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An interesting combat chopper profile officially cleared for publication: MH-60S Armed Helo On May 3, 2011, in the aftermath of the Osama Bin Laden raid that disclosed the existence of a stealth helicopter based on the UH-60 Black Hawk, Ive started thinking about the secret chopper used to carry the Navy SEALs to Abbottabad. Which noise reduction technologies does the chopper embed? Which upgrades render it radar-evading? The answer to these questions can be found in the digital mock up of the Stealth Black Hawk that has become so widely known in books, documentaries and videogames to be considered almost official rather than fictional. Unfortunately, even if since May Ive received hundred alternative sketches and comments about the stealth helicopter (known also as Silent Hawk or MH-X, with the latter being a fake designation) and Ive also learned of a low cost stealth retrofit for obsolete choppers, Ive never had any evidence that the shape that Ive hypothesized with Ugo Crisponi is really anywhere near the actual one. Hence, Im particularly glad to publish a rendering of an existing somehow rare weapon system based on the MH-60S helicopter, designated Armed Helo (and not Knighthawk or Seahawk as sometimes referred to), officially cleared for publication by the U.S. Navy. Therefore an exact copy of the MH-60S BuNo.167818 armed with 8 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, 2 cal. 50 and 2 FN machine guns.
The Armed Helo Mission Kit, provides the base MH-60S with the capability to extend the HH-60H Seahawks typical Combat Search and Rescue/Personnel Recovery (CSAR/PR) role with Special Warfare Support (SOF), Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO), Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Operations (ISR), and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW) missions. The one depicted in the rendering is dubbed Dark Knight and belongs to the HSC-22 a squadron providing helicopter detachments for Littoral Combat Ships, Amphibious Ready Groups and Combat Logistic Ships, and able to perform wide variety of missions: Naval Special Warfare, Amphibious Search and Rescue, Theater Security Cooperation, Strike Coordination and Reconnaissance, Anti-Surface Warfare, Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and Utility missions in support of the Fleet and National Defense.
Updated: Mysterious Stealth Helicopter photographed in California is a retrofitted obsolete chopper turned into gunship Helikopter Hysterie blogs editor Axel M. Vollmer, who posted my Stealth Black Hawk digital mock up in May, has recently taken the following pictures of amysterious Stealth Helicopter sitting out in the open at Torrance Airport / Zamperini field, home of Robinson Helicopters, in California.
Although Alex wonders whether he has stumbled upon a next-gen US military helicopter or has just seen a new experimental chopper, he admits that the black helo parked at Torrance airport must be some kind of fake stealth used for a movie. Obviously, I dont think the above chopper has anything in common with the Stealth Black Hawk involved in the Osama Bin Laden raid either. It hasnt anything youd expect in a real stealthy chopper: rotor shape, type of blades, noise reduction covers, etc. (without considering that unrealistic AIM-9L Sidewinder carried on the right wing.). Furthermore, not even it would be sitting without armed guards in case of an emergency landing. However Id be curious to know if anybody know something more about this helicopter or is able to understand which basic model was so heavily modified and for what purpose (movie, documentary, TV drama series, ). Update: thanks to Thorsten, a visitor of this site, Ive discovered that the above aircraft is a derivative of the American Aircraft Penetrator, a proposed gunship conversion of the famous Bell UH-1 Huey, whose name is Stealth Star. According to the official website the Stealth Star is the result of a retrofit of an existing helicopter performed by AEROCRAFT Corp under AEROCRAFT Strategic Advantage Program (ASAP).
AEROCRAFT mission seems to be addressed to government agencies rather than private owners: Countries must now defend themselves against the growing threats of small-scale conflicts. These elusive threats, from terrorism to border incursion, drug wars and insurgency, have forced the defense to take the high ground. And the best weapons for this new battlefield is specialized, highly advanced helicopters, designed to penetrate the new combat arena and withstand small arms fire. Many government agencies cannot compete effectively in this new combat arena because their Vietnam-vintage helicopters are too old. These helicopters share obsolescence, redundancy, and poor aerodynamics, ballistics vulnerability and often carry outmoded weaponry. Aluminum exteriors and blind spots make them vulnerable to small arms attack. The high heat signature from the helicopters turbo shaft is an easy target for heat seeking ground missiles. History has shown that 90% of helicopters were downed by small arms fire and 80% of these never saw their attacker. The cost of purchasing new, advanced helicopter systems is astronomical. And the process can take years of negotiation. AEROCRAFT can help you eliminate these obstacles. [...] Through ASAP, an existing helicopter can be reconfigured into a powerful Penetrator gunship within 18 months. This is a significantly shorter time frame than the three to fiveyear schedule required purchasing a new helicopter. And, depending on the options required, up to three Penetrator gun ships could be purchased for the cost of one new helicopter.
Dealing with the tech embedded in this alleged stealth chopper: A KEVLAR all-composite monococque exterior provides ten times the ballistic resiliency of aluminum. The high-visibility cockpit design improves peripheral sight and eliminates blind spots. A heat-suppressing device on the turbo shaft brings the heat signature below the threshold of heat-seeking missiles. The engine is isolated for increased survivability. Fifty caliber machine guns are stored inside. And, new sophisticated aerodynamics are unmatched by any other Western helicopter. So, provided that you trust AEROCRAFT Corp. and their ability to modify an helicopter without affecting its airworthiness and flight safety, maybe you can turn your chopper into a real () gunship.
Stealth Helicopters MH-X designation comes from a temporary filename on this computer Although its hard to believe, Im almost sure that the Stealth Black Hawk that crashed during the Osama Bin Laden raid has never been officially or unofficially named MH-X. Still, if you google MH-X youll find thousands articles that give it as the designation of the Stealth chopper project. Even the prestiogious GlobalSecurity.org has a page dedicated to the MH-X: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/aircraft/mh-x.htm So, hows this weird designation become so widely known? Simple: it was derived from the file name I and Ugo gave to very first version of the rendering of the Black Helicopter. We named it MH-X because we thought it was an upgraded MH-60 but since we didnt know which could be the exact designation we used the X meaning a mysterious number. So all the files with the renderings of the helicopter that Ive uploaded to this website were all named mh-x.jpg or mhx-2B.jpg or mhx-2011 (sometimes with numbers used to identify the different revision: for example mh-x3.jpg, mh-x4.jpg, mh-x4 new2, etc.). Noteworthy, even for the artwork prepared for AviationGraphic.com website we used the designation MH-X even if it was clearly fictional!
By the way, the last one is named MH-X-2011_I and, unlike the F-35I, the I suffix doesnt identify any special version developed for Israel. Hence, unless some of my readers will be able to prove that the MH-X project existed before we used it (in fact, I cant completely rule out the possibility that we used the correct designation by accident) Im becoming increasingly convinced I should write it MH-X :)
In the meanwhile, since you may be interested, heres the story of the MH-X concept since the beginning.
Pakistan let China examine Stealth Black Hawk helicopter: so what? On Aug. 14, the Financial Times and the NYT, followed by other media all around the world, published the news that in the days after Operation Neptunes Spear Pakistans intelligence gave China the opportunity to examine the remains of the Stealth Black Hawk that crash landed during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Is this really a front page news? In my opinion, it is not, as it was quite predictable. We have already seen videos and pictures of chunks of the top secret radar-evading helicopter, being moved from the Bin Ladens compound at Abbottabad. Not only the tail rotor section, that had remained almost intact and whose shape indicated that the one involved in the incident was not a common MH-60, but even smaller parts, like the one collected by Adam Roberts of the Economist on May 3, 2011, that had also a Part Number on it.
Furthermore, China is Pakistans main military equipment supplier and ties among both nations are extremely tough and, to let things even simpler, Islamabad has never accepted that the US carried out the raid without Pakistans prior approval. Thats why, ironically, on May 31 I wrote a blog post titled China has already reverseengineered the Stealth Black Hawk. Hence, it was quite obvious that Chinese would soon be able to have parts of the Stealth technology used to make a Silent Black Hawk. How long does it take for China to have its chopper capable to elude radar? Not so much. Most probably, one or two years, considering the number of Stealth fighters being developed by Beijing and the ability of Chinese engineers to copy classified Western technologies. However, a big help could come also from the US. An interesting freely available document, issued in 1978 by Sikorsky Aircraft Division for the US A