Here’s the (updated) shape of the badass Stealth Black Hawk chopper revealed one year ago by the Osama Bin Laden raid

May 01 2012 - 10 Comments

As many readers of this blog already know, I’ve begun studying the possible shape of the so-called “Stealth Black Hawk” or “Silent Hawk” since the first pictures of the helicopter that had crash landed at Abbottabad, in Pakistan, during the Osama Bin Laden raid (officially named “Operation Neptune’s Spear“), appeared on line.

Based on the remains of the tail section, I asked Ugo Crisponi, an artist at AviationGraphic.com, to create a sketch of what the full stealthy chopper would have looked like after applying some upgrades needed to make it, if not radar-evading, at least a bit quieter.

With some imagination, “grain of salt”, engine shields, rotor covers, an extra main rotor blade (to slow down the rotor speed making blades quieter), some straight lines and what had survived to the attempt of the U.S. Navy Seals Team 6 to destroy the chopper, we created a realistic shape of the “black”, never seen before, helicopter.

Here’s the old version.

Although fairly inaccurate (for obvious reasons…) and resembling an S-76 more than an MH-60 Black Hawk, our Stealth Black Hawk  became a worlwide de facto standard: model kits, documentaries, videogames, articles feature the stealthy chopper I conceived with Crisponi as the actual helicopter secretly serving with the 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment).

Furthermore, since we named the rendering  “MH-X” (because we thought it was an upgraded MH-60) everybody has though that “MH-X” was the official designation of the chopper, even if it is only a fictional designation I used to manage the file versioning with Ugo.

Anyway, during the last year, we have continued to receive hints, corrections, official and unofficial comments and we have revised the original rendering to prepare a much more accurate profile of the Stealth Black Hawk that you can find in the image below.

Here it is:

The new version of the radar-evading chopper is much more similar to the MH-60: since the stealthy helicopter is an upgraded version of a standard Black Hawk (even according to official sources), it must have the some basic airframe and dimensions.

Along with many minor details we have fixed, here are the most important modifications:

  1. landing gear: the “new” version has a landing gear as a retractable undercarriage would require an extensive redesign of the whole airframe that is quite unlikely for a retrofit work.
  2. retractable refueling probe: we put it in the very first version, we removed it in the revised. However, as any other special ops helicopter, the Stealth Black Hawk is probably equipped with a retractable probe needed to perform aerial refueling and to extend the range.
  3. chaff and flare dispensers: the helicopter is believed to be equipped with passive countermeasures released through tail section dispensers like those on both sides of the U.S. Navy’s MH-60S “Armed Helo”.

As always, if you have any suggestion, send me an email or leave a comment.

  • http://www.janetairlines.com Al Clark

    “Like!”

  • nico

    New versions “seems” more realistic, you can still see the outline of the traditional Blackhawk compared to the first version which seemed too much like a new helicopter.

  • David Braford

    Wouldn’t the landing gear compromise the stealth characteristics of the aircraft?

    • http://theaviationist.com/ David Cenciotti

      Most probably, that’s why I wouldn’t put it in an ideal stealth chopper. However, if it was just a retrofit of an existing Black Hawk, it’s hard to believe they managed to review the landing gear to such an extent it can be retracted.
      Just a guess.

      • Will

        I don’t know, David. They made a stealth Blackhawk, y’know. The landing gear is way too compromising. The rear one can easily be retracted from where it’s at. All they would have to do is make the room for the forwards to be retracted sideways (inwards) and safely stowed away. I don’t doubt that they looked to the RAH-66 Comanche for answers there.

        It might be hard to believe, but not impossible.

        • http://theaviationist.com/ David Cenciotti

          Rotating blades are even more compromising :) Anyway, still possible they used some kind of bay to hide the undercarriage.

  • Jupiter

    “Rotating blades are even more compromising :)” …..

    ….. but impossible to eliminate ….. ;)

  • Will

    Howdy, David. I just wanted to add a little more input here on aiding the stealth. I’m thinking that the MH-X has the ability for an aerial “buttoning-up”, so to speak. On a tank, all the hatches are closed and anything that could be operated remotely is done so, like fire control and all that. My thinking is that they have some sort of retraction system for the M-134 Miniguns, so that they are stowed inside when stealth is absolutely needed. It’s entirely possible. The gunners sit in seats next to the guns, hit a button and they pop out. Sliding “windows/doors” and all.

    The other thing is that, depending on the Iranian radar ceiling, stealth wouldn’t be needed at a certain height. I.E., they could’ve hovered over the target, guns out and all. The jamming capabilities given by the support craft aiding this idea, and also aiding the idea that conven’ door-gun systems still could’ve been used without worrying about cross-section issues or “blipping” on a radar because of the ports.

    Another idea that I don’t think anybody’s considered. If you can stealth a plane or helo, then who’s to say you can’t with the gear or weapons it carries? They could easily stealth-out an L-type DAP for use. For instance, it could be fitted with internal bays for small Hydra 70 tubes loaded with what was formerly known as Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) “smart” rockets, one pod on each side. Or mix it up with Hellfire/Sidewinder armament on one side with the 70s on the other.

    Just ideas… =)

    • Derraa

      This thing should also have an atircm. I can’t imagine our stealth uh60 not having advanced countermeasures. Apkws is probable

  • Justin Dixon

    Wouldn’t it at least have blades like a UH-60M with anhedral tips? I’m just saying since they already exist and all, and give the new blackhawks a bit less rotor noise and a bit more lift.