Is this the first daylight photo of a Stealth helicopter involved in the Bin Laden raid?

Aug 21 2013 - 3 Comments

The answer is most probably: No, it isn’t.

The image that has been circulating on the Internet after Steve Douglass published it on his blog is nothing more than a Photoshopped photograph: at first glance it may look genuine, but it is a standard Black Hawk, digitally modified to make it similar to the prop used for the movie Zero Dark Thirty.

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Image via Steve Douglass

Douglass has published a detailed analysis of the image (including its EXIF file – that dates the image to May 2008….) on his site. This author calls it a fake because, among the other things, the nose cose is somehow irregular as if it was hand-modified.

As soon as the images of the actual Stealth Black Hawk crash landed inside the compound at Abbottabad during Operation Neptune’s Spear emerged, with the help of Ugo Crisponi, an artist at AviationGraphic.com,we published a rendering of what the radar evading chopper might look like.

Here’s the first version:

mh-x-2011_old

And here’s the most recent one:

MHX4_2012

We still believe the MH-X looks like the above helicopter.

Until we receive a genuine image of the real Stealth Black Hawk!

 

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  • WDE

    David,

    I have no reason (nor expertise or knowledge) to question the lower rendering. I still think that is the most accurate one that can be pieced together based off of OSINT and those with expertise in helicopter aviation. However, there is one thing that leads me to think this bird may look like something in between these two renderings – a hybrid that has that stereotypical “stealth” look but doesn’t require extensive structural mods, perhaps? I dunno.The reason I think this is because of a quote from the ST6 member known as “The Shooter” in Esquire. From the article:

    “When we got to Nevada a few days later, where the team trained on another full-scale compound model, but this one crudely fashioned from shipping containers, we turned the corner, saw the helos we’d actually use, and I started laughing. I told the guys, ‘The odds just changed. There’s a 90 percent chance we’ll survive.’ They asked why. I said, ‘I didn’t know they were sending us to war on a fucking Decepticon.’”

    So, one, assume this excerpt as truth. This bird looked like a freak of nature when the operators first got a look. It wasn’t just some updated version of equipment these teams use on a regular basis. To me, I read this as someone who saw a helicopter that looked very very different. Not just some modification. Thus, this leads me to think there’s more to the bottom rendering.

    Thoughts?

  • huey1

    Ask the Chinese, they have a used one. They got it off a Pakistani dealer.

  • JJ

    A while back, a picture briefly appeared on the internet and then was removed at the request of the original poster. It was of an earlier generation UH-60 that was modified to reduce it’s radar signature. Having seen that picture, I’d suggest that the first drawing posted above may be somewhat accurate. The 2nd, not even close. Just my guess but I highly doubt that any “stealth” helo would have a fixed refueling boom and/or deployed miniguns. Those two items alone would pretty much negate any LO treatment applied to the helo.