A Secret Helo Used In Bin Laden Raid

Britain’s The Daily Mail newspaper may have unwittingly revealed a very, very significant clue as to how those MH-60s managed to penetrate Pakistani airspace during sunday’s mission to kill Osama bin Laden. The answer; the weren’t MH-60s, at least not regular MH-60s. The pictures above and below show what’s alledgedly the wreckage of that U.S. chopper that crashed in Osama’s compound due to mechanical problems. It sure doesn’t look like any variant of the Black Hawk that I’ve seen. Maybe it’s a new stealth version of the bird or maybe it’s an entirely new class of chopper. It could be both stealthy and fast enough to evade Pakistani air defenses that were apparently scrambled during the operation. (See our earlier post on how the RQ-170 Beast of Kandahar may have helped jam Pakistani air defense networks.) This also begs the question, who flies it? Does it belong to the Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment? Is it a secret Air Force Special Operations Command bird? Heck, maybe it’s a CIA chopper.

Yesterday, I posted the photo below of the tail section of the craft draped over a wall in Bin Laden’s compound. While it looked pretty much like a Black Hawk tail, I couldn’t for the life of me, figure out what the weird, flat piece of wreckage emerging from the tarp was. I just assumed that the airframe had been mangled badly enough that it looked weird. It could very well be some sort of shield designed to reduce the heat, noise or radar signature of the tail rotor. (The noise reduction efforts didn’t work all that well.) The possibility of a stealthy chopper being used in the raid explains why the Pakistani troops where in such a hurry to cover up all of the wreckage with blankets and cart if off so quickly. Who knows if this is the Pakistani cooperation White House officials said they received for the mission or if the PAF just scored a major tech boost. Good on Steve Trimble for spotting it and pointing out that now is the time to start speculating wildly about what type of bird this is.

Update: The Daily Mail has some additional photos of the wreckage here. The WSJ has these images. These shots appear to show that the SEALs and other American special operators were largely successful in destroying the fuselage of the chopper before Pakistani troops could secure the site. It looks like the tail section remained intact due to the fact that it was hanging over the compound wall, separated from the rest of the wreck. Oh, and check out these satellite images of the crash site. Here’s the latest image of the bird’s tail, it gives you a great sense of the overall tail assembly.

  • J.W.
  • Upgrade

    Doesn’t look like a black hawk to me…..

  • J.W.

    One more link and read the comment on who will love this.

  • Jack

    I bet what’s left of the helo is already on it’s way to China. China pays alot of money for stuff like this.

  • Raraavis

    I hope the billions we give Pakistan is enough that we can quickly regain custody of this wreckage.

  • Em1

    good to know Camache R&D was put to good use

  • (1) there is no way its an X2, not yet, and it doesn’t have a right-angle tail rotor.
    (2)The main tail structure looks similar to a blackhawk
    (3) the tail rotor hub is definitely not something I’ve seen before, but look comanche-esque, so I’d say a low-visibility blackhawk we haven’t seen before, maybe designed for this mission.

  • It’s upside-down, it matches a blackhawk.

    • Upgrade

      Hmmmm. It looks like the wings are swept to aft. And below the rotor, then that would place the rotor on the left side.

  • Also, in the 23rd picture of the WSJ slideshow, you can see a piece of the rotor sticking out of the back of the truck, and it appears to have the same “notch” at the end that the blackhawk rotor soes (http://www.flickr.com/photos/dm3/5279248442/in/photostream/lightbox/)

  • Raraavis

    It certainly looks like a modified Blackhawk tail with a totally new tail rotor. The 6 rotor design should be quieter and the cover looks like it certainly could be used to reduce the radar signature or possibly the sound or both.

    I would love to see what the rest of the Stealth Blackhawk looks like.

  • Tom

    It’s clearly not a Blackhawk at least not a common one. Have a close look at the blades integration into the rotor head – definetly a low observable configuration…

    pictures from the day after showed pakistanis using canvas cover to hide the wreckage loaded on trucks. They may have been aware that it’s something secret. Question is are the trucks driving to the east or west?

  • jamesb

    Hey guys…..

    Could it have been one of excessed AW101′ Merlins?
    Rotor Cap…..
    FIVE MTFing blades?


  • John Deere


  • jamesb

    He, he, he…..I like that…….

    What was that an old Bell 222?

    • M167a1

      yep! Good memory

  • Doogie

    The image of the boom/empennage hanging on the wall with the tarp around it seems to be a reverse image as the other two show the rotor on the other side. Also, there appears to have been some significant preparation of the tail boom that is hanging from the crane as the drive shaft has been removee and the boom/empennage has been pinched closed.

  • Charles

    Looks alot like a blackhawk with a cover on the tail rotor to enhance stealth to me, also with a swept tail. Seems like that makes more sense than creating a whole new copter for one op, im sure this isnt the first time american air assets were in Pakistani airspace.

  • Starbuck

    The stabilator looks a lot smoother than a conventional Black Hawk, swept back too.

    The first picture looks like it might be a tail rotor…they’re too thin to be main rotor blades.

  • Vet1983

    http://www.activesensors.com/news/7 in 2010 NASA was working on noise reduction for the MH-60

  • TribulationTime

    Good Trivia….Maybe “Obama Hell (o) Carriage”. Indicative ” Me Me ONE”

    CIA rent (a bit spy stupidity fly ONLY US USER model) with aerodimamics (Plate) fixes for Extra Long Ranges to fooled departure base so anyone can do guess. (….mi cousin live in Kabul putting gas on helos and say me that chopper fly sunday bla bla bla) Congratulations!

  • Kevin Trainor

    The plate is 2 fold in use.
    1. Aerodynamics and noise signature.
    2. Possible use of RPG/missle dome.

    • m167A1

      Retrieve menu from CIA chow hall?

  • Thorne46

    Wow, its built the way it is so it can be a covert helicopter; the smooth flat and curved surface so it can stay off radar as much as posable. They’ve more than likely had it for a few years now, because with stuff like this they want to be close to perfect as posable.

  • CPT B

    no rivots.

  • CPT B


  • NMN

    That picture of the horizontal stabilizer definitely shimmers in the sun as if it is coated in a similar LO coating as out 5th gen fighters.

  • Roy Smith

    Could it be a Navy Seahawk or an Air Force Pave Hawk?

  • X2 lover

    None of the ac posted here can carry the amount of ment needed for the mission. I work for Sikorsky and know it wasn’t an X2. (shushh you skeptics, we can’t show you what’s coming at the terrorists yet.)

  • Gene

    For sure its all new tech/gunship. He never saw it coming, turnabout is fair. America rides again. We need more of this Mr. President

  • paul

    looks like ch 53 to me

  • paul

    maybe that was a bad guess, but i have seen that design somewhere before

  • Rob

    It is possible it was a Pakistani craft with no Americans. Stories that this whole Binladen is all a ‘fairy tail’ (tale) are beginning to surface. Many were quick to believe but now conflicting facts & lack of video are making this look bad.

    News nearly impossible to believe at all & fake photos all over net.

    Only clear thing is that most of the world believe it is a good thing if he is dead. Which should be a clear message to those that support this ideology.

    However, what’s being missed is the possibility that 9/11 could just be an act of revenge for murders by our CIA & special forces. Many of his folllowers hate USA anyways, but did nothing. Now they have more motive to do something.

  • guy

    worth every penny

  • Spearhead

    Looks like it could be a MH-53J III.
    “The large, unwieldy yet sophisticated MH-53J Pavelow III is a US Air Force helicopter that is dedicated to supporting Special Operations troops such as Delta Force, the US NAvy Seals and Rangers. Can carry up to 38 troops.”

    • Spearhead

      MH-53J III also has these feathures…
      “The MH-53J’s mission is to perform low-level, long-range, undetected penetration into denied areas, day or night, in adverse weather, for infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces.”

    • Belesari

      Dont think so. Tail isnt long enough plus for a op like this the pavelow isnt what you want. You want something fast and quiet. Its none of those.

      This might have been either something cooked up by skunkworks or a augmented blackhawk.

    • Greg

      The MH-53 has been retired from the Air Force inventory for over a year.

  • dfgfds

    happy love—w w w—-jor dans forking—com

  • Saul

    I’m looking at the MH-53J III out on wikipedia and it sez that they were retired in 2008. A Stealthed Pave Low V perhaps? That tail spar and rotor set is obviously stealthed, but looks to be a bit thin for the tail from what we can see. I can also see why they blew it to hell and back.

    What do we have here?

  • mat

    If its not complete new craft the the best basis for stealth chopper modification by far is the NH90 modifiying a black hawk to be stealthy means only using the power pack ,NH90 fuselage is as stealthy as they get so modifing it would require much less effort.

  • Doogie
  • justin

    Yeah, I worked on an assembly line that makes blackhawk cabins and they used thousands of rivets. This tail has a near complete lack of the standard BJ series rivets. These had to be countersinked and flush fitting rivets. That adds extra work and expense and the performance advantage for rotorery wing aircraft is negligable. The only thing that I can think of is the application of a RAM coating. And the hub cap on the rotor? noise baffling and radar deflection.

  • tribulationtime

    Man!! Care us. This is a DEFENSE TECH BLOG. Thats it´s all us play here. I enforce its a old chopper with new “wear”.

  • Doogie
  • 1/9AirCav

    Definitely NOT Blackhawk or variant. Sync Elevators at wrong spot & not large enough. Most likely not even transport. Prob scout or recon by the size of the wreckage. _Looks similar to tech. from the RAH-66….

  • Richard


  • chris

    alien technology. I have seen it coming right out of area 51. I told you all this was going to happen. Next they will be here hovering over our homes to take us away for anal probing.


  • 180pilot
  • 180pilot
  • 153M

    Congrats on the first post of value 180pilot.

  • Doug

    Um…that usually happens when you shear the rotors off a helicopter when it crashes. But,. let the conspiracy theory nutsacks have their field day about things they know nothing about.

  • Javee

    Exactly…I used to fly these things, that’s nothing I’ve ever seen.

  • RSN

    It is a RAH 66 Comanche. Program scrapped because of cost. Apparently Special Forces are using them.

    • Greg

      Wrong. Completely different tail pylon and the Comanche wasn’t designed to carry more than a crew of 2.

  • 5150wazoo

    Bingo Jeff! Wondering that myself.

  • phil

    Lots of reports say there were two MH-60s and two MH-47s. I’m guessing the Chinooks went in after the stealth modified 60s. The 47s are very fast for helicopters but they make a hell of a lot of noise and have huge RCS.

  • bums

    silent hawk link is a concept GIF,u can see what the editor have changed on a normal blackhawk. The changes is visible, they have a slight color change. take a good look and dont be fooled that easy.

  • Josh

    “The answer; the weren’t MH-60s, at least not regular MH-60s” …’They’ weren’t MH-60’s?? C’mon.

  • Salman

    US forces never killed Osama nor did they conducted the operation… Pak Army did the operation, caught/killed Osama and handed it over to US to choreograph the drama to present it to the world and specially for Osama’s election compaign.. so Pak earned dollars from US as well us will earn from China as well.. n US wont do anything since they owe much to Pak anyways of handing over OBL to em :)

  • christian

    I don’t believe that the second and third photos in this article are even of the same piece. In the photo on the wall, the corners of the “wings” are at right angles to the tips, not so in the third photo.

  • Oath_Keeper

    I’m sure I’m going to catch some criticism for this but I have to ask. Is anyone else not buying this OBL situation? I just heard an interview with Dr Steve Pieczenik. He was a White House Assistant Deputy Secretary of State and has worked under three administrations and wrote some of our books on counter-terrorism. In the interview he said he was tired of the lies to the troops and direction this country was going and is willing to testify before a grand jury that he and the CIA docs treated OBL for morvan disease. He went on to say that OBL died in 2001 of this disease. He also said that a top general confided in him about 9/11 being a ‘false flag’ stand down operation. I personally have seen the unreported evidence of thermite found in the 9/11 rubble. The third bldg (WTC 7) that collapsed in NYC having not been hit by a plane. The damn thing collapsed at free fall speed into its own footprint.

    • Russell

      I think you are on the wrong site.

  • Brendan

    MH-X Silent Hawk

  • conspiracymedia

    bullshit story..crashed helicopter and all Team of 6 added in one helicopter with Bins dead body /wifes ..How many people can fit in this wonder. lol conspiracy rules Raid was a LIE