The Ghosthawk?

For us hardware afficianados, one of the interesting bits to come out of the raid on Bin Laden’s compound was the disclosure of a new (to us, anyway) stealthy helicopter.

When the SEALs torched the helo that had a hard landing, the tailboom was left sitting on the far side of the compound wall, and it is different from any tailboom we’ve seen in the inventory.

Bill T at the Castle, a very, VERY experienced helo pilot leads a discussion of some of the challenges in trying to make a helicopter stealthy.

Lex has his take on it as well.

Despite all the hoo-hah you see in the movies, while Special Operations Forces can parachute in, they almost always prefer to arrive by helo.  But choppers have large radar signatures, usually have fairly large infrared signatures, and the damn things are noisy. In this case, it looks like the Army has taken some steps to reduce those signatures. I can’t say for sure, but the gist of the opinion out there is that the bird was a highly modified version of the MH-60 series Blackhawk helicopter.

Army Times has a very interesting article by a supposed insider. 

Was the raid on Bin Laden worth the risk of compromising a previously unknown asset?

You bet.

4 thoughts on “The Ghosthawk?”

  1. 1960’s era Pulse and Continuous Wave radars both had a very distinctive return from the main rotor of any heliocopter. As long as the rotor is a very big radar target, you cannot be very stealthy.

  2. I’m wondering if the blades might be of some composite material. If there is no metal in them, radar return drops precipitously.

    Bill is of the opinion that power with settling is a rookie’s mistake and I agree with him, I for no other reason that he should certainly know. Still, that might have happened as mistakes do happen to the best, and I’m of the opinion the 160th has the best pilots they can get. Still, I think the pilot at the controls on approach clipped things a bit close and tried landing too close to the wall and got snakebit for it.

    Still, all in all, a good op and we all know there is no such thing as a perfect op. They called in a MH-47 and got everybody out.

  3. The people that know the answers you seek any talking anytime soon. I’m sure we will find out eventually.

    Settling with power may be a rookie mistake but stranger things have happened…and given the secret design, just how much flight time do you think they get on that thing? Just sayin.

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