Tag Archives: helicopter

Here’s the (updated) shape of the badass Stealth Black Hawk chopper revealed one year ago by the Osama Bin Laden raid

As many readers of this blog already know, I’ve begun studying the possible shape of the so-called “Stealth Black Hawk” or “Silent Hawk” since the first pictures of the helicopter that had crash landed at Abbottabad, in Pakistan, during the Osama Bin Laden raid (officially named “Operation Neptune’s Spear“), appeared on line.

Based on the remains of the tail section, I asked Ugo Crisponi, an artist at AviationGraphic.com, to create a sketch of what the full stealthy chopper would have looked like after applying some upgrades needed to make it, if not radar-evading, at least a bit quieter.

With some imagination, “grain of salt”, engine shields, rotor covers, an extra main rotor blade (to slow down the rotor speed making blades quieter), some straight lines and what had survived to the attempt of the U.S. Navy Seals Team 6 to destroy the chopper, we created a realistic shape of the “black”, never seen before, helicopter.

Here’s the old version.

Although fairly inaccurate (for obvious reasons…) and resembling an S-76 more than an MH-60 Black Hawk, our Stealth Black Hawk  became a worlwide de facto standard: model kits, documentaries, videogames, articles feature the stealthy chopper I conceived with Crisponi as the actual helicopter secretly serving with the 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment).

Furthermore, since we named the rendering  “MH-X” (because we thought it was an upgraded MH-60) everybody has though that “MH-X” was the official designation of the chopper, even if it is only a fictional designation I used to manage the file versioning with Ugo.

Anyway, during the last year, we have continued to receive hints, corrections, official and unofficial comments and we have revised the original rendering to prepare a much more accurate profile of the Stealth Black Hawk that you can find in the image below.

Here it is:

The new version of the radar-evading chopper is much more similar to the MH-60: since the stealthy helicopter is an upgraded version of a standard Black Hawk (even according to official sources), it must have the some basic airframe and dimensions.

Along with many minor details we have fixed, here are the most important modifications:

  1. landing gear: the “new” version has a landing gear as a retractable undercarriage would require an extensive redesign of the whole airframe that is quite unlikely for a retrofit work.
  2. retractable refueling probe: we put it in the very first version, we removed it in the revised. However, as any other special ops helicopter, the Stealth Black Hawk is probably equipped with a retractable probe needed to perform aerial refueling and to extend the range.
  3. chaff and flare dispensers: the helicopter is believed to be equipped with passive countermeasures released through tail section dispensers like those on both sides of the U.S. Navy’s MH-60S “Armed Helo”.

As always, if you have any suggestion, send me an email or leave a comment.

If you thought the Presidential helicopter had tinted windows, you were wrong.

The top AP picture took me by surprise. Taken on Apr. 27 at Andrews AFB, shows Barack Obama through the window of the Presidential chopper.

I’ve always thought most VIP vehicles, cars and helicopters had tinted windows. First of all because they are cool. Second, for quite obvious security reasons: even if those are bulletproff windows, you might not want a sniper know where the very important person is sitting.  However, he might still guess his position, since interiors are very well known.

For instance, even if Obama can move inside the cabin of the VH-3D operated by the USMC HMX-1 (Marine Helicopter Squadron One), we can assume he will sit with his seat belt fastened at take off and landing either on the right or left Presidential seats that you can clearly identify by looking at the pictures published on the White House Flickr gallery.

Anyway, whether it is safe or not (most probably it is, otherwise it would not be that way), as a matter of fact, the Marine One (from the callsign the helicopter uses when the President of the U.S. is on board), has no tinted windows.

Image credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin


The most interesting, dramatic (recent) helicopter pictures from all around the world

In the image below, a pair of Alaska Army National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters (in an interesting configuration including snow pads) prepare to land at the Alaska Army National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility in Nome, Alaska, on Apr. 17, after supporting exercise Arctic Care 2012 operations in Brevig Mission, Alaska. Arctic Care is a recurring joint military medical readiness and logistics training exercise, providing medical care to underserved populations in remote areas of Alaska.

DoD photo by Maj. Guy Hayes, U.S. Air Force/Released

Marine One with U.S. President Barack Obama on board lands into the South Lawn of the White House on Apr. 18 at the end of a day trip to Ohio and Michigan.

Image credit: Getty Images

Taken in a remote jungle region in southern Peru, Cuzco, on Apr. 17, the following picture shows the helicopter wreckage of police officer Nancy Flores, killed during an armed encounter with Shining Path rebels. The group is responsible for the kidnapping of 36 gas pipeline workers who were released on April 14 and has participated in the killings of four police and military officers during the rescue missions of the hostages in the remote jungle region around the Ene and Apurimac valleys (VRAE) in southeastern Peru.

Image credit: Reuters

Below, Soldiers from The Royal Regiment of Scotland (5 SCOTS) carried by a Chinook helicopter during the 16 Air Assault Brigade Exercise Joint Warrior at West Freugh Airfield, Stranraer, Scotland on Apr. 16. The Airborne Task Force (ABTF) used a combination of parachute, air assault and Tactical Air Landings (C130 Hercules) to seize and secure the airfield at West Freugh during the JW exercise that was supported by RAF tactical planes, Joint Helicopter Force’s Apache, Chinook, and RN Sea King as well as several US, French aircraft.

Image credit: PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images

Below, a Colombian police chopper overflies Cartagena, Colombia, prior to the arrival of President Barack Obama and Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos for a land titling event for Afro-Colombian communities on Apr. 15.

Image credit: AP Photo/Fernando Llano

The caption of the following image reads: “An Indian firefighter looks on near a Schweizer helicopter that made an emergency landing on the rooftop of a residential building in Bangalore on April 12, 2012. A trainee helicopter pilot made an emergency landing on the rooftop of an apartment building in a busy residential district in southern India on Thursday after developing engine trouble.”

Image credit: STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

A view from inside a helicopter performing armed overwatch of Cartagena, Colombia, on Apr. 12 for the sixth Summit of the Americas.

Image credit: AP Photo/Fernando Vergara

An Irish Coast Guard helicopter reaches Titanic Memorial Cruise ship MS Balmoral, in the Atlantic Ocean off Ireland on Apr 10, to perform a the medical evacuation of a man suffering from a heart ailment. The ship headed back 20 nautical miles towards Ireland in order to be in range for a helicopter tasked with evacuating a man with a non life threatening heart condition.

Image credit: REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Barely visible on the upper part of the picture, a firefighting helicopter drops water to extinguish fire atop the Europe’s tallest-to-be tower under-construction which burns in central Moscow, late on Apr. 2. Located some 2 km west of the Kremlin, when completed, the tower will be 360 meters (1150 feet) tall.

Image credit: LEV MASLOV/AFP/Getty Images

Photo: Kamov Ka-31 helicopter landing on the deck of a U.S. Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser

During the Cold War, such type of helicopter would have been shot down by a U.S. warship.

However, on Apr. 11, 2012, as the following picture shows, a Kamov Ka-31 helicopter belonging to the Indian Navy landed on the flight deck of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) during Malabar 2012, a regularly scheduled naval exercise conducted to advance multinational maritime relationships and mutual security issues.


Image credit: U.S. Navy 

Syrian regime escalates air war: new video of Mil Mi-8 firing rockets

Yesterday, the first video of an Mi-8/Mi-17 using the side mounted machine gun to attack rebels near Azaz, was uploaded on Youtube.

Today, another video has emerged. It shows (in the first 20 seconds) an Mi-8 Hip firing rockets towards the rebels on the ground, during a daytime attack on Aleppo on Mar. 23, 2012.

Therefore, not only drones are flying in the Syrian airspace. Assad regime has started using some of its airworthy gunships against oppositors.

Time for a No-Fly Zone?