A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Why There's Not Much Left of That Lost Helicopter

A sidenote to the Bin Laden op: via Aviation Week, one reason the damaged helicopter was pretty thoroughly destroyed before the team left is that it was apparently a highly secret stealth version of the Blackhawk: an Av Week blog reports:

Well, now we know why all of us had trouble ID'ing the helicopter that crashed, or was brought down, in the Osama raid.
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.
No wonder the team tried to destroy it. The photos show that they did a thorough job - except for the end of the tailboom, which ended up outside the compound wall. (It almost looks as if the helo's tail hit the wall on landing.)
This could have something to do with the fact that Pakistani air defenses didn't apparently detect the operation.

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