Images show that parts of U.S. Army 160th SOAR MH-60M that crash landed off Okinawa were covered to hide some details

Aug 12 2015 - 9 Comments

A Special Operations Black Hawk performed a “hard-deck landing” on the USNS Red Cloud off Okinawa, Japan.

Seven military were injured after an MH-60M Black Hawk helicopter belonging to the U.S. Army’s 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment) performed a “hard-deck landing” on the USNS Red Cloud, 20 miles off Okinawa, Japan.

Aerial footage broadcast by several media outlets showed the helicopter (coded “63”) with part of its tail broken off: screenshots posted on Social Media (special thanks to @AbraxasSpa) shows that main and tail rotors were covered, most probably to hide some details (maybe noise reduction devices and other interesting sensors) of the Special Operations helicopter.

MH-60 Japan 4

Therefore, not a Silent Hawk like the one involved in the Abbottabad raid to kill Bin Laden, but a highly modified chopper with plenty of details that is better to keep away from cameras.

MH-60 Japan 3

Screenshots via @AbraxasSpa

 

  • ‘Tos

    i guess i’m a little than more than curious as to how “several media outlets” could get these photos/video? i have to imagine there are restrictions around naval vessels…???

    • Ryan Harris

      Exhaust sections look to be identical to the new CRH-60.

  • IronButterfly

    Just a couple of thoughts. First the landing deck on the USNS Red Cloud is near the stern and the helicopter is very near the bow ( a long distance on this very big ship). Second I see no wheels/tires. The Black Hawk helicopters have them unless this is a stealth version and they are tucked up in a wheel well. If that is the case then they weren’t trying to land. My guess is they were practicing a fast rope insert from a hover and something went wrong with the helicopter or pilot error and they banged down on the deck.

    I wonder of these helicopters are actually operating out of Okinawa or a mother ship off shore.

    • MW

      It does seem like a fast rope exercise. Being located near the bow is similar to where a special ops mission would usually infiltrate working their way front to back. Also I think this has normal landing gear but the struts were compromised due to the impact of the landing. You can almost make them out in the picture.

  • Lawrence D. Wood

    Look like floatation bags that might have been used to raise the wreckage to the surface.

    • sea_alex

      Those are just plastic traps … In the video you can guys putting it over the damaged section that was probably chopped by the rotors during the crash …

  • MW

    The only parts covered are the areas damaged by the crash. I believe they are trying to protect the now exposed sensitive parts that cannot handle sea water one them. There is actually a video of them covering the areas in which you can see the areas exposed. If the covered areas were really covered due to security concerns, then this footage would not have been released.

  • MW

    The only parts covered are the areas damaged by the crash. I believe they are trying to protect the now exposed sensitive parts that cannot handle sea water one them. There is actually a video of them covering the areas in which you can see the areas exposed. If the covered areas were really covered due to security concerns, then this footage would not have been released.

    Video of it being covered:
    http://www.usatoday.com/media/cinematic/video/31528489/

  • sea_alex

    Looks like pretty run of the mill MH-60L it has as all the usual bits sticking out the front , radar, refueling probe etc….

    I’ve actually worked on several Military Sealift vessels, and we participated in several counter terrorism /piracy drills were the military practiced to take control of the ship via helicopters and small boats. They did things like fast rope on to the ship from hovering helicopters. It’s something they practice on a regular basis because ships like the Red Cloud are more like the civilian ships they would encounter in real life. Sadly one of the ships I crewed, the USNS Arctic had a similar MH-60 crash in 2009.

    I think the traps have more to do with securing the wreckage for investigation and protecting it from the environment until the ship gets into port .