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Date: May 3, 2011
New U.S. "black" helicopter type downed in Pakistan ?
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growing up around the army, you tend to learn a few things. also there was originaly 4 helicopters that were meant to assault Osamas safe house but they where engaged by RPG's abot 15 km out, but there was no report of any of the helicopters aking damage, so the question is, where did the other two helicopters go?



-- Edited by scorpio213 on Wednesday 4th of May 2011 12:38:32 AM

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I have attempted to write an article about the mysterious helicopter that crashed in Abbottabad, by compiling the information and remarks I collected from the topics at secretprojects.co.uk, militaryphotos.net and of course here.

This is a web exclusive for Stingray's forum... hope you find it informative and accurate!

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New U.S. "black" helicopter type downed in Pakistan ?

 

Compiled and written by Stéphane Beaumort for Stingray's Rotorcraft Forum


The downing and subsequent destruction of a helicopter over Bin Laden’s Pakistani hideout could almost have passed off as routine procedure, had pictures of that helicopter not been released by British newspaper The Daily Mail. Officially, the type was announced as being a Sikorsky MH-60K. According to most knowledgeable observers, however, we are undoubtedly here in the presence of a newly revealed so-called “black” program, the first one in a very long time—a fact that, if confirmed, would explain why the chopper was rigged it with explosives after the raid, since the U.S. surely didn't want the machine exposed to public eye.

Soon after the pictures were released, a discussion ensued on militaryphotos.net leading to some speculation that the unknown type that went down was actually a custom-built close support bird, possibly around the size of the Bell H-58 Kiowa. It's no secret that the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) (better known as the Night Stalkers), which provides helicopter aviation support in special operations, have evaluated and operated specially-configured helicopters for quite a while. They did have a small number of a stealthy version of the Kiowa up to around the mid-90's, the OH-58D OA (Optimized Aircraft), before budget cuts put an end to the program—although that was apparently an infiltration and retrieval platform rather than armed support. Although the unknown helicopter could have been an assault transport, an observation or fire support platform, chances are that if it came that close to the target, it was most likely a transport, optimized for infiltration.

Whatever it was, it looks like a decision was made that the value of the target was deemed important enough to risk exposing it. But how could the SEALS fly over Pakistan for over hundred miles without being detected? Belgian state radio mentioned the embarrassment of the Pakistani military regarding their failure to detect and prevent the incursion of their airspace. Reporters claim the Pakistani blame « advanced countermeasures » for this feat, but specialists believe that a low-observable platform would explain their failure at detecting the aircraft. Except there isn’t, officially at least, a really stealthy helicopter in the U.S. inventory…

The first step towards low detection of an aircraft was in reducing its noise signature. In the 1960s, the CIA not only had the "Quiet One" Hughes 500s, but also modified UH-1s with small diameter, high-blade count rotors that were very quiet. This could be be added to a standard Huey as a kit; however, the rotors ran at unusually high RPM and severely compromised performance. In recent years, NASA conducted intensive work on the Sikorsky H-60 Black Hawk aiming to reduce both main and tail rotor noise. A team of NASA engineers looked into methods of increasing the military stealth of the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter through noise reduction tests carried out at the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC), Moffett Field, California. To reduce noise from the rotor blades, they developed motion-control technology by inputting low-frequency variations of rotor blade pitch-angle into the control system.

To some observers, the mysterious chopper could therefore be an after-market add-on kit for the MH-60 to reduce signatures, especially the audio signature.  All the excessive streamlining would go a long way to reducing airflow noise. Obviously the highly different tail rotor would be for this objective as well. But what of radar signature? Significantly reducing the RCS (radar cross section) of a rotorcraft, on the other hand, has historically been extremely difficult, since spinny parts make great reflectors. Since the 70s there have been a number of efforts to reduce the RCS of rotorcraft.  The U.S. Army nearly procured the world’s first off-the-shelf stealth combat helicopter in the 1990s, the Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche, but drastic budget cuts, once again, put an end to it.

A faceted, radar-stealthy Black Hawk derivative was already mentioned on the Secret Projects forum before, but no evidence of its existence had surfaced so far. Without a doubt, a low-observable, ‘stealthified’ development of the H-60 with advanced electronic countermeasures (ECM) would make logical sense for the Bin Laden operation as it would have certainly aided the penetration of Pakistani airspace. Also, Chief Warrant Officer Mike Durrant once wrote about how he worked on special A/MH-60 modifications to the Black Hawk after Somalia in memoriam for CWO Cliff Wolcott (who did a lot of the early DAP work).

So if the stealthy Black Hawk exists, it can't be easy for SOAR to conceal training missions with Special Forces troops using such an unusual type. As a result, it is probably classified ‘Secret’ but reasonably well-known in the Special Operations Forces community. Indeed, almost  everything concerning current SOF weapons, training and tactics is classified either ‘Secret’ or ‘Top Secret’, so it shouldn’t be surprising that they'd use specialized equipment to go after the world's highest value target and ensure mission success.

A close scrutiny of the Daily Mail pictures seems to validate the notion of a ‘Stealth Hawk’ or ‘Silent Hawk’. The ‘pie plate’ over the tail rotor hub, the odd cap on the tail fin and the silvery paint suggest stealth treatment. The question then of course now becomes how much redesign has gone into the aircraft. By rotating and lining up the left and right views of that tail rotor assembly with that of a Sikorsky H-60, one realizes that their structural dimensions look very similar. This being said, notable differences exist such as the symmetrical moveable horizontal stabilizer. There is also a large fairing extending aft from the horizontal tail, which could possibly hold a folded-back tail wheel for retraction. One particularly striking detail is that no rivets or rivet lines seem to appear in the photos. The soldier holding a piece of the wreckage is holding composite material. The tail definitely looks composite, and none of it looks like aluminum.

The only problem with this Black Hawk theory is in the overwhelming redesign of the system. The photographs of what appears to be the tail rotor assembly/tail boom indicates this was a major modification and not just the introduction of a couple components designed to reduce noise signature. Modifications of this sort require many, many hours of flight testing and modifications to other portions of the aircraft. This wouldn't have been just a special one-off modification, because reliability is so essential in any military operation, let alone one of that magnitude. These modifications have to serve real operational purposes, or they wouldn’t have been on a helicopter going after Bin Laden. The military, therefore, probably has had this technology for a while and extensively tested it.  The mystery aircraft could still be an extremely stealthed composite modification of an H-60, one that would be using its mechanicals but greatly changing its exterior shape. After all, the Black Hawk has been around a long time, lots of people know how to fly it and it is very reliable and damage-resistant, making it a prime candidate for such a conversion. But evidence is too sparse to be conclusive at this stage.

Also, another question remains: early reports indicated that no American life had been lost in the raid. So if the helicopter was downed, crashed and was then destroyed, what of its crew? Given the short drop (6-10 feet) and slow speed, the crash would be survivable. The raid would go on while one or two operators or aircrew would use thermite or similar heat-generating grenades to finish off the wreckage that they could reach within the walls of the compound.  Another possibility could be an unmanned helicopter, although the size suggested by the remains makes it a little big for such a type.

 



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very good, but no one has factord in what happend to the other to heliopters, it seems they just dissapered



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scorpio213, please see my post in the other thread. There were no RPGs. The SEALS were not engaged in a firefight at any time during the raid.



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By the way, you have written a very informative article Stargazer2006. There is evidence of it being an apparent H-60 modification wheather manned or unmanned. If crewed than they must have been lifted out by the other accompanying aircraft.



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they where engaged abot 15 km from the compound by enemy combatants, and two of the four helipters dissapeard and after the raid only one helipter was still available to transport the SEALS out of the compound, but the pave hawk would have been over its capacity with the seales from the other chopper, so how did they get out then?



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The question of how the remains were carried away is a valid one, but remember that one photo shows a completely burned out hull, so there may not have been much left in the end to carry. As for me, I have two other puzzling questions: 1°) if the helo was THAT damaged by fire, why did they leave the tail unit untouched? I know it was on the other side of the wall, but surely it could also have been destroyed before going... and 2°) if the Pakistani population were so proud of their trophy, why did they cover it with a blanket instead of showing it off?



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Okay, so here's what Abraham Gubler at Secret Projects answered to these questions: 1°) It’s relatively easy to burn out a helicopter full of fuel with thermite grenades. As to the boom on the other side of the fence I think they had more important things to attend to. 2°) Because that would have been the Pak Army securing the site who did that. As to the competency of the site securing after the Army left with the boom that is the Pak Police and they were probably more concerned with keeping the peace rather than picking up bits of scrap metal that no one seemed to care about.



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A document I'd like to share with you: my reinterpretation of what a stealthy Sikorsky CH-60 « Silent Hawk » could look like, using a profile that was found at militaryphotos.net as a basis. I modified the nose's shape, made the landing gear retractable and removed as many appendices as possible for cleaner streamlining. I also added the tail fairing at the rear and blended the tail unit a bit more into the dorsal spine. This image is purely hypothetical and should not therefore be taken as an authoritative source.

http://aviadesign.online.fr/images/sikorsky-stealthhawk-profile.jpg

Another daring and interesting stealth Black Hawk development has been imagined by David Cenciotti on his blog, and here it is, shown with a regular version for comparison.
http://cencio4.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/black-helo-down/

http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=155135&d=1304520018



-- Edited by Stingray on Tuesday 14th of August 2012 10:28:10 PM

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Excellent rendering of the "Silent Hawk"! This is no doubt an attempt at noise reduction and stealth.
Leela25 wrote:

AB.139 then? There was a military proposal...

Agusta%20A-139.jpg?height=188&width=400


 

That is an A.129/139 utility proposal which has nothing to do with the later AB.139, despite using the same number in the designation.



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http://cencio4.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/black-helo-down/



-- Edited by Leela25 on Wednesday 7th of January 2015 04:14:32 AM

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very interesting interpretation of the supposed "Stealth Hawk"



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I much agree. I prefer your version for being the most realistic concept.



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Thanks, but the "other" concept seems closer to the truth, if we're to believe the following article:

Mission helo was secret stealth Black Hawk - article by Sean D. Naylor - Staff writer at Army Times



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good point, the Angular design of the second concept indicates more stealth ability than the second



-- Edited by scorpio213 on Thursday 5th of May 2011 12:43:20 AM

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555


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I am currently watching the news and a reporter just announced they will reveal the aircraft's true identity. Please stay tuned to this thread as the commercials progress.



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555


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It is now official. It was an MH-60 with a special stealth modification, a closely guarded secret for some time until now. This proves to be the first stealth helicopter to be used in action. US officials are concerned about the remains on their way to China since they have a large interest in developments of stealth aircraft.



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555 your news is late

Stephane posted a link to a news article explaining just that.



-- Edited by Air_Gopher on Thursday 5th of May 2011 01:05:45 AM

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Air_Gopher wrote:

555 your news is late

Stephane posted a link to a news article explaining just that.


 Well, not quite so. The article presented an educated guess from an expert, not an officially released piece of information.



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Another very interesting picture:



-- Edited by Leela25 on Wednesday 7th of January 2015 04:15:27 AM

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Stéphane



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http://www.activesensors.com/news/7

A team of NASA engineers are looking into methods of increasing the militery stealth of the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter through noise reduction tests being carried out this year (2010) at the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC), Moffet Field, California. To reduce noise from the rotor blades, engineers are developing motion-control technology by inputing low-frequency variations of rotor blade pitch-angle into the control system.

The control instrumentation required for the tests are mounted in a ‘hat’ at the root of the rotor blades. Active Sensors XRT RVDT’s with integral signal electronics are attached to the ‘crab arms’,which inturn control and measure blade motion, pitch, flap and lag of each blade. Jiawei Toh of Jacobs Technology commented,“Active Sensors DC/DC RVDT’s with built-in signal electronics are specified to minimise the electrical hardware required, and to reduce electrical noise propagation in the control-wiring loom. Our tests will be on-going in 2010".



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eureka, Barak Obama admited to having steath heliopters

http://www.scribd.com/doc/54670786/PAGE-1-Top-Secret-Stealth-Helicopter-Program-Helo-UAV-Revealed-in-Osama-Bin-Laden-Raid-Experts-May-4-2011

http://www.scribd.com/doc/54699068/PAGE-2-Top-Secret-Stealth-Helicopter-Program-Helo-UAV-Revealed-in-Osama-Bin-Laden-Raid-Experts-May-4-2011

 






-- Edited by scorpio213 on Friday 6th of May 2011 04:06:11 AM

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Thanks for the links, Justin!



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no problem, i was just trying to find a lead and i happend to stumble oacross the site, and my contact in the US said that all the US missile stikes in Libia are the result of the helicopter's stealth ability and apparently seeing the helicopter is a common occourance for US defence personell



-- Edited by scorpio213 on Saturday 7th of May 2011 04:16:44 AM

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I found a video of a reoprt posted on youtube:



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And here is another:



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From Flight International

 

The operation that killed Osama bin Laden on 2 May inadvertently revealed a modification kit that reduces the radar profile of a small number of Sikorsky MH-60Ks operated by US special operations forces, according to sources familiar with the equipment.

A reduced-signature tail rotor shroud, low-observable treatments and faceted stabilators are visible in news photos of the helicopter that was destroyed at the scene.

The images led to speculation about the possible existence of an all-new stealth helicopter. But in reality, they reveal one of several mission-specific kits developed internally by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, sources said.

The regiment is renowned for the flying skills of its helicopter pilots, but has also developed advanced engineering capabilities.

Set apart from the army's conventional acquisition and science and technology communities, the 160th has the ability to develop and certificate its own aircraft modifications and projects.

A standard MH-60K represents the most advanced configuration of the Black Hawk family within the regiment's fleet, with special survivability, navigation and radar systems allowing it to operate in "all environments and under the harshest conditions", the army said.

According to one source, the tail rotor is the most visible part of the MH-60K to radar and the sharply edged shroud revealed in the news photos helps to reduce the signature, especially from the frontal aspect. The kit also includes the installation of a stealthy windscreen and requires the removal of the MH-60K's refuelling probe, according to sources.

The bolt-on kits are not classified, but they have been kept secret within the special operations community for as long as two decades. Starting in the mid-1980s, the army began experimenting with stealth treatments for helicopters.

In 1987, Bell OH-58s involved in Operation Prime Chance, which provided armed escorts for oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, received a kit with stealth treatments, which included a main rotor shroud.

The Sikorsky/Boeing RAH-66 Comanche, which was cancelled in 2004, was designed with stealth treatments from the beginning.

It is not clear how the special kit impacted the MH-60K's performance during the bin Laden raid. One of the two aircraft involved in the operation had to be destroyed on the ground. The helicopter's engine had reportedly lost thrust due to power settling as it hovered within the high walls of bin Laden's compound.

One source said the tail rotor shroud of the radar-evading kit improves the aerodynamic performance of the aircraft slightly, but another said the stealth features add weight and drag to the aircraft, perhaps making it more susceptible to power settling.



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http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/osama-bin-laden-raid-pakistan-hints-china-peak/story?id=13570573&page=2

Pakistani officials said today they're interested in studying the remains of the U.S.'s secret stealth-modified helicopter abandoned during the Navy SEAL raid of Osama bin Laden's compound, and suggest the Chinese are as well. 

The U.S. has already asked the Pakistanis for the helicopter wreckage back, but one Pakistani official told ABC News the Chinese were also "very interested" in seeing the remains. Another official said, "We might let them [the Chinese] take a look." 

A U.S. official said he did not know if the Pakistanis had offered a peak to the Chinese, but said he would be "shocked" if the Chinese hadn't already been given access to the damaged aircraft. 

The chopper, which aviation experts believe to be a highly classified modified version of a Blackhawk helicopter, clipped a wall during the operation that took down the al Qaeda leader, the White House said. The U.S. Navy SEALs that rode in on the bird attempted to destroy it after abandoning it on the ground, but a significant portion of the tail section survived the explosion. In the days after the raid, the tail section and other pieces of debris -- including a mysterious cloth-like covering that the local children found entertaining to play with -- were photographed being hauled away from the crash site by tractor. 

Aviation experts said the unusual configuration of the rear rotor, the curious hub-cap like housing around it and the general shape of the bird are all clues the helicopter was highly modified to not only be quiet, but to have as small a radar signature as possible. 

The helicopter's remains have apparently become another chip in a tense, high-stakes game of diplomacy between the U.S. and Pakistan following the U.S.'s unilateral military raid of bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, more than a week ago. 

The potential technological advancements gleaned from the bird could be a "much appreciated gift" to the Chinese, according to former White House counterterrorism advisor and ABC News consultant Richard Clarke. "

Because Pakistan gets access to Chinese missile technology and other advanced systems, Islamabad is always looking for ways to give China something in return," Clarke said. 

The Chinese and Pakistani governments are known to have a close relationship. Last month Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif concluded a trip to Beijing, afterwards telling Pakistan's local press that China was Pakistan's "best friend." 

Dan Goure, a former Department of Defense official and vice president of the Lexington Institute, said last week the stealth chopper likely provided the SEALs an invaluable advantage in the moments before the shooting started. 

"This is a first," he said. "You wouldn't know that it was coming right at you. And that's what's important, because these are coming in fast and low, and if they aren't sounding like they're coming right at you, you might not even react until it's too late... That was clearly part of the success." 

Neighbors of bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, told ABC News they didn't hear the helicopters the night of the raid until they were overhead. 

Officials at the U.S. Department of Defense declined to comment for this report, and a senior Pentagon official told ABC News last week the Department would "absolutely not" discuss anything relating to the downed chopper. Several Chinese government officials in the U.S. and in China were not available for comment. 

U.S. officials have not officially disclosed any details on the helicopter, but President Obama said it was a "$60 million helicopter," according to a report by The Washington Post. While the price tag on normal Blackhawks varies depending the type, none cost more than $20 million according to the latest Department of Defense procurement report. 

If the Chinese are allowed to see the wreckage, it may not be the first time the Chinese military was given an opportunity to benefit technologically from America's misfortune. In 1999 an American stealth F-117 Nighthawk bomber was shot down in Serbia, the wreckage of which was reportedly passed along to the Chinese. 

More than a decade later, in January of this year, China's first stealth fighter, the J-20, took a test flight that caught international attention and sparked a debate over whether China had developed the stealth-capabilities based on what they learned from the downed Nighthawk. Balkan military officials told The Associated Press the Chinese likely based their designs on the American plane, but Chinese officials denied the allegation in their state-run newspaper, The Global Times. 

Regardless of its origins, the J-20 could serve as the first major challenge to American air superiority in decades. In an analysis published last week, the conservative think tank The Jamestown Foundation concluded the J-20 was capable of rivaling America's best air-to-air fighter, the F-22, in everything from speed to stealth and lethality. 



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I can't understand a word in this video, but are they getting at the RAH-66 being the aircraft used in the OBL raid, or just using it as an example? I ask this seriously because you can clearly see how rediculous this looks when comparing the actual wreckage to a program that's dead and gone.



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