Mystery Blackhawk

US officials described the helicopter that crashed during the takedown of Osama bin Laden on Sunday in Pakistan as a Blackhawk. However, images of the wrecked helicopter’s tail section—making Internet rounds on Tuesday—reveal that this aircraft is seemingly unlike any other publicly acknowledged Blackhawk variant. The aircraft’s empennage features faceted and presumably stealthy surfaces with no fasteners or apparent seams. Its six-bladed tail rotor is embedded in a saucer-shaped rotorhead—possibly a noise-reduction system. The tailplanes are forward swept. The empennage is not that of the Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche stealth scout/attack chopper canceled in 2004, although its features resemble the Comanche’s. The Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, based out of Fort Campbell, Ky., has been known to field a number of one-off special helicopter variants, but US officials haven’t publicly discussed the unit’s role in the bin Laden raid. A Sikorsky spokesman referred the Daily Report’s query to US Special Operations Command, a spokesman for which said only the White House was authorized to discuss the bin Laden operation. The White House declined comment. (To view photos, see Britain’s Daily Mail report, DEW Line blog entry, and Wall Street Journal photo collection)