IMAGES: Stealth choppers used exclusively for Osama hunt!
One of the secret choppers was disabled during the raid by the SEALs, blowing it up in an apparent bid to ensure that the forntline technology did not fall into non-US hands, US media reports said.
The secret choppers have been kept under wraps by Pentagon and their use for the key mission suggests that the American military planners did not want to take any chances in the high-risk raid.
Pentagon officials are still keeping mum on whether or not stealth choppers were used, but ABC News citing American aviators said that photos of what survived the explosion has sent military analysts buzzing about a stealth helicopter programme that was only rumoured to exist.
Click NEXT to read further...
Image: Part of a damaged helicopter used by US Navy SEALs lying in bin Laden's compund in Abbottabad
Secret choppers, a modified version of Sikrosky H-60 Blackhawk
The US did not warn Pakistan about the raid for fear of leaks, but the helicopters nonetheless managed to fly to the compound from their base in Afghanistan without Pakistan military seemingly being alerted.The choppers appear to have a modified tail boom to a noise reducing covering on the rear rotors and a special high-tech material similar to that used in stealth fighters.
Image: The Sikrosky H-60 Blackhawk
The bird is like nothing I have seen before: Ex-Pentagon official
In addition to the noise-reducing modifications, a former special operations aviator told The Army Times the general shape of what was left of the craft --- the harsh angles and flat surfaces more common to stealth jets -- was further evidence it was a modified variant of the Blackhawk.
Image: Part of a damaged helicopter is seen lying near Osama's mansion
Did not hear the helicopters during raid: Osama's neighbours
The US has attempted to use stealth helicopters before. In the mid-90s, the army developed several prototypes of the Comanche helicopter, a reconnaissance helicopter that was at the time a revolutionary step in stealth technology. But in 2004 the Department of Defense scrapped the programme and promised to used technology developed for the Comanche on other crafts.
Since, the government has been working to silence the army's Blackhawk helicopters but an official programme for the stealth choppers was never publicized. The wreckage, officials said, is the first the public has ever seen of an operational stealth-modified helicopter.They believe that the stealthy Blackhawks have been in use for years without the public's knowledge.
US worried about China misusing parts of crashed chopper
But now that one went down and photographs emerged of large sections being taken from the crash site under a tarp, former White House counter-terrorism advisor Richard Clarke said US officials may have reason to worry about where those parts end up.
"There are probably people in the Pentagon tonight who are very concerned that pieces of the helicopter may be, even now, on their way to China, because we know that China is trying to make stealth aircraft," he said.
The Chinese military is known to have a close relationship with the Pakistani military.
Image: Wreckage seen in the compound after US Navy SEAL commandos killed bin Laden