by Florian Flade
About 450 miles – that is the distance between the Afghan City of Jalalabad where a team of the top secret US special forces Navy Seals Team Six started their mission last Sunday night, and their target destination, the Pakistani city of Abbottabad.
How could several US helicopters carrying the elite troops which killed Al-Qaida leader Osama Bin Laden, cross the border into Pakistan and then even advance to a city just 30 miles north of the capital Islamabad and which is known as a Pakistani military garrison, without being detected by Pakistani border defense or air defense?
The answer to that question to how the US was able to conduct a secret military operation deep inside Pakistani territory without notifying the Pakistani authorities prior to the raid might lay in the backyard of the Bin Laden mansion. A helicopter that took part in the Navy Seals operations hit a wall and crashed due to technical failure. It was destroyed by the soldiers after the raid and left behind.
Days after the Bin Laden killing images of the helicopter wreckage appeared on the internet. They show parts of a previously unknown helicopter type, a new aircraft some call a „stealth chopper“. The helicopter parts which were picked up by the Pakistani military for further examination indicate the transport helicopter used by the Special Forces was not the usual UH-60 Black Hawk widely for its constant use in conflict zones like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The tail rotor of the American helicopter found in Abbottabad, which seems to be equipped with a cover, bears some hallmarks of a possible secret aircraft not known to the public. Experts agree the helicopter could indeed a modified version of the UH-60 Black Hawk named „Stealth Black Hawk“.
A helicopter that is simply avoiding being detected by radar systems could explain why Operation „Geronimo“ took place without Pakistanis interfering or even detecting the helicopters entering Pakistani airspace.
Even though getting hold of Osama Bin Laden´s corpse was more important to the US commando than retrieving the crashed helicopter, the US government has all reason to worry about the blow to the secret of the existence of the stealth helicopter. Pakistan will investigate what type of aircraft violated its border line and made its way into a military packed city without being noticed. There is the danger the stealth technology might fall into the hands of other countries.