Is this the first leaked image of a new U.S. Stealth Helicopter or just a model used for a new Osama Bin Laden movie?

Update Aug. 7, 2012 23.45 GMT

Read the comment thread for more information about the helicopter, identified as prop.

Although I’m not sure the one depicted in the photo below is really a new stealth chopper like the one exposed by the Osama Bin Laden raid in May 2011, I find the following image extremely interesting.

It shows a U.S. soldier posing in front of a seemingly radar-evading helicopter that doesn’t remind me any known type of American helo.

The image file seems to be genuine and includes seemigly valid EXIF data (see below for details). I’ve just blurred the nametag and face of the U.S. Army serviceman (until I’m able to contact the user who uploaded it to ask him some questions – so far I’ve got no answer) just in case the image was leaked by accident on the Internet for anyone to see, share, download etc.

However, since it’s hard to believe that anyone would post a picture of a secret chopper online posing next to it, the helicopter in the image, with some typical stealth features (including an F-117 type of nose as the one designed in 1978 for the stealth UH-60), could just be a full scale model used for a movie.

Indeed, a new movie titled Zero Dark Thirty, is due out Dec. 19. It will recall the chronicle of the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. Here’s the film’s teaser trailer.

Is the one in the picture the fictional chopper used in the new movie or something else?

Don’t you think it has something in common with the famous Stealth Black Hawk design I made with Ugo Crisponi?

What’s your opinion?

Anyway, here’s the EXIF data embedded in the image:

File Name: DSCN1884.jpg

File Size: 238 kb – 1024 x 768

Camera Make: NIKON

Camera Model: COOLPIX S8100

Date/Time: 2012:04:23 23:53:23

Resolution: 1024 x 768

Flash Used: No (auto)

Focal Length: 5.4mm (35mm equivalent: 30mm)

Exposure Time: 0.023 s (1/43)

Aperture: f/3.5

ISO Equiv.: 160

Whitebalance: Auto

Metering Mode: pattern

Exposure: program (auto)

H/T to Giuliano Ranieri for the heads-up

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. If you look at 0:38 of the trailer and go frame by frame, you can see that the nose in the movie chopper resembles that in this picture. I think it’s a movie prop.

  2. Right off the bat I see that SPC L is not wearing multi-cam’s. He may have wings but is clearly not on flight status with regular cams. As of spring/summer 2012, all Army personnel were being issued the OEF multi-cam to enter theater. As for the camera time, you have to change it if you want to reflect your current timezone(probably incorrect), which brings up the fact you can change it to whatever you want to disguise truth. Not sure a SPC can pull that off if this one is dumb enough to dump this on the net where we can all see it, if it is a real stealth bird.

    Gonna do a little more searching on a couple of thoughts.

  3. The F-117 has air data probes on the nose that look superficially similar to those on this photo.

    But air data probes are not hollow. The four ‘probes’ on the nose of this object look more like the .303 Browning machine gun installation on a Spitfire.

    I bet that in the movie this helicopter strafes the bad guys using these forward firing machine guns. Machine guns that no real helicopter would have.

  4. After some easy research, the unit he is assigned, based on his shoulder insignia, was in AFG. They were issued OEF multi-cams based on images on the unit FB site covering that deployment. Was this kid there? Who knows and who cares. Furthermore, they were at KAIA after looking at the images and seeing the IJC patch. I could give the lat and long for where the court is that they are standing so you all can look it up on any earth mapping site with sat imagery. Not necessary though.

    Rant—>Also, one thing I noticed was the Normandy streamer on the guidon. Try not to bag on the Guard. A Major from that unit and an AF LTC died on the 25th FEB during that deployment, at MOI. May not be part of the topic, but it does chap my butt when the Guard gets roughed up. I spent 8 years regular and have now a total of 17 active years and 20+ for pay. I am in the Guard now and I lost 13 friends. While I was over there, a total of 3910 American servicemen and women lost their lives in combat actions.

    So, this kid was probably part of the PAO unit that, maybe, got the chance to be around this movie prop during a previous pre-deployment/deployment. Of course that is if this picture is anywhere near AFG. Yes, it is a prop. I have to admit, I came across some very interest photo’s of this kid though.

    Remember to vote.

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