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The Mystery of the Stealth Black Hawk Helicopter

By Bill Carson  |  May 13, 2022

At Cutting Dynamics, due to the parts and services we provide, we’re well-acquainted with the Black Hawk helicopter, and in our news section we’ve discussed how the Black Hawk is used for disaster assistance, rescue missions, military operations, and more.

One Black Hawk topic we haven’t touched on before, however, is the helicopter’s stealth model. The Stealth Black Hawk helicopter is believed to be a modified version of the original Black Hawk helicopter, although little is officially known about the military’s secret Stealth Black Hawk.

In 2011, the Stealth Black Hawk famously crashed during the raid that resulted in the death of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. The tail of the Stealth Black Hawk helicopter survived the crash, making the chopper identifiable through tail modifications as a new model of the Black Hawk.

Stealth Black Hawk Helicopter Modifications

The Stealth Black Hawks used in the Bin Laden raid are said to be based on the special ops MH-60 airframe. In the rare photos taken of the Stealth Black Hawk helicopter, it appears to be an intensely modified version of a Sikorsky UH-60A or an UH-60L model, although the wreckage of the tail section bears no resemblance to those models.

Both the UH-60A and the UH-60L are equipped with versions of the AN/ALQ-151 Quick Fix System which has electronic warfare jamming capabilities, as well as the ability to intercept electronic emissions and locate the source of said emissions.

Each model sports four dipole antennas with two on each side of the tail boom. The UH-60A is fitted with a retractable whip antenna while the UH-60L has a larger, more robust antenna system.

Some of the modifications believed to have been made to produce the Stealth Black Hawk helicopter were done to improve radar signature reduction and to limit the weight of the helicopter. It also appears that in the released photo of the Stealth Black Hawk helicopter that the engine intake and exhaust fairing have been modified from an original UH-60 to reduce the radar reflectivity of the aircraft.

It remains unknown whether the modifications for the Stealth Black Hawk helicopter are permanent or temporary mods. A modification kit that can be added or removed as necessary could help prevent exposure of capabilities.

The Benefit of the Stealth Black Hawk Helicopter

According to current information available, the Stealth Black Hawk helicopter was indeed built from an MH-60 base. However, it appears that a more permanent specialized outer composite body was built for the Stealth Black Hawk.

At the time of the 2011 raid, Operation Neptune Spear, Stealth Black Hawks were a well-kept secret – a secret that likely would have remained with the military if the crash hadn’t occurred. Even then, definitive data on the design and capability of the Stealth Black Hawk helicopter is scarce.

Robert O’Neil, a leader in Operation Neptune Spear, described his first sight of the Stealth Black Hawk prior to the raid:

“When we got to Nevada a few days later, where the team trained on another full-scale compound model, but this one crudely fashioned from shipping containers, we turned the corner, saw the helos we’d actually use, and I started laughing. I told the guys, “The odds just changed. There’s a 90 percent chance we’ll survive.”

O’Neil additionally referred to the helicopter as a “Decepticon.” Based upon the success of the operation and its capabilities, the Stealth Black Hawk helicopter was and continues to be a highly regarded military aircraft.

Spare Parts for the UH-60 Black Hawk and Other Services

Just as modifications and spare parts were integral in the production and maintenance of the Stealth Black Hawk helicopter, parts and maintenance are fundamental in the upkeep of all Black Hawks.

At Cutting Dynamics, we offer UH-60 Black Hawk spare parts and kitting. We can provide you with UH-60 spare parts for the following:

  • Cockpit (Zone 1)
  • Cabin (Zone 2)
  • Tail rotor pylon (Zone 5)
  • Transition (Zone 3)
  • Tail cone (Zone 4)
  • Main rotor pylon (Zone 6)

We are both AS9100 and ISO 9001 certified and are proud to offer our parts from a qualified team of experts. Our team is also able to provide an array of additional services for your aerospace needs, including:

  • Assembly
  • Blanking
  • Composites
  • Engineering
  • FEA
  • Forming
  • Heat treating
  • Hot forming of titanium
  • Hydroforming
  • Packaging
  • Plating
  • Thermoplastic composites

If you’re searching for a dedicated team to supply you with vital aerospace services, Cutting Dynamics is your resource.

Want to Learn More?

Our team at Re:Build Cutting Dynamics wants to ensure that all your questions regarding Patriot missile systems, our product line, and beyond have been answered. With that in mind, feel free to contact us today with any questions you may have, as we look forward to assisting you.