US’ Osama mission chopper may land in Chinese hands

One of the helicopters used by US Navy SEALs in Abbottabad operation had crash landed, forcing the Americans to leave the wreckage behind..

Updated: May 12, 2011, 08:40 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Americans have got “their man” from Abbottabad but still are a worried lot. Pakistan, despite their opposition, may give China access to the wreckage of their never-seen-before stealth helicopter that had crash landed during the operation on Osama bin Laden’s compound on May 2.

US Navy SEALs had managed to destroy all but a tail section of the chopper and its pictures are being closely examined by aviation experts around the world, with many of them claiming that it is an entirely new helicopter design, custom made to have minimal radar footprint.

As per reports, Wednesday, given their all-weather friendship, Pakistan will allow a “very interested” Chinese to take a look at the downed chopper that the US used to maximize the element of surprise while conducting the special operation.

For the record, CIA Director Leon Panetta and other officials have said that Blackhawk helicopters were used in the operation but not everybody is convinced.

The closet guess is that the choppers are a modified version of M-60 Blackhawks with radar-evading, noise and heat suppression capabilities - something that was put to use as it slipped across the Afghan-Pakistan border undetected by Pakistani air defense system.

Of what remains of the chopper that crashed and was eventually destroyed by the US team, the most intriguing design aspect has been the use of extra blades in the tail rotor and placement of a hubcap-like cover on the rotor – something that’s a completely new concept in helicopter design.

The five-blade tail rotor could possibly allow for a slower rotor speed to reduce noise, while cover on the rotor and the design lines would presumably be aimed at circumventing radar similar to what is said to be in use in the F-117 fighter planes.

On one hand the US wants the wreckage back at all costs, on the other, stories are being floated that the technology used in the helicopter is nothing shrouded in secrecy but is something available in open literature.

The Pentagon declined to comment in any way on the secret helicopter but the fact remains that the biggest secret behind the stealth helicopter is simply that it existed.