Analysts Abuzz About Stealth Choppers in bin Laden Raid

Thursday, 05 May 2011 03:33 PM

By Martin Gould

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The success of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden lay in large part to a super-secret, highly modified “stealth” helicopter that never had been used in an operation before. That is why the Navy SEALs team that killed the terror leader took such pains to destroy the chopper that hit a wall and could not fly out of bin Laden’s Abbotabad compound, ABC News reports.

The SEALs blew up nearly all of the crashed multimillion-dollar craft — believed to be a modified H-60 Blackhawk — but part of the tail landed outside bin Laden’s compound and was photographed later .

stealth, helicopter, bin laden
Part of the destroyed stealth chopper landed just outside Osama bin Laden's lair. (Getty Images Photo)
Those photos have “sent military analysts buzzing about a stealth helicopter program that was only rumored to exist,” ABC says. A modified tail boom and a noise-reducing covering on the rear rotors show something that has never been seen before, said Dan Goure, a former Department of Defense official who is vice president of the Lexington Institute.


"You wouldn't know that it was coming right at you,” Goure said. “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."


Stealth aircraft are designed to be quieter and to be far less conspicuous than their regular counterparts. They are also made to avoid radar. The Pakistanis did not pick up the incoming craft and bin Laden’s neighbors say they did not hear them coming.


Pentagon officials told ABC they would “absolutely not” comment on anything relating to the destroyed helicopter.


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