It's not uncommon for U.S. military forces to destroy an aircraft downed in a foreign land, but U.S. Special Forces had particular cause to blow up the ill-fated helo that participated in Sunday's raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan. Apparently, it was a secret stealth helicopter, the design of which U.S. military commanders would not be keen to share with the Pakistanis or anyone else.
For analysis we turn to Bill Sweetman over at Aviation Week's Ares blog, who knows much about such things:
It was a secretly developed stealth helicopter, probably a highly modified version of an H-60 Blackhawk. Photos published in the Daily Mail and on the Secret Projects board show that the helicopter's tail features stealth-configured shapes on the boom and tip fairings, swept stabilizers and a "dishpan" cover over a non-standard five-or-six-blade tail rotor. It has a silver-loaded infra-red suppression finish similar to that seen on some V-22s.
The special ops team succeeded in destroying the critical technology, though the tailboom survived (it ended up outside the compound wall). It's from this that many journalists and defense wonks were trying--with much trouble--to identify the downed aircraft.
But, as Sweetman notes, the images from Pakistan do answer some questions about Sunday's raid. While we may not get the details on exactly what technologies the modified Blackhawks were packing, we do now have a pretty good idea of why Pakistani air defenses didn't see them coming.
I would love to see the rest of this thing intact. Also, flying low and fast helps to avoid enemy radar.
Were they flying in whisper mode?
I dont know about this....were are the burn marks...or soot? even if the tail piece were to be blown up and over the 10 foot wall....it would have at least soot all over it. And grass/ dirt from the crash landing....
Doesn't look like a Comanche...
Interesting, there has been some work with NASA in regards to making the UH-60 more stealthy. I wonder of this is some of the results from their work.
I can't include the URL but just Google for "nasa" "uh-60", and "stealth" and you'll find some articles.
Of course the fact that it malfunctioned doesn't bode well.
Very similar to our helicopter...
Could it have been a MH-53 Pave Low
Well, for sure it isn't. That program was cancelled in the middle of the 90s. I'd like to see this fully intact too, but to me, this almost doesn't look real. It looks like it was from Halo Reach or something.
Actually...there are helicopters out there now (since at least the early 90's actually) for the US military that are 100% quiet. They just a few feet from you and you wouldn't hear them.
If this helicopter is indeed a stealth type of helicopter then how would we explain the comments made by a Pakistani man who twitted about hearing helicopters flying and landing in the night that Bin Laden was killed.
there is no such thing as wisper mode, you can take steps to quiet a helicopter or stealth aircraft but they will never be quiet, that is 2 of the reasons they fly mostly at night, your eyes and ears can still spot them, nice to not hear from the unpatriotic commenters bashing the US, a little embarassed are they?
Tim-Graf, I'm seeing the photos and I'm thinking that it must have been a modified UH also or something with the same rear rotor but a UAV version. Man this photo definately has be stumped. I thought I've seen it all but everyone in the UAV blogs haven't come up with a clear sign of this AUV Helo. I say that because I haven't heard any news of pilots dying during crash.
I don't like it, Hawk.
It's not very stealthy if it got shot down... It would be a better idea of they did show it to Pakistan, so if they copy it, it will fail in their battles too... Just a thought :D
Might they have been repeating the SonTay raid during Vietnam, and intentionally hard landed an older helicopter in to the compound yard to get guys inside faster then burned/blew it up and evacuated on the others.
I think the operation was called Operation Ivory Coast
@srini276 - From the reports I read, the helicopter wasn't shot down, it dropped as it was landing due to an effect called "hot and high," which refers to high temperatures and elevations that interfere with an aircraft's ability to become or remain airborne, which,
@p549rr1 - is why there were no reports of pilots dying in the crash. All aboard were reported as leaving the aircraft and continuing the mission. And successfully completing it.
@srini276...stealth doesn't hide you from the enemy you fight up close and personal, how about using a little common sense
I know what it is.
I can't say.
And I wouldn't have to kill you either. Just protection of information.
Well, it would not have been a Comanche.
The Comanche was a stealth gunship, not a utility craft like the Blackhawk or Pave Hawk/Low (whatever version they've got out now)...
There wouldn't be room on board the Comanche to ferry troops, prisoners or anyone else on it besides the pilot and gunner.
There were prisoners on the ground that likely would have been taken to Afghanistan and then the USS Carl Vinson had that helo not crash...a lot of valuable intelligence to waterboard out of (cough), I mean nicely ask from them.
I suspect it's just a modified Blackhawk using technology learned from the Comanche program. It probably does not have the highest stealth characteristics inherit in a purposefully designed stealth helicopter, but it was enough to fool the Pakistanis long enough to get in and out.
If you notice....the tail wings/foils are very close to tail rotors. I dont see them being long enough to stabilize a large chopper. Not one that they say was forced down mechanically that carried dozens of solders.If this is real...its a second ship that was downed. Shh..a secret one.
Check "Wired" Danger Room.
They have to photo from a different angle.
Actually they were showing some of the new stealth helcopters on the military channel this morning. The stealth part is not nesscesarily a whisper mode but flying under the radar mode and it was invisible to other aircraft radar also. Even the armament was concealed in the fuselage so not to create any radar image. Nice piece of engineering on the manfacturer's part. Not sure which manufacturer it was.
Global Security web site has the same photo as Pop Sci, but a better explanation:
Channel 4 News 3 photos and a different angle of the tail, plus they haul it away, covered.
anyone having any doubts of it being blown up goto REUTERS..they have dead body pictures none of osama bin laden...anyone who believes they killed bin laden..get real ,come on the cia has him hangin from his balls somewhere extracting information from him...anyway ,they have pics of the debris scattered everywhere with burn and soot marks
My guess is that this a secret, follow-on variant of the now cancelled Pave Low IV.
1. The Pave Low IV's job was long-range, low-level penetration deep into denied areas, day or night, in all weather conditions, for the purposes of infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special forces operations.
Pretty much sums up the entire mission right there.
2. The "disk" or "plate" over what appears to be the tail rotor appears to be very simliar to the plate covering the Pave Low's main rotor.
3. Current reports are that there were two helicopters and 24 SEALS. Blackhawks, even the mythical StealhHawks, would not be able to carry 24 SEALS, their gear and the body of OBL if one of the choppers crashed. That's way too much weight for their engine/airframe combination. Whereas the Pave Low IV had a carrying capacity of up to 37 troops and could easily carry everyone if one crashed.
At 3 Beans Graphic Tees we believe that the MH-60K Black Hawk is an advanced model of the US Army’s UH-60 helicopter. These highly specialized helicopters are designed for special operations support missions and are operated by the elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR). On May 1, 2011 MH-60s flown by SOAR operators carried SEAL TEAM 6 into a secured private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan where Osama Bin Laden was subsequently shot and killed.
Now Pakistan can sell the tail and rotor to China who will make their own stealth
We have to give credit to the guys at Popsci for reporting this picture first. As more information is leaking out, I'm sure that sooner or later, a picture of this beauty will surely unfold. Where are the paparazzi’s when you need them, stop following crazed Sheen movie stars who are getting into trouble and educate us reading with something that has more sustenance.
@Bral, actually there were two helicopters that landed. One being one of them that crashed. From what I got out of the tweet info of the pakistani guy, there was another flying around. It's entirely possible that there could have been 3 helicopters involved. When the one went down, the two loaded up and left.
@cage_anderson Osama is dead. The entire mission was to kill him. His wife was left alive, she more than likely saw him as a corpse. The photos may eventually be released, but it seems you are the type to not believe any evidence regardless of how substantial it is.