Tag 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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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.

This is what taking part to a U.S. Special Forces raid on board a 160th SOAR MH-60 Black Hawk looks like

The following picture provides an interesting point of view: that of U.S. Special Forces (USSF) soldiers scanning the ground below for threats while flying on a 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment‘s MH-60 Black Hawk during a Fast Rope Insertion Extraction System training exercise.

USSF fast roped onto a specific target during the Special Forces Advanced Reconnaissance, Target Analysis, and Exploitation Techniques Course, John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School on Fort Bragg, N.C., Aug. 28, 2012

The Black Hawk of the 160th SOAR (A) barely visible in the picture is believed to be only loosely similar to the advanced stealthy MH-X “Silent Hawk” (or Stealth Black Hawk) that the “Night Stalkers” used to infiltrate and exfiltrate U.S. Navy SEALs during the Osama Bin Laden raid in May 2011.

Image credit: U.S. Army

 

 

[Infographic] Osama Bin Laden raid (based on “No Easy Day”)

On May 6, 2011, few days after Osama Bin Laden had been killed, I published an analysis of Operation Neptune’s Spear, with the assets  involved in the raid, known and unknown facts (and some speculations).

Although “No Easy Day” does not provide much details about the Stealth Black Hawk exposed by raid, the U.S. Navy Seal Team Six operator’s first person recollection of the raid contains some interesting details about the way the operation was conducted, the most important of those is that the radar-evading choppers did not approach Abbottabad from the west, but from the east, with a presumed violation of India’s airspace.

“Presumed” because we can’t be sure New Dehli was not informed of the raid (even if it is quite unlikely, considered the secrecy surrounding the raid).

An interesting review of the book with the most interesting aviation-related details can be read on Aviationintel website.

Anyway, based on the details revealed by “No Easy Day”, I’ve asked Ugo Crisponi to update the first Neptune’s Spear infographic, and here’s the latest view of what has happened the night Bin Laden was killed.

1) A pair of reserve MH-47s (maybe Stealth Chinooks?) were on stand by at a Forward Air Refueling Point (FARP) north of Abbottabad. They carried personnel and material to set up the FARP as well as a team for the eventual Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR) mission.

2) The two MH-Xs flew to Abbottabad using callsigns “Chalk 1″ and “Chalk 2″

3) One of the MH-47s flew to the compound to pick up the crew of the downed helicopter.

4) After recovering the crew of the crash landed MH-X, the MH-47 flew directly to Jalalabad

5) and 6) Both the MH-47 and the MH-X returned to Jalalabad from the FARP (the latter had made a fuel stop there after the raid).

7) the SEALs Team Six was flown from Jalalabad to Bagram in an MC-130