Sunday, 8 May 2011

China, Pakistan, and reverse engineering the stealth helicopter

An interesting fact that has emerged from last week's mission to kill Osama Bin Laden is that the US reportedly used a 'stealthed' version of its Blackhawk helicopter to avoid detection whilst carrying out the operation. This, of course, became known only as a result of one of the helicopters being destroyed during the raid, and fragments of it and the special coating used to baffle radar detection are now in Pakistani hands.

Of course, it may well be that Pakistan simply hands these fragments back to the US, but given past Chinese efforts to reverse engineer US stealth technology, of which I heard evidence first hand, it also seems very possible that some of this material will end up going to China. However, logically speaking, for reverse engineering to have been taking place in 2003, samples of earlier examples of this technology must already be in Chinese hands - perhaps as a result of the shooting down of an F-117 during the Kosovo campaign. It therefore seems that at worst this will give access to newer versions of the same technology.

[Picture: The canopy, ejector seat, helmet, and survival gear recovered from the crash-site of F-117A AF ser. no. 82-0806 "Something Wicked", shot down over Yugoslavia on the 27th of March 1999, on display in the Museum of Aviation, Belgrade. Via Wikicommons]


justrecently said...

I'd think that the US still formally treat Pakistan as an ally, because that makes operations on its soil (drone killings, or the one against bin-Laden) much easier. Sooner or later (probably rather soon), that friendly backdrop will implode.

Pakistan's leaders are divided, insecure, and many of them mad at the American operations. It should only be a short way to Beijing.

I guess all the American intelligence agencies will need to do is to stay up-to-date with the Indian press. They'll be happy to deliver every bit of information, as well as rumors. ;-)

NiubiCowboy said...

David Axe over at War is Boring had some interesting things to say about the stealth chopper's secrets:

He basically argued that the technology to make helicopters stealthy is pretty well-known and that the only secret really being revealed is that the US is in possession of helicopters in which the tech is fully implemented.


Anonymous said...

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