Washington: The US Navy SEALs , who launched operation against al-Qaeda Chief Osama bin Laden, sneaked into Abbottabad, home to Pakistan Army’s premier academy and some two hours drive form Islamabad, were carried by never-before-seen stealth helicopters.
One of the two Blackhawk helicopters that carried the SEALs into bin Laden’s Pakistani compound was forced to make a hard landing. With the chopper unrepairable, at the end of the mission the SEALs destroyed it with explosives.
But photos of what survived the explosion have sent military analysts buzzing about a stealth helicopter program that was only rumored to exist. From a modified tail boom to a noise reducing covering on the rear rotors and a special high-tech material similar to that used in stealth fighters, former Department of Defense official and vice president of the Lexington Institute Dan Goure said the bird is like nothing he’s ever seen before.
Photographs taken after a Navy SEAL team raided Osama bin Laden?s compound in Pakistan show the wreckage of one helicopter that clipped a rotor on a compound wall, was abandoned and destroyed.
“This is a first,” he said. “You wouldn’t know that it was coming right at you. And that’s what’s important, because these are coming in fast and low, and if they aren’t sounding like they’re coming right at you, you might not even react until it’s too late… That was clearly part of the success.”
In addition to the noise-reducing modifications, a former special operations aviator said the general shape of what was left of the craft — the harsh angles and flat surfaces more common to stealth jets — was further evidence it was a modified variant of the Blackhawk.
Neighbors of bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan told an American television they didn’t hear the helicopters the night of the Sunday raid until they were directly overhead. The rotor covering, along with a special rotor design, suppressed the choppers noise while inbound.