June 28, 2013

Army Role in Killing Osama bin Laden

What role did the U.S. Army play in the mission to kill Osama bin Laden?


While no one will dispute that it was the U.S. Navy SEALs that did the killshot, specifically the mythical Navy SEAL Team Six, you can argue that the Army played a significant role in the mission to kill bin Laden.

See, it was the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, also known as the ‘Night Stalkers’, that flew the helicopters in the mission.

President Obama met with the members of the 160th today to congratulate them on a job well done.

The Army helicopter pilots from the 160th, based out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, flew 2 MH-47 Chinooks, known as heavy lifters in the mission, which has not been widely covered so far, in addition to two UH-60 Sikorsky Blackhawk helicopters.

One of the Blackhawks crashed on arrival due to an unknown mechanical failure and was destroyed by the departing team of special ops forces in order to not leave any of it behind.  A large section of the tail of the destroyed Blackhawk survived, and photos of it show a heavily modified version of the UH-60 Blackhawk tail – or possibly the tail of an altogether new and different helicopter which many speculate is a stealth Blackhawk, or a hybrid of a Blackhawk and a RAH-66 Comanche, a stealth helicopter project that was cancelled in 2004.

Stealth Blackhawk Helicopter

Army helicopter pilots play a crucial role in mission to kill Osama bin Laden. Stealth Blackhawk helicopter mockup next to UH-60 Blackhawk. Image credit: David Cencio @ cencio4.wordpress.com and Ugo Crisponi @ www.aviationgraphic.com.

Whatever the helicopter is, it is clear that it has been a secret until now – and provided an important factor in the success of this operation since it was able to allow our forces to slip in undetected.

Wait a second!  Everyone is talking about stealth Blackhawks, but there had to have been stealth MH-47 Chinooks in the mix, too!  You just don’t fly 2 stealth helicopters alongside 2 noisy ones…

Image Credits: David Cencio and Ugo Crisponi at Aviation Graphic.


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