Jim Emerson, staff writer
During the daring Navy SEAL mission to kill bin Laden a never before seen highly modified stealth Blackhawk MH-60 crashed in his compound. The Special Forces unit had to destroy the helicopter before leaving the scene, but unfortunately the tail boom remained intact and had to be left behind. Photos of the remaining parts were posted on the internet and this was the first time the public saw evidence of one of America’s best kept secrets.
The design of the Stealthy Blackhawk MH-60 is the product of a joint effort between the U.S. Special Operations Command and the Lockheed-Martin Skunk Works division. Lockheed designed and built the F-117 and the current F-35 stealth airframes as well. The modifications to the outer skin of the helicopter were similar to the diamond facet design of the stealth fighter’s outer coating. Its modified shape, combined with the special composite materials and an innovative paint, makes the MH-60 nearly invisible.
The props were modified to reduce noise enough so enemy troops are not alerted until the ship is already overhead. The shape and coating of the craft make targeting it very difficult. The MH-60’s airframe also includes an impressive electronic counter measures package, which is reported to have been employed during the assault. All indications are that this system successfully disabled bin Laden’s electronic communications capabilities. The MH-60 was modified by the Boeing Aircraft Company and was tested by a Special Ops crew trained at a remote base in the western United States.
Well Kept Secret?
Photos of the downed MH-60 surprised many aviation experts. Heretofore, all that was known was that the Army had been working on ways to reduce the noise of its Blackhawk Helicopter. There had never been any published discussion of a stealth program or the operational use of this design before the bin Laden compound assault. Bill Sweetman, editor and chief of Defense Technology International, told ABC News “This is the first the public has ever seen of an operational stealth-modified helicopter.”
Cause of Crash
The helicopter was flying heavy and was performing a maneuver called “settling with power” when it crashed. Apparently the Blackhawk lost all lift when it had its hard landing. The damaged helicopter was set ablaze by thermite grenades, but the team didn’t have time to destroy the entire airframe.
The Pakistanis have gathered up the parts of the Blackhawk and taken them to one of their military facilities. They claim to want their experts to reverse engineer the helicopter for their own use, but that’s unlikely because Pakistan doesn’t have much aerospace manufacturing capability. It’s a sure bet China and Iran would be interested in the composite material and paint for their own stealth designs. Most likely the Pakistanis are taking bids on the parts from them and the U.S. even now. The only thing missing is an eBay account.
To contact your Congressional Representative use this link: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/
To learn more about the MH-60 use these links:
This day in history May 14
1796: Edward Jenner administers the first dose of smallpox vaccine.
If you are not receiving coachisright.com directly, please signup using the RSS feature on the home page. It’s easy and always free.
In this world you may have knowledge or you may have repose, but you may not have both.
Remember we have work to do. Join your local TEA party and Republican County Committees to make sure real conservatives get our nominations.
Comments on this or any other coachisright.com essay can be sent by following the posting instructions below.