Category Archives: Stealth Black Hawk

New Sikorsky S-97 Raider similar to the mysterious Stealth “Osama Bin Laden raid” helicopter?

This week, Sikorsky is expected to start the assembly of the S-97 Raider helicopter prototype, Defense News reports.

The helicopter, among the choppers pitched for the U.S. Army’s Armed Aerial Scout program, to replace the Army’s aging fleet of OH-58 Kiowa Warriors, in use since the late 1960s, features a futuristic shape (compared to that of current helos) and is based on Sikorsky’s X-2 technology.

The S-97 will be a high-speed helicopter with coaxial main rotors and pusher propeller with a capability to either accomodate six troops or sensor in addition to the two pilots in the typical side-by-side cockpit.

The image of the first fuselage, released by Sikorsky, brings to light some interesting details about the Raider and a loose similarity with the MH-X Stealth Black Hawk helicopter exposed by the Osama Bin Laden raid.

Not only the Raider’s nose section is compatible with the concept I developed with AviationGraphic’s Ugo Crisponi in 2011 but the new chopper features a retractable landing gear is a feature that we thought was among the things that could keep the MH-X stealth and silent.

Most probably the MH-X (whose shape remains unknown) is different from the S-97, however it is safe to believe tha Sikorsky has embedded some of the features developed for the secret, radar evading U.S. Army Stealth Black Hawk used by the Navy SEALs at Abbottabad in May 2011, in the new chopper pitched to the Army.

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Mysterious helicopter emerges in China: a new, stolen model or a cloned Bin Laden raid’s stealth chopper?

An interesting image has emerged from the prolific Chinese Internet.

It depicts a mysterious helicopter being moved on a truck in China. Even if the aircraft is hidden below a protective covering, its shape can be guessed.

The chopper seems to have something in common with the U.S. UH-60 Black Hawk, hence it may be a Z-20, a Chinese model believed to be based on the S-70C, a medium transport/utility helicopter manufactured by Sikorsky already in service with the People’s Liberation Army.

However, there is another intriguing and (less likely) possibility: China has reverse-engineered the Stealth Black Hawk helicopter used by the Navy SEALs in the Osama Bin Laden raid.

Obviously this is a far fetched theory, since only a few chunks survived the crash landing at Abbottabad. Still, on Aug. 14, 2011, several media outlets all around the world, published the news that China was given access by Pakistani intelligence to the remains of the Stealth Black Hawk used during Operation Neptune’s Spear.

What if they copied the general design of the tail rotor and, just like this author did with Ugo Crisponi, designed a chopper whose shape is similar to the one of the U.S. black MH-X or the Israeli Stealth Yanshuf?

Image credit: via Chinese Military Aviation

 

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

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.

close up

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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Stealth Black Hawk prop exposed in the Osama Bin Laden raid movie trailer

Do you remember the photograph a U.S. soldier posing in front of a mysterious seemingly radar-evading chopper published on this site few months ago?

The helicopter, neither similar to any known type of American helo, was later identified as a prop, used for a new movie titled Zero Dark Thirty, due out Dec. 19.

The action movie will recall the chronicle of the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. Including the night of Operation Neptune’s Spear, when OBL was killed and a real Stealth Black Hawk crash landed inside the compound at Abbottabad.

The new trailer gives a hint at how the stealthy chopper has been imagined in Zero Dark Thirty.

New theories about the Stealth Black Hawk emerge as the UH-60 turns 40.

The famous Stealth Black Hawk helicopter revealed by the Osama Bin Laden raid is one of the hot topics of this blog. I still receive many comments about readers who give hints about the actual shape of the so-called MH-X.

Following the last article on the subject and the revised shape of the stealthy chopper, a reader who signs himself “John Doe”, has sent me some emails to show me some interesting past designs that could have been used to design the current secret shape of the Stealth Black Hawk.

The last version of the Stealth Black Hawk features fixed landing gear, unlike the original rendering, that had a retractable landing gear. I “opted” for a fixed gear because a retractable one could be extremly difficult and costly to implement.

However “John Doe” pointed me to the YEH-60B SOTAS (Stand-Off Target Acquisition System) a particular version designed to detect moving targets on the battlefield and downlink the information to an Army ground station.

The only SOTAS built for the U.S. Army (flown in the early 1980s before the program was cancelled in favor of the E-8 JSTARS) had a retractable main gear whose shape could have been used on the MH-X as well.

Image credit: Sirkosky Archives.

“The gear can always retract up into a fairing with doors.  As long as the fairing is properly shaped, it will have a much lower signature,” he wrote me.

“The tail wheel is probably retractable, as it is otherwise a great reflector.”

Then, he suggests few more upgrades based on past prototypes, as the ACAP, the Army’s Advanced Composite Airframe Programme (ACAP), whose goal was the development of an all-composite helicopter fuselage lighter and less costly to build than the predominantly metal airframes in general use.

“I would bet it has a flat windshield with a gold layer, for electrical continuity.  I would also think that it has a fairing to cover the push rods and main rotor mast, plus a fairing to cover the entire main rotor hub, like the tail rotor.  Lastly, there is probably a different IR suppressor as the hover suppressor likely has a big signature.  I’d guess ones like this.”

Anyway, as the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter turns 40, the Israeli Air Force celebrated the anniversary with an interesting article on the official website, that provides some little known facts about the famous multi-mission combat chopper that has been in service with 21 countries.

Although it does not confirm the existence of Stealth Yanshuf (“Owl”), an Israeli top secret radar-evading chopper allegedly used to drop spies in Iran, the article discloses, among the others, some interesting details about the Black Hawk activities in Israel and the rest of the world.

For instance, the article recalls that, along with the head of the FBI and, obviously the President of the United States, the Black Hawk has carried the Head of Nuclear Energy, the UN Secretary General and the Pope.

When he visited Israel in 2000, an Israeli Yanshuf, covered in red fabrics and new linings, was used to fly Pope John Paul II. Three UH-60s were used to ferry the Pontiff during his visit: along with the one helicopter carrying the Pope, another was used to carry his medical team and a third was available on standby.

In the Second Lebanon War, in 2006, the two Israeli Black Hawk squadrons received a special citation from the IDF’s Chief of General Staff. Both “The Rolling Sword” and “The Southern Bells” performed more than 100 rescues, most in the battlefield, while under attack during the war. “As long as we have you, we are capable of confronting any operation and challenge”, said the previous IDF Chief of General Staff addressing a message to the Black Hawk personnel.

Image credit: U.S. Army