.
1344.39 POPOV35: All right, POPOV 35 has smoke. Let me know how those friendlies are right now, please.
1344.45 MANILA 34: Roger, standby.
1344.49 POPOV35: Gotta go home dude.
1344.50 POPOV36: Yeah, I know. We're fucked.
1345.54 POPOV35: Shit.
1346.01 POPOV36: As you cross the circle, you are 3 o'clock low.
1346.03 POPOV35: Roger.
1346.12 POPOV35: POPOV 35 is bingo. Let us know what's happening.
13446.15 MANILA HOTEL: Roger. We are getting that information for you right now. Standby.
1346.20 POPOV36: Fuck.
1346.47 MANILA 34: POPOV, this is MANILA 34 over.
1346.51 POPOV35: Go.
1346.55 MANILA 34: POPOV 4, MANILA 34 over.
1347.01 POPOV35: Go.
1347.02 MANILA 34: We are getting an initial brief that there was one killed and one wounded, over.
1347.09 POPOV35: Copy. RTB (return to base).
1347.18 POPOV35: I'm going to be sick.
1347.24 POPOV36: Ah fuck.
1347.48 POPOV35: Did you hear?
1347.51 POPOV36: Yeah, this sucks.
1347.52 POPOV35: We're in jail, dude.
1347.59 POPOV36: Aaaahhhh.
1348.12 SKY CHIEF: MANILA this is SKY CHIEF over.
1348.18 MANILA34: This is MANILA 34, send SKY CHIEF.
1348.22 COSTA58: SKY CHIEF, SKY CHIEF. COSTA 58.
1348.25 MANILA HOTEL: SKY CHIEF, this is MANILA HOTEL.
1348.30 COSTA58: SKY CHIEF, SKY CHIEF. COSTA 58.
1348.41 SKY CHIEF: Relaying for TWINACT, the A-10s are running against friendlies.
1348.47 COSTA58: POPOV 35, this is COSTA58. Relaying message for TWINACT. Abort, abort.
1348.54 SKY CHIEF: MANILA how copy A-10s are running against friendlies. Abort. Over.
1349.07 COSTA58: From TWINACT, abort, abort.
1349. 11 POPOV35: POPOV 35 aborting.
1349.14 COSTA58: We will relay that back to TWINACT.
1349.18 POPOV36: Fuck. God fucking shit.
1350.21 POPOV36: Dammit. Fucking damn it. 1351.17 P0POV36: God dammit. Fuck me dead (weeping).
1351.25 POPOV35: You with me?
1351.27 POPOV36: Yeah.
1351.30 POPOV35: They did say there were no friendlies.
1351.33 POPOV36: Yeah, I know that thing with the orange panels is going to screw us. They look like orange rockets on top.
1351.48 POPOV35: Your tape still on?
1351.49 POPOV36: Yeah.
1351.54 POPOV35: Mine is end of tape.