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Navy SEALs used ‘secret’ stealth helicopter in Bin Laden raid

Navy-SEAL-secret-stealth-helicopterThe US Navy’s super-covert black ops crew, SEAL Team Six, used a pair of secret stealth Black Hawk helicopters during its mission to take out terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, the Army Times reports.

According to an unnamed retired special operations aviator who spoke with the Army Times, the secret chopper “really didn’t look like a traditional Black Hawk.” Instead, it had “hard edges, sort of like an … F-117 [stealth bomber], you know how they have those distinctive edges and angles — that’s what they had on this one.” The design is speculated to have been used for radar-evading purposes.

After the crash of one of the helicopters during the raid, the SEAL operatives reportedly destroyed the top-secret aircraft, probably using thermite grenades, but left parts of the machine, including the tail and rear rotor blades (pictured above), at Bin Laden’s Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound. A cache of photos of the wrecked mysterious aircraft landed online late Wednesday, and provide additional details of the high-tech military machinery — most notably the fact that it did not resemble officially acknowledged military aircraft.

The helicopter may have crashed because of a complication known as “settling with power,” which causes the aircraft to quickly drop in altitude due to an inability to get enough lift from the turbulent air created by the spinning blades’ downwash. According to the former special ops pilot, however, the wreck may have been due to added weight of the modification parts that were added to reduce the aircraft’s radar detectability. “It’s hard to settle with power in a Black Hawk, but then again, if they were using one of these [low-observable helicopters], working at max gross weight, it’s certainly plausible that they could have because they would have been flying so heavy,” he said.

Because only the tail section of the aircraft was recovered after the crash, aviation enthusiasts have had to resort to creating their own interpretations of what the secret chopper might look like. Check out some of those artist renderings here.