Does Israel Have Stealthy Black Hawks?

Well, this is interesting. Former Pentagon senior policy analyst F. Michael Maloof claims there might be a lot more of those stealthy Black Hawk helicopters  — the kind famoulsy used in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden last year — out there than has previously been reported. The best part of his claim; the U.S. isn’t the only nation to operate them.

Israel is possibly using stealthy Black Hawks to ferry armed, 12-man teams of Iranian dissidents living in northern Iraq into Iran in order to collect intelligence on Tehran’s nuclear programs, writes Maloof.

With the help of recruited Iranian dissidents in Kurdistan, the Israelis are attempting to gather sufficient information to convince the United States and the United Nations that Iran is involved in using its nuclear development program to make nuclear weapons.

Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government officially has denied claims by Iranian officials regarding the missions. But various reports including a recent Times of London report suggest that Israel is using specially modified U.S.-supplied Black Hawk helicopters to carry 12-member armed teams with sensitive equipment to monitor radioactivity and the magnitude of explosives tests. The helicopters may be similar to the specially modified stealth Black Hawks which were used in the May 2011 assassination of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. Navy SEALS in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

One of those specially-modified helicopters crashed and was only partially destroyed, giving the Pakistanis access to the stealth technology which then was passed on to China, Iran and Russia, according to informed sources. In undertaking missions inside Iran, sources suggest that the commandos are dressed as members of the Iranian military and use Iranian military vehicles.

A quick Google search doesn’t turn up any of the media reports about Israel using stealthy Black Hawks to penetrate Iran that Maloof claims are out there. Still, this is a very interesting angle, since the most revealing reporting on the stealth chopper that crashed during last year’s raid to kill bin Laden stated that the stealthy-bird was one of only a handful ever made for the U.S. Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Now, given the fact that the stealthy Black Hawks are super secret, it would make sense to say that only a couple exist when the reality is far different. Still, what would happen if an Israeli-operated, U.S.-made stealth Black Hawk went down inside Iran? There’s also the possibility that Israel has figured out how to modify its Black Hawks on its own — remember, the tech supposedly used to modify the 160th SOAR’s Black Hawks was apparently introduced in the 1980s and 1990s, so it’s not impossible to think that the IDF has figured out how to copy it.

Image above via David Cenciotti.

  • Black Owl

    Wouldn’t surprise me if it was true.

    I’m betting the RQ-170 data was also shared with China and Russia. AESA radars of better quality might come out of Russia soon and China might be making their first copied version as we speak.

  • Andy

    Why can we build more STEALTHY HELICOPTER like this for our Army.

  • DGR

    How do you know a top secret program is working?

    You never hear about it in the news. Even after one crashed in Paskistan during the OBL raid we havnt seen any actual pictures. Refreshing in a world with seemingly constant security leaks.

  • Uranium238

    And why in God’s name is this a-hole divulging black ops and top secret info????

  • BobSacamano

    Just a thought, but does Israel have retired F 117 Nighthawks? Just musing about something that would be of great value in an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities and SAM sites. Again, just a thought…

  • anthony

    When Syria falls well all find out wont we?

  • Rohan

    Israel is a new high – tech military developing country….and I think its gonna overtake China’s military tooo!!!

    • Musson

      In 30 years – Israel wil have more fighting aged men than Germany. It is a demographic fact.

    • NathanS

      I’m not a Chinese advocate, but it’s clear that some people on here have no idea of the size and scope of Chinese expansion. Yes, Israel is growing as well, but it’s not even in the same ball-park. To give an idea, despite a period of lower than usual growth in 2010, China used 44% of the worlds cement. To give a comparison, the entire US used under 3%. It’s building the equivalent of 30 Manhattan’s a year.

      If anyone has been to China in recent years (well worth the trip), the size and scale is now staggering. With this level of economic growth, military growth was never going to be far behind.

      The US (and to a lesser extent Europe) has the technological advantage, but a lot of R&D is happing in China as well. Given our own R&D rates here in the west, this advantage will diminish over time.

  • Noha307

    In any case, cross border operations into Iran are a very serious issue with grave consequences if something went wrong. (Come to think of it, they may have serious consequences even if they go RIGHT!)

    I kind of doubt the fact that the U.S. would be willing to give any of this high tech equipment to any other nation. I have the example of multiple nations asking for and not receiving the F-22 in the back of my head. I could be wrong though – I mean we are developing the F-35 in concert with many other countries.

    I think the insinuation is that the helicopters are operating from northern Iraq, correct?

    Finally, what are the “reports by Iranian officials” that are referenced in the article? I know Iran doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to being honest or accurate in their statements, but any information might be enlightening.

  • RunningBear

    Let’s review history abit, every a/c provided to Israel has been “UP”-graded; this list is endless. Perhaps…..Israel built the stealth helicopters for the US SOC. This scenario is more likely than the US with leak security keeping the lid on a program of this type. :)

  • jamesb

    Yea so secret that this site has run drawing of them at least two or three times….
    There is NO reason to think that the US has some and so do the Israeli’s…
    Both countries extensively share military advances….
    The interesting point here is the author of this piece implies that the Israeli’s are trying to sell the US on the Iranian nuke progress…
    Obama’s NOT gonna want any part of this BEFORE November 6, 2012
    There are those Israeli that don’t believe the Iranian nuke progress is advanced as the Israeli8 PM lets on….

  • 4FingerOfBouron

    We had to of made way more than just 2. Come one. Spares? All the tooling? Even the gov’t wouldn’t waste that amount on tooling just for 2…

    • Mike

      Did we probably make more than two? Yes
      Would this government waste money? Yes
      Would the tooling (jigs/forms) be that expensive over and above that used to build the helo? Not really.
      Do I know what I am talking about? Yes (Prog Mgr for all B-2 tooling) now retired

    • blight_

      More like “two were modified, but the tooling and equipment is in place to make more on a limited basis”.

    • Steve

      do you speak english? what did you mean by “we had to of made” ? and what is “tooling” ?

  • jamesb

    Maybe the Brits and Dutch also?

  • Joe

    If the IDF really wanted the things they would have them.

    • Uranium238

      Yup. Look at the IAI Nesher as a clear example.

  • Lance

    Im sure the IDF has something like a stealthy BlackHawk. Im guess that it was there own upgrades rather than buying one from the US. IMI has cutting edge upgrades for weapons im not surprised that Israel has there own stealth upgrade for current helicopters.

  • Oppervlakkig

    Maybe you should read David Cenciotti’s blog more :P He has already made an updated concept of the MH-X

  • Uranium238

    This website has by far the best 3D CAD model I have seen of the Stealth Blackhawk.

    I wish I could HTML pictures into these comments.

  • Josh

    I enjoy reading about all our tech and some secret ops, but i would rather not hear about it. This is difficult in today’s age given social networking, but i feel like we cant keep pir mouths closed, let alone our computers that contain secret documents closed from chonese hackers. When are we going to learn to be more careful with this stuff!!!

  • Curt

    OK, in oeder for the story to be true you need to believe several things:
    1. Isreal has modifird H-60s. Probably not real difficult to do if you really feel the need
    2. That they flew these secret blackhawks in a small country for several years without anyone noticing. Maybe a little less likely, but still possible. Maybe they only fly at night.
    3. That these secret helos were flown all the way to Iraq, over at least one other country, to be based in Kurdistan without anyone noticing anything.
    4. Then to be flown into Iran when the Iranian ADS is so porous that you don’t need a stealth helo. and said helo is instantly recognizable if spotted..
    5. That they rejected the idea of using a comercial Bell 407 or similiar helo, painted as a oil rig crew helo, that is immediately available in the area and which no one would givve a second thought to if it was spotted.

    Not buying it, but I am glad they want the Iranians looking for them, Because they will of course never find anything thaty isn’t there.

  • Kski

    It’s not a matter of if they operate them, its a matter of how many they have and how long have they had them.

  • Rob

    A Stealth aircraft will always have limitations. They are from from invisible, still have a heat signature and easily located by it’s distinctive noise in the air.

    One time I was in an open field in the darkest of nights,heard a helo in the sky far off. I looked where I could hear the noise and saw it’s blinking red lights right where i believed it to be. Bet if I had night vision goggles it would look like a mini moon in the sky even.

  • STemplar

    I would think everyone who wants to be able to slip SF folks into an area has thought about or tinkered with ways to lower radar signature. A helo is inherently hard to detect if you aren’t aiming to do so being they can fly so low. The low signature lets you get in much closer to potential sites being monitored. Given the IDFs penchant for bold movements of commandos no surprise if they had these or something similar.

  • I don’t know about Black Hawks, but according to the book “Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad” Israel has had at least one stealth helicopter for quite some time. I have no idea what they’re current one is, but i assume it is more advanced than the one stated in the book. I also recall that the time we hunted bin laden back (before 9/11) the US had stealth helicopters. So declassified knowledge or at the very least rumors of the existence of stealth helicopters have been around for quite some time, they just weren’t well circulated.

  • Beaver

    This guy should be gagged for opsec reasons.

  • Beaver

    This guy should be told to b quiet for opsec reasons.

    • blight_

      Muzzling would just confirm veracity. Better to poke a couple of bloggers into making all sorts of spurious statements to obfuscate the truth.

    • Riceball

      Why? It’s only speculation and it’s not like he’s working for the DoD or Sikorsky, he’s just a blogger making guesses based on public knowledge. Not to mention that there’s no real opsec involved here given that the article is about the possibility that Israel has stealth helos, how’s that opsec since it involves the Israelis not us and nowhere does he say that they are using stealth helos built by us that we sold to them. Lastly, the cat’s already out of the bag, all the world already knows that we had at least one stealth helo after the Bin Laden raid.

    • Curt

      How do you know this isn’t part of an intentional disinformation campaign started to cover the real operation?

  • Mike

    Do you think that Iran might be out of range for any helicopter flying from Isreal? It is a non-player in the Iranian nuke issue.

  • Tyler

    Hey gentlemen, actually use the modern idea of what the Stealthy Blackhawk looks like. That was a very, very early sketch.

  • WRG01

    Friggin Airwolf has been flying since 1984. Jan Michael Vincent would knock out the Iranian nukes for sure.

  • HiPowerGuy

    I realize this post is weeks old,but if you want a close idea of what the STEALH BLACK HAWK looks like ( the above pic is probably fairly accurate ), look up the COMMANCHE program. That was a stealth helicopter we spent BILLIONS ON, a Recon chopper, that we cancelled. Just a thought…

    • JohnnY

      EXACTLY! I just posted my beliefs as well, didn’t see yours until now, haha.

  • anthony

    For all you UFO fans it does look like a saucer in a way and it is speedy maybe this is the answers for all you UFO fans..

  • anthony

    Lets not forget that Stealth is 20 years old we are way ahead on programs we dont know.

  • HiPowerGuy

    Wait a minute!~!!! Think about this …….since this is the first stealth helicpter discussed, it would be like us giving someone, even if it i israel, a F117 after they had been out 10YEARS! AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!!!

    For one thing..if you look at th pictures/drawings of this looks like an enlarged Comanche REcon prototype that was cancelled. For another…can u IMAGINE the PR if one crashed somewhere over there, and it was NOT ours.

    I did not read this guys report, so I do not know the context of his info…but smething is wrong…or off base here. We are not going to be giving any of these away to anyone IMHO anways. My 2censtsworth. :-)

  • JohnnY

    Here’s my take on this, and maybe I’m on to something….maybe not? But let’s flash back to the RAH-66 Comanche project, if you were to look at the tail rotor section of the Comanche and the design and looks of it then compare it to the pictures that were released of the crash site in Pakistan during the Bin laden raid, you will see some VERY VERY close resemblance between both the Comanche and the wreckage. The Comanche, and correct me if I’m wrong, was a “stealth” helicopter that was supposed to be used for reconnaissance missions and carried a lot of advanced technology to avoid both radar and a reduced heat signature. Soooo, I’m going to guess the technology that was used, then later dumped “due to budget reasons,” was never really thrown out and was probably used on some kind of stealth black hawk. Just my take and observations………

  • JamesK

    They could of got them from Mexico, we’ve sold them to our southern neighbors.

  • Zspoiler

    They probably built their own.

  • It would surprise me if this were true. The Israelis are extremely technically savvy and would immediately start copying the mods in the chopper. This wouldn’t be an issue except that there is still some bad-blood in Washington from the last time Israel sold some American technology to China a few years back. That was what was holding up the IAF from signing on to the F-35 program. People were worried the Israelis would sell the technology. If we are now providing Mossad with stealthy choppers, I’ be very surprised at the turn, considering the kinds of discussions that were going on on Capitol Hill only a few years back.

  • Drift

    I still don’t know why they didn’t have a B-2 in the area to drop a JDAM on one of the birds if it was damaged or shot down. You would think they would’ve learned their lesson from the F117A that was shot down.
    I know the target was pretty deep inside Pakistan but even one loitering in Afghan airspace… eh… whatever