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Crashed Helicopter Sparks Concern Over Stealth Secrets

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the get-to-da-meme dept.

The Military 484

Hugh Pickens writes "The crash of a helicopter involved in the raid on Osama bin Laden's Pakistani hideout has prompted intense speculation about whether the aircraft was specially modified to fly stealthily — and whether its remains could offer hostile governments clues to sensitive US military technology. Remnants of the helicopter, including a nearly intact piece of its tail, suggested that the aircraft involved in the raid wasn't the typical Black Hawk flown by special-operations forces. Aviation experts who scrutinized photos of the scene say the tail had unusual features that suggested the helicopter had been extensively modified to fly quietly, while appearing less visible to radar. 'The odds are fair — based on my knowledge of the subject area — the vast majority of the special MH-60s aircraft were purpose-built to make those aircraft as stealthy as they could possibly be,' says aviation expert Jay Miller, adding that the remnants of the aircraft suggested extensive use of nonmetallic composite parts, which reflect less radar energy. Experts also say the tail rotor's design suggested an effort to reduce the 'acoustic signature' (video) of the helicopters to make them fly more quietly."

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Footage from the crash has been released. (-1)

darkjohnson (640563) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048292)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_w9Sb54_ik [youtube.com] Geeze everything leaks these days.

HD version of the video. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048430)

Mod parent down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048502)

This is worse than Goatse.

Re:HD version of the video. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048508)

Both videos are fake/rickrolls.

Yes it was modifed (4, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048296)

Or a new design. That tail rotor is not from any know US or even NATO Helicopter. How much was compromised? Maybe some materials It will depend on if Pakistan gives it back or not. They will probably pass some parts onto China since they are working with them on new aircraft. Or we will sell them some more F16s cheap if they give back to US.

Re:Yes it was modifed (1)

PoopJuggler (688445) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048318)

If this tech is so top-secret, why don't they spend some time and build a self-immolate feature into the entire helicopter? They don't really seem to try to not let the tech fall into the wrong hands...

The reason it crashed too? (4, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048442)

According the NYtimes the reason it crashed was not mechanical failure but lack of lift. two reasons were given 1) thin air 2) the walls of the compound created a vortex. So apparently just some modestly walls to guide air will reduce the lift enough to crash this thing. I wonder how it is supposed to land between buildings? I wonder if perhaps the noise reduction and stealth features came at a price of reduced performance.

Re:The reason it crashed too? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048570)

According the NYtimes the reason it crashed was not mechanical failure but lack of lift.

According to Aviation Week the reason it crashed was the tail rotor struck the top of the compound wall during the landing attempt, breaking the tail rotor off, which resulted in a hard landing. That's the reason the tail section was on the opposite side of the wall from the rest of the helicopter, and why it didn't get destroyed when the Seal team blew up the helicopter.

Re:Yes it was modifed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048566)

Much like China's current stealth plane uses technology copied form a US stealth aircraft.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12266973 [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Yes it was modifed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048864)

It was a UH-60 based design. Some of the parts from the wreckage have been identified.

BREAKING NEWS: (0)

Jargon Scott (258797) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048298)

Military tries to improve on itself.

Re:BREAKING NEWS: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048322)

More like, "Military uses special stealth helicopter for stealth mission".

And the funny thing is, the CAPTCHA on this post is 'specials'.

Hardly secret or surprising (4, Interesting)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048312)

The fact that civilian aviation experts were able to look at the pictures and say "gee, that's a so-and-so modification to reduce noise" suggests to me that this is hardly top-secret technology. Also, the fact that special forces have relatively stealthy helicopters is hardly surprising.

What next; controversy about a crashed police car 'revealing' secret tuning and suspension modifications?

Re:Hardly secret or surprising (3, Insightful)

Zeek40 (1017978) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048364)

If we only found damaged parts of that police car, and it was used to capture or kill one of the FBI's most wanted, and none of those parts were found in any other known production vehicle, then yes, there would be controversy over what the vehicle was.

Re:Hardly secret or surprising (3, Informative)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048546)

No way... the truth I there is tons of technology that our military uses that only those with a need to know are usually aware of.

We spend 1.8 trillion on the military industrial complex per year from taxes, and that isn't including DoD budgets or pentagon budgets. Damn straight we're gonna have crazy technology that people aren't aware of. Most civilians have no idea what we even amount to in this field, and most soldiers won't even see or hear about the tech they don't directly work with.

We pay for it, that's for sure.

Re:Hardly secret or surprising (3, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 3 years ago | (#36049022)

1.8 trillion total since the GWoT started more like.

FY2007 Department of Defense appropriations: $70 billion(estimated) for Iraq War-related costs
FY2007 Emergency Supplemental (proposed) $100 billion
FY2008 Bush administration has proposed around $190 billion for the Iraq War and Afghanistan
FY2009 Obama administration has proposed around $130 billion in additional funding for the Iraq War and Afghanistan
FY2011 Obama administration proposes around $159.3 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars

US defense budget FY2010
Provides $533.7 billion for the Department of Defense base budget in 2010, a four-percent increase over 2009.
Includes $75.5 billion in supplemental appropriations for 2009 and $130.0 billion for 2010 to support ongoing overseas contingency operations, while increasing efforts in Afghanistan and drawing down troops from Iraq responsibly.

http://www.gpoaccess.gov/usbudget/fy10/pdf/budget/defense.pdf [gpoaccess.gov]

Visualizing the US defense budget

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/apr/01/information-is-beautiful-military-spending [guardian.co.uk]

Re:Hardly secret or surprising (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048722)

I'm experiencing deja vu.

I remember this same discussion back in 1991, when a stealth fighter crashed in Iraq, and "experts" were worried that the crash parts would be stolen and help enemies build their own stealth fighter. So far I've not seen any great harm caused. Remember: These pundits are paid to talk, even if it's just "the sky is falling" nonsense and/or hand-wringing like an old maid.

Re:Hardly secret or surprising (5, Informative)

Mr.Intel (165870) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048972)

I'm experiencing deja vu.

I remember this same discussion back in 1991, when a stealth fighter crashed in Iraq, and "experts" were worried that the crash parts would be stolen and help enemies build their own stealth fighter. So far I've not seen any great harm caused. Remember: These pundits are paid to talk, even if it's just "the sky is falling" nonsense and/or hand-wringing like an old maid.

You mean 1999 during the Kosovo war? The only operational (combat) loss of an F-117 (S/N 82-0806) was in Yugoslavia.

They were right to be worried since China has developed a stealth fighter [wikipedia.org] from the technology stolen from that very plane.

Balkan military officials told the Associated Press that China and Russia may have adopted some stealth technology from a Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk, which was shot down by the Serbian military in 1999 during the Kosovo war.

source: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iE3jMTTaEhm5I8l63W9OzWiji0-Q?docId=e8f4fe6f3cc042d8af123a99e96b2a96 [google.com]

Re:Hardly secret or surprising (2)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048534)

Sun Tzu understood why this was a concern: "Be extremely subtle even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate."

If you know what materials are in use, and what technologies are implemented by your opponent, then you're no longer looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack. You know exactly what the other guy is using, and can then build systems specifically designed & tuned to hinder/counter/neutralize the benefits that tech gives him.

It's not just that the "experts recognize X as way of making quieter rotors," it's that "here's an operating piece of the tech that they're actually using, so now we know exactly what components and designs they've used, and can take specific steps to counteract that tech's advantages."

Will it benefit an organization like Al Qaeda, with limited scientific & research resources? Probably not. But a country with the resources and military of China, or North Korea, or Russia, or Iran? You'd be crazy to think they wouldn't be interested in seeing the classified tech we use up close and personal, but without the hidden prize of a Navy SEAL team inside.

Re:Hardly secret or surprising (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048538)

And what the "analysts" miss is that some of the stuff isn't exactly easy to make. Meaning, the processes to make any coatings, alloys, etc ... are secret and they can analyze them till they're blue in the face and may never figure out exactly WTF they're looking at.

At least that's what I've heard.

Re:Hardly secret or surprising (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048574)

Who mod this guy as "interesting"?

Noise reduction in this case is only part of the intriguing things in this helicopter. Never came across something that is probably something completely new and never wanted to know more about it?

Re:Hardly secret or surprising (2)

fridaynightsmoke (1589903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048656)

Who mod this guy as "interesting"? Noise reduction in this case is only part of the intriguing things in this helicopter. Never came across something that is probably something completely new and never wanted to know more about it?

I'm not saying that it isn't interesting or intriguing (because it is); I'm saying it's not an "OMG National Security" disaster. Because it probably isn't.

I suppose you don't know the Egg of Columbus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048648)

Comming up with a solution to a problem is an entirely different matter than understanding a solution presented to one. So drawing the conclusion this isn't top-secret technology is a fallacy.
The hard part of these things lies in having the basic idea and the details of implementation.

It looks like a stealth assassination copter. (0)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048684)

Just by the design of it, it does not look large enough to be used for anything other than a precise surgical assassination mission.

Doesn't make a sound, can hover over a Window or get a nice line of sight, seems perfect for sniper type assassination missions to me.

Re:It looks like a stealth assassination copter. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048774)

Doesn't make a sound? I bet "less noisy" is a much better description of it.

Re:Hardly secret or surprising (3, Informative)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048738)

Knowing that composites reduce radar signatures is well known in the civilian world. What specific composite works well against whatever brand of radar the pakistani's use is a whole other matter.

Everyone knew the F117 was a stealth fighter bomber, it had a shape, coating materials etc for that purpose. 10 years after it was built the russians still very quickly scooped up all the pieces they could find when one crashed in yugoslavia.

There's a big difference between knowing in general things that make something stealthy, it's quite another to have specific implementation you can copy/steal/learn from. In the same way that we all know nuclear bombs exist, and the basic principles of operation, but actually building a 5 Megaton bomb is a somewhat different problem.

The concern here is both what you can see externally, and then any of the electronics hardware on the inside that you can't see. When that EP3 spying on China in 2001 was forced to land on Hainan the important part wasn't the aircraft, it was the NSA operating system and all of the electronic stuff that we know sort of in general was there, but not how it worked.

The only thing to me is that Pakistan is officially a US ally in this, so for them to turn over the remains of the aircraft to anyone else would be... problematic (especially since it's a free market and who has more money to spend than the US?). Random bits that went flying around the neighbourhood, sure, they're gone. But any of the parts big enough to need a vehicle to move I'd guess the US will be wanting back.

Re:Hardly secret or surprising (2)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048868)

The only thing to me is that Pakistan is officially a US ally in this, so for them to turn over the remains of the aircraft to anyone else would be... problematic (especially since it's a free market and who has more money to spend than the US?). Random bits that went flying around the neighbourhood, sure, they're gone. But any of the parts big enough to need a vehicle to move I'd guess the US will be wanting back.

From what I've come to understand the main concern isn't that Pakistan as a country would sell this off to China or Russia but rather that less trustworthy elements in the Pakistani military/government (essentially the same thing most of the time) would either use this tech themselves (they are after all a nuclear power even if a lot of people tend to think of them as little more than "towelheads") or have bits of it "disappear" only to have it turn up in Russia or China at about the same time as said official decided to retire early and withdraw to his newly purchased mansion...

Re:Hardly secret or surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048770)

The reporting I've read indicates that everyone recognized the stealthy features so quickly because they are based on, or similar to, those of the Comanche [wikipedia.org] and thus not very secret at all.

Re:Hardly secret or surprising (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048984)

If this were secret technology a second special ops team would have been dispatched to retrieve or destroy the helecopter the moment that it crashed.

Only now? (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048328)

Only now it appeared on Slashdot? And below a picture of the possible appearance of the helicopter:
http://cencio4.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/stealth-black-hawk-down-revised-sketch/ [wordpress.com]

Re:Only now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048588)

Of course if they had the door open like in the picture it'd totally negate any stealth capability.

Re:Only now? (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048686)

Read the source blog... The artist drew the door open, but it is obvious that in flight it would be closed (the blog author also makes this observation in the comments)

Cutting edge (5, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048332)

The key factor is that this mission was so important - even the President was personally involved in its planned - that the very best, most advanced technology available would have been employed. If there are secret helicopters and eavesdropping equipment and spy gadgets, then they would have been employed for this. I think the design (5 blade), material and aerodynamic shape of the tail rotors would be the biggest thing up for grabs after this incident. It also makes me wonder if China, Russia, etc, have their act together enough to quickly place buyers in Pakistan to purchase whatever photos, or even actual pieces of the wreckage, they can. One thing is for sure, China and Russia are very good at reverse engineering.

Re:Cutting edge (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048674)

If so, it will be a good thing for this tech to end up with China and Russia just to balance out the power a little bit. USA spends more on its military than most every other country combined, and so pushes everyone else around. Their bullying can only be countered by others having the same kinds of technologies.

Already China is making a new stealth plane and Russia is making a plane like the F-22. This will help the security of the world if American isn't so able to throw around the weight and get in everybody's face all the time.

Re:Cutting edge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048890)

"the very best, most advanced technology available would have been employed."

I agree 100% which is why I find it amusing that people are all up in arms about "let us see the picture of Osama dead!" Yeah...ok....but what about the video footage of the compound, raid, and execution. Oh the seals didn't wear cameras for this op? Right.

Re:Cutting edge (4, Interesting)

dcherryholmes (1322535) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048934)

I'm not expert in this stuff, but I did do some time on submarines and participated in refueling overhauls and decommissions. When the sub is in drydock the screw is kept covered with a tarp at all times, lest somebody just see the shape of it and glean anti-cavitation tech. So it is plausible to me that just seeing the shape of one of the rotors would be significant.

Re:Cutting edge (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048946)

One thing is for sure, China and Russia are very good at reverse engineering.

[citation needed]

They've only shown themselves able to make shoddy knockoffs of anything they don't steal/buy the plans for.
I would go so far as to say their reverse-engineering prowess is poor, it's their espionage prowess you have to worry about.

Plus, reverse-engineering materials is _VERY_ difficult - see: shoddy knockoffs; where the basic design matches but materials and manufacturing methods were substituted.

Re:Cutting edge (5, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048950)

The real achievement wasn't the helicopters, it was flying from their station in Afghanistan without being picked up by Pakistan's military. A lot of that had to do with know where the coverage was and the terrain combined with great flying and planning. Never underestimate the skill of those flying these machines. Flying helicopters in the dark at the levels and speeds they were moving isn't for the feint at heart.

The explosives were most likely done to break up certain shapes and destroy electronics. I doubt the materials themselves used to skin the helicopter are as important as compared to the shape of the various components of the copter.

I know what it was... (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048342)

Airwolf.

Seriously, though, what kind of "stealth" is this? It showed right up in the picture.

Re:I know what it was... (1)

Layer 3 Ninja (862455) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048378)

Well, it crashed. So, obviously it wasnt able to hide from you anymore.

Re:I know what it was... (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048926)

Airwolf would have flow through the wall, where as this chopper couldn't even fly over the wall.

Re:I know what it was... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048404)

the black one or the red one?

Re:I know what it was... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048906)

The red one obviously, that's the one with the acoustic stealth technology. This would also explain the crash - someone obviously flashed it the code to disengage the tail section.

Re:I know what it was... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048644)

clearly someone put a pistol to the tailpipe since that was the only way airwolf could be destroyed.

Re:I know what it was... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048708)

You kid, but that's actually the rumored nickname of it. [wired.com]

What exactly is the concern? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048346)

That we have a stealth helicopter or that its 'secrets' might be out there now?

Concerns are irrelevant either way. We worked on a stealth helicopter design for a while (RAH-66 [wikipedia.org] ) which failed to materialize, but it makes sense lessons learned from the project could be put to use. In regards to people knowing about it (or having access to its parts), well, if you use it in combat you might lose one, and then it's out there for everyone to see.

Re:What exactly is the concern? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048828)

I didn't realize we scrapped the Comanche. Was kinda wondering why I never saw it on the news.

Stealth Blackhawk BETA (2)

RCourtney (973307) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048372)

It must have been a Stealth Blackhawk in BETA - never seen before and bound to crash at least once.

All kidding aside, it is quite unfortunate that it's debut was the result of a crash in a country that has been known to export nifty knowledge and new technology they acquire (i.e. A.Q Kahn and nuclear weapons).

I don't understand (0)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048374)

Why they didn't follow up the raid with a B-52 strike featuring a couple of Daisy Cutters. All evidence would have been erased and the Pakis would have realised we were not amused.

Re:I don't understand (2)

Augusto (12068) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048472)

That would have killed a lot of civilians, undermining the decision to use special forces in the first place.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048514)

Why they didn't follow up the raid with a B-52 strike featuring a couple of Daisy Cutters.

In the middle of a suburban neighborhood? They were trying to eliminate a terrorist, not inspire a nation of them by killing hundreds of civilians indiscriminately.

the Pakis>

Gee, mass murder not enough for you, so you gotta throw in a racial slur as well?

Re:I don't understand (2)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048522)

Open an enormous crater in the middle of a city? This is often understood as an act of war.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048624)

Not to mention the lack of ability to confirm or deny success. What evidence would you bring forward to the american people. "We just incinerated a building we are 95% sure osama bin laden was inside", or "We have his body, DNA tested it against his sisters DNA and confirmed it was him"

Re:I don't understand (2)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048742)

Actually just sending troop into a country is an act of war; it's also considered good etiquette not to announce to the world when you do, do it.

Re:I don't understand (1)

poity (465672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048544)

Probably because there were other civilians in the compound, namely Osama bin Laden's wife and kids. Maybe the overriding motivation then was to not make people related to Osama into new martyr figures, and maybe secondary motivations are that the US doesn't want to cause unnecessary casualties, or maybe they were targets of arrest but the 2 choppers left over couldn't fit them on and the US was hoping Pakistan would arrest them and perhaps hand them over later (probably not gonna happen).

Re:I don't understand (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048970)

Probably because there were other civilians in the compound, namely Osama bin Laden's wife and kids. Maybe the overriding motivation then was to not make people related to Osama into new martyr figures, and maybe secondary motivations are that the US doesn't want to cause unnecessary casualties, or maybe they were targets of arrest but the 2 choppers left over couldn't fit them on and the US was hoping Pakistan would arrest them and perhaps hand them over later (probably not gonna happen).

Supposedly there was a plan to do it with bombs a while back, but they decided on a raid in order to (a) minimize civilian casualties, and (b) make sure there was a body to identify.

Re:I don't understand (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048582)

We are in Pakistan with cooperation, not invasion. Your idea is retarded.

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048638)

And start a nuclear war? Of course, had the ISI known about the raid, there would have been an empty compound, but the US is not going to risk going at it overtly with dead civilians.

Oh, and the heli parts? It is almost certain they are in China. Same dudes which gave Pakistan the highly enriched material to stuff in warheads in the first place.

lol stealth helicopter (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048400)

Helicopters are the opposite of stealth.

Naval Aviator: "You know how a helicopter flies?"
me: "uhh.. the main rotor, lift, drag, etc?"
Naval Aviator: "Wrong. They make so much goddamn noise the Earth gets away from them"

Re:lol stealth helicopter (2)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048748)

Noise reduction, reduction of RCS, reduction of IR ... When the enemy realizes that you're near, it is too late to react. It worked, as when the occupants of the house realized what was happening it was too late to try to escape.

Re:lol stealth helicopter (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048992)

This chopper uses the Acura noice reduction system via large loadspeakers cancelling sound waves.

So quiet.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048408)

It could only be heard by blogers with giant flyswatters

If it crashed its not stealth anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048412)

If it crashed its not stealth anymore. Problem solved.

Re:If it crashed its not stealth anymore (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048846)

If it crashed its not stealth anymore.

Nonsense, if anything it's less likely to be spotted on radar...

tweets (1)

hey (83763) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048418)

What about that guy who tweeted that the copters were shaking the windows?
http://eu.techcrunch.com/2011/05/02/heres-the-guy-who-unwittingly-live-tweeted-the-raid-on-bin-laden/ [techcrunch.com]

Re:tweets (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048506)

According to several sources were four helicopters, two of these Chinooks. Perhaps it was these two that it shook the windows

Re:tweets (1)

rayd75 (258138) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048786)

According to several sources were four helicopters, two of these Chinooks. Perhaps it was these two that it shook the windows

Exactly... It would seem likely that Chinooks were sent in only after a delay and after the Pakistani authorities knew something was amiss. By that time, the raw power and performance of the Chinooks would be far more desirable than stealth. The stealth-modified helicopters almost certainly perform more poorly than unmodified versions of the same aircraft.

Re:tweets (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048998)

Exactly... It would seem likely that Chinooks were sent in only after a delay and after the Pakistani authorities knew something was amiss.

I've been wondering whether the raid was accompanied by a preemptory "stand down (or else)" order to the Pakistanis.

That makes sense (1)

Experiment 626 (698257) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048426)

It seemed a little odd that when a helicopter broke down a quarter mile away from a supposedly allied military base, the U.S. military would blast it to pieces rather than just asking Pakistan to keep an eye on it till it could be picked up. For a random helicopter, scuttling it in nominally friendly territory is wasteful and over-the-top, but for a super secret stealth helicopter, it's quite prudent.

Re:That makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048646)

This was a black op, anything left behind is scuttled. Period.

Re:That makes sense (2)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048990)

Well Osama was found in a populated city filled with Pakistani Military and Spy agency personnel and by all indications he had been there along time. That leaves a few possibilities :

1. The Pakistanis are completely incompetent at security, and therefore could not be trusted to protect our bird.
2. The Pakistani Government knew where Osama was and was protecting him from us, they are therefore not actually or allies but an enemy who has been playing us, and therefore could not be trusted to protect our bird. The jury is still out.
3. Parts of the Pakistani Government and or Military leadership are disloyal and were protecting Osama from the rest of the government and us. From and operation standpoint we can't know who can and cannot be trusted therefore none can be trusted, and we had to scuttle the bird.

 

Since the USA = Nazi Germany... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048450)

Seeing the behavior of the US government in the last decade, I really hope secret stealth technology is in fact discovered. We simply can't let a country have too much of an advantage, especially a country that proves every day that it believes human rights mean nothing, allies are people to spy on and wars can be started against anyone for any reason.

Seriously, we should even force the USA to get rid of all it's nuclear technology at this point. There's a massive Genocide in Iraq (100k dead Iraqis), Obama thinks he can have people assassinated without a trial, the police no longer respects people's rights and privacy and judges give them that power constantly... The USA is the biggest threat to the Western World.

Why is it that the USA develops military technology that can only be used against military enemis, such as railguns, when today the only people who'd attack the USA are guerillas and terrorists? Because the USA plans to conquer more territory, or at least wants to keep this option open.

Re:Since the USA = Nazi Germany... (0)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048488)

Or more likely the military cares about the peoplle who might attack the USA tomorrow as well.

Re:Since the USA = Nazi Germany... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048834)

And emerging within this new vacuum of power is... perfect utopia.

it will be retrieved (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048478)

seal team 6 is going back in to assassinate whoever has the parts and taking them back

Re:it will be retrieved (2)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#36049020)

seal team 6 is going back in to assassinate whoever has the parts and taking them back

Or maybe Apple's lawyers.

You mean one can make helicopters less noisy? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048510)

Then why the hell isn't this a general requirement? Aircraft create noise that affects many people and if there are ways to make quieter aircraft, they should be mandatory.

Re:You mean one can make helicopters less noisy? (1)

AF_Cheddar_Head (1186601) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048614)

Well, usually making a helicopter quieter reduces its performance. Possibly why this one had problems.

Re:You mean one can make helicopters less noisy? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048630)

Sure, if you want to be the one to pay for it... Quiet doesn't come cheap.

Re:You mean one can make helicopters less noisy? (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048762)

If people could do it, they would. Noise is wasted energy. Wasted energy is greater fuel consumption.

The trade off making it quieter is presumably that you get less thrust to move the chopper around with. There are suggestions that this lack of manoeuvrability is what caused the crash in the first place.

Why all the worry? (2)

bradgoodman (964302) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048640)

Our good friends and allies, the Pakistanis, are just going to give us back the helicopter, and protect it's secrets from our enemies... right?

Re:Why all the worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048936)

"Our good friends and allies, the Pakistanis, are just going to give us back the helicopter, and protect it's secrets from our enemies... right?"

And if you're lucky they might even teach you the correct usage of the apostrophe.

( hint : "it's" is incorrect in your sentence above, you dumb fuck )

Re:Why all the worry? (1)

VirginMary (123020) | more than 3 years ago | (#36049008)

"and protect it is secrets" What does that even mean?

Re:Why all the worry? (2)

Xelios (822510) | more than 3 years ago | (#36049018)

Look at it from their perspective, 'good friends and allies' don't launch covert military operations into your country without at least informing you first. Maybe the US had good reasons not to, but it's not very fair to pull something like this then turn around and point fingers when the operation doesn't go quite as planned.

the bigger puzzle (2)

catmistake (814204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048760)

How did they fit 24 commandos, 4 pilots, a dog, a body, and retrieved materials into the remaining stealth Blackhawk? Did the military developed stealth midget commandos for this mission?

Re:the bigger puzzle (3, Informative)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048848)

Two Chinook helicopters followed the two stealth helicopters. This was intended so that the SEALs could make a ground escape if necessary (to be picked up nearby).

One or both of those likely picked up the other SEALs.

Re:the bigger puzzle (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048888)

Two Chinook helicopters followed the two stealth helicopters. This was intended so that the SEALs could make a ground escape if necessary (to be picked up nearby).

One or both of those likely picked up the other SEALs.

Thanks. hmm... then why didn't the Pakistanis shoot down the Chinooks? Got a link?

Re:the bigger puzzle (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048878)

How did they fit 24 commandos, 4 pilots, a dog, a body, and retrieved materials into the remaining stealth Blackhawk? Did the military developed stealth midget commandos for this mission?

See comment 36048786 [slashdot.org]

Stealth in, Chinooks out (3, Informative)

raehl (609729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048916)

Two stealth helicopters got them in; they had two helicopters in reserve to get them out.

creepy and exciting tech (4, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048806)

The first time I heard about this whole mission, I thought, whoah, American helicopters managed to fly 150 km into Pakistan without being noticed? Pakistan isn't a slouch when it comes to military equipment: they've fought several wars with India, and are used to trying to track some of the finest military hardware in the world. Yet two helicopters flew in, invisibly. It sounds like they were supported by two Chinooks, that came in a bit later, and those *were* seen by the Pakistani air defense, but the first group in weren't seen. A lot of other countries are going to want to figure out how we did this.

There have been a lot of US projects in making low-observable helicopters, from the modified Hughes OH6 Loach [wikipedia.org] used to surreptitiously place wiretaps on lines during Vietnam, that also used increased numbers of blades, and the cancelled RAH-66 Comanche [wikipedia.org] , that was supposed to be quiet and have a vastly reduced radar signature. The ones used Monday are probably Blackhawks modified based on the stuff learned from the Comanche, but they could be completely new aircraft: the descriptions of the amount of personnel and material taken in are at the very edge of what two stock Blackhawks could carry, and adding lots of stealth technology adds a *lot* of weight.

Among other interesting things I've read and observed: the stock Blackhawk is manufactured with sheets of aluminum riveted together along the edges, like most planes. The pictures show rivetless construction, and in one picture it looks like there's a long weld seam that appears to have been done by hand rather than machine, making me think there are a very small number of prototypes of this. I also saw a link somewhere, that I can't find now, to a press release by a company who was adding small servos into the collector linkages that added continuous slight variance to the blade angle, to minimize noise by distributing it across different frequencies, which seems pretty cool. I've even seen a few claims that the whole aircraft was covered in material that could emit low levels of light, to blend it visually against a lighted sky (a technique used back in WWII by putting headlights on the leading edges of aircraft wings so that they could dive-bomb submarines without being seen until it was too late for the sub to dive [tripod.com] . This was distinct from the british Leigh lights, that were used in after-dark attacks along with radar.)

I'm betting a whole lot of people are bidding on the wreckage that was recovered -- which is, itself, surprising, at least to me, because it sounds like the commandoes were able to completely destroy the whole main fuselage, leaving just the tail. Under the hurried circumstances that's pretty surprising. (I wouldn't be surprised to find out they actually hooked it to one of the Chinooks and dragged it out along with them.)

It was a intentionally planted! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048870)

You fools! You are all falling for the misdirection of the spooks! This supposedly crashed helicopter was really just a brilliantly cunning move in spreading disinformation. The helicopter was built with sub-optimal stealth technologies and then intentionally ditched and left behind in order to trick our adversaries into thinking they were getting a look at the bleeding edge of US military technology. These "stealth" modifications actually make the vehicle louder and give it a greater radar signature! If the Chinese reverse engineer it to build their own systems, they will have fallen into our trap. USA! USA!

Intriguing but not so secret (1)

kjellmaster 9000 (2119242) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048880)

It looks like the helicopter is a Blackhawk retrofitted with stealth components from the Commanche program. The Commanche program was quite public and nearly two years away from completion before it was cancelled. The technology has been around for a while, I just think it's crazy that they strapped America's flying cow with super sexy stealth technology.

Uhhhhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048900)

If any one rtfa and viewed the slide show, you'd see that the US military came back and destroyed what was left of the wreckage of the helicopter, if that tail section was important I dont think they would of left it so intact.

um... (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048902)

Since this guy and his friends could hear the whole thing from several kilometers away, I doubt it was stealth at all... If it was, it sucked.

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110501/23343014105/interesting-world-man-unwittingly-live-tweets-raid-that-killed-osama-bin-laden.shtml

What if the helicopter hadn't crashed? (3, Interesting)

NimbleSquirrel (587564) | more than 3 years ago | (#36048942)

I wonder if the world would have heard of this event if that helicopter hadn't have crashed. When that helicopter crashed and left a section of somewhat identifiable wreckage, the US lost capability for plausible denial. They had to tell the world.

I also have to wonder if, given the number of helicopters (two modified Black Hawks and two Chinooks), the original mission was just a capture mission. With this kind of carrying capacity, they could have removed everyone in the compound that wasn't killed in the initial raid. They would have landed the SEAL team first with the stealth Black Hawks, pulled out the Black Hawks and then followed that up a while later with a Chinook or two to pull out captives and the SEAL team. With no-one alive in the compound, the US would have had some degree of plausible deniability. On top of that, they'd have a large number of presumably senior al-Quaeda members to interrogate.

Instead, the crashed helicopter would have taken out a large chunk of the LZ (leaving no landing space for a Chinook), it would have taken up crew to dispose of the wreckage and tend to any wounded from the crash. Combine this with an already limited timeframe and being stuck with only one aircraft to remove the SEAL team and Bin Laden, and this may have suddenly become a kill mission.

Don't believe everything you read (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048952)

It wasn't an MH-60. It was a SH-60. The tail is hinged so it can be stowed easily aboard an aircraft carrier.

There were no stealth features. The mission to run it the previous night was CANCELLED because of clear skies. Stealth helicopters don't care about clear skies.

The helicopter was SHOT DOWN BY AN RPG. RPGs don't hit stealth helicopters.

The SEAL team blew up the avionics and control systems but left the superstructure there. Stealth helicopters get airlifted by any of the two CH-47s that were providing cover.

Other than Airwolf and Blue Thunder, helicopters are big things with a main-rotor that moves lots of air, makes lots of noise, and is not invisible to RADAR. They have bodies suspended underneath that main-rotor that are not invisible to RADAR. (Kudos to Josh for pointing out these two helicopters... )

I appreciate that the US media would like to pretend there's some magic stealth helicopter (it was painted black... does that count?) but there isn't.

I hold a rotorcraft license.
I've studied helicopters for decades.
I'm familiar with the difference between an MH-60 and an SH-60 and a UH-60. (Hint: they are all version of Sikorsky S-70, and commonly are called Blackhawks or in the SH-60 case Seahawks).
I am not currently in the employ of any US military agency nor a contractor.

E

Stealth Secrets Revealed HERE +1, Fun (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36048974)

in this highly UNCLASSIFIED book titled Physical Theory of Diffraction [amazon.com] .

Cheers.

Yours In Novosibirsk,
K. Trout

quasi-public already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36049032)

Has anyone bothered to search /. or even check back-issues of Popular Mechanics? I feel like I've seen this design somewhere before...

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