Afghan copter crash kills U.S. SEALs eliminated bin Laden

WASHINGTON, August 6 (RIA Novosti)

Over 20 U.S. Navy SEALs that killed Osama bin Laden in early May were onboard the NATO helicopter, crashed on Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, Fox News reported.

The Chinook helicopter went down overnight in Afghan eastern Wardak Province as it was shot down from the ground. 38 people were reported to had been killed.

Among those killed in the crash were over 20 Navy SEALs (Sea, Air and Land Teams) from the so-called Team Six that eliminated bin Laden in his Pakistani compound on May 2, Fox News quoted a Pentagon source as saying.

The source said that apart from the SEALs, there were three Air Force air controllers, seven Afghan Army troops, a dog, his owner, a civilian interpreter as well as the helicopter crew members on board.

The U.S. President Barack Obama and the Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta has expressed their condolences to the relatives of those killed in the crash.

Taliban has claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter.

Last month, a coalition helicopter was shot down by insurgent fire in nearby province of Kunar.

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La chute du Faucon noir : Washington soupçonne Islamabad de trahison

15:32 16/08/2011
Par Konstantin Bogdanov, RIA Novosti

L’épave de l’hélicoptère de reconnaissance américain qui s’est écrasé en mai au Pakistan pourrait se retrouver entre les mains des Chinois, bien que les représentants militaires pakistanais réfutent catégoriquement une telle possibilité, en déclarant que les débris du MH-60 Black Hawk endommagé ont été remis aux Américains. Néanmoins, les experts sont enclins à croire les déclarations des médias sur la « coopération » sino-pakistanaise, et estiment qu’ainsi Islamabad insinue que les Etats-Unis ne sont pas le centre de l’Univers.

Deux principaux journaux occidentaux ont annoncé en même temps que les services de renseignement pakistanais auraient laissé un groupe d’ingénieurs chinois examiner et photographier l’épave de l’hélicoptère MH-60 Black Hawk des forces spéciales, qui s’est crashé en mai pendant l’opération d’élimination du chef d’Al-Qaïda Oussama Ben Laden à Abbottabad. Les sources du Financial Times et du New York Times du gouvernement américain, proches du renseignement américain, affirment qu’il est certain que les Chinois ont été autorisés à examiner non seulement les éléments de la partie arrière de l’épave, mais également de prélever des échantillons du revêtement radio-absorbant secret.

Les forces spéciales américaines ont perdu l’appareil en mai pendant l’opération destinée à éliminer le chef d’Al-Qaïda Oussama Ben Laden à Abbottabad. L’appareil appartenait au 190e escadron d’hélicoptères d’opérations spéciales et un nombre extrêmement limité de versions modifiées d’appareils de ce type étaient capables d’accomplir des missions spéciales.

Les hélicoptères MH-60 Black Hawk, en dotation des Night Stalkers (rôdeurs de nuit, c’est ainsi qu’on appelle le 160e escadron), utilisent les technologies de furtivité radar Stealth, sont dotés d’équipements permettant de réduire le bruit des moteurs et d’une panoplie d’appareils de reconnaissance pour les missions de nuit.

Selon la version officielle, pendant le débarquement, des commandos de marine, l’hélicoptère est entré dans un courant d’air chaud ascendant, l’équipage a mal évalué l’altitude de sécurité et a accroché un des murs avec le rotor principal. L’appareil a percuté le sol en endommageant le rotor mais l’équipage n’a pas été blessé et a participé à l’opération. Avant de quitter les lieux, les commandos de marine ont fait exploser l’hélicoptère endommagé. Néanmoins, plusieurs éléments de sa structure, dont un a pu être examiné par les Chinois, n’ont pas été détruits.

Les signaux et les deux jambes

« Il s’agit d’un signal sérieux », estime Evgueni Satanovsky, président de l’Institut du Proche-Orient, et de souligner que si, en dépit des objections très fermes des Américains, Islamabad a réellement autorisé les Chinois à accéder à l’épave de l’hélicoptère, le Pakistan l’a certainement fait en misant sur le partenariat stratégique avec la Chine dans le contexte de la menace émanant de l’Inde.

« En faisant la somme des investissements de la Chine dans la construction du port de Gwadar et l’élargissement de la route du Karakorum, ainsi que dans d’autres projets d’infrastructure au Pakistan, y compris les pipelines et les usines métallurgiques, il devient évident que Pékin est le principal allié d’Islamabad dans les secteurs économiques et militaires », a expliqué à RIA Novosti Evgueni Satanovsky.

La réaction officielle d’Islamabad à l’opération visant à éliminer Oussama Ben Laden a été particulièrement négative, et les insinuations selon lesquelles Ben Laden était caché par les militaires pakistanais ont provoqué une sévère réprimande du premier ministre Gilani. Mais le Pakistan ne souhaite pas détériorer ses relations avec les Américains.

« La Chine demeure pour Islamabad l’un des plus proches alliés, mais le Pakistan balancera entre Pékin et Washington pour ne froisser personne », fait remarquer Sergueï Kamenev, responsable du département Pakistan de l’Institut d’études orientales de l’Académie des sciences de Russie. Selon l’expert, certains progrès dans ce schéma des relations sont possibles, cependant on n’assiste actuellement à aucun changement important d’équilibre des forces et rien n’indique que les Etats-Unis ou la Chine ont considérablement changé leur attitude envers le Pakistan.

Evgueni Satanovsky voit dans les relations américano-pakistanaises actuelles plus d’éléments négatifs, mais il fait remarquer que cela ne signifie pas que le gouvernement pakistanais est prêt à rompre ses relations avec Washington pour se réorienter sur Pékin.

« Dans les conditions du refroidissement avec les Etats-Unis, les Pakistanais utiliseront la Chine en tant que fenêtre sur le monde, a déclaré M. Satanovsky à RIA Novosti. Islamabad n’a pas l’intention de rompre ses relations avec les Etats-Unis, cependant il montre qu’il possède une alternative. Comme nous le savons, il est toujours préférable de prendre appui sur deux jambes que sur une seule ».

Les conflits d’intérêts des militaires

La coopération militaro-technique est l’un des éléments clés dans l’interaction entre Islamabad et Pékin. Ainsi, par exemple, le port de Gwadar, mentionné ci-dessus, sera plutôt à double usage et deviendra de facto une base navale chinoise. Actuellement, le Pakistan lance la production sous licence du chasseur léger JF-17 Thunder, qui était élaboré dans le cadre d’un programme sino-pakistanais conjoint. De plus, la Chine et le Pakistan ont signé des contrats portant sur les avions de détection radar longue portée, et les fournitures gratuites de nouveaux chasseurs chinois J-10 sont prévues. Tout cela permet d’affirmer que la proportion de matériel chinois dans l’armée de l’air pakistanaise ne fera que croître.

Par ailleurs, le Pakistan est également un important acheteur d’armements américains et bénéficie de l’aide militaire américaine. Le lien étroit entre les sphères militaires et de renseignement d’Islamabad et leurs collègues de Washington dure depuis longtemps, et les épisodes tels que la lutte contre la présence soviétique en Afghanistan, l’extrémisme islamique et le terrorisme faisaient naître des coalitions originales.

« Il existe divers groupes parmi les militaires pakistanais et la direction du renseignement inter-services, affirme Sergueï Kamenev. Il n’y a pas d’accord unanime ». Tout un groupe de militaires pakistanais est pro-américain, et il était au courant des plans d’élimination de Ben Laden et a même contribué à leur mise en œuvre, malgré le rejet catégorique de l’implication dans cette affaire des autorités pakistanaises. D’autres collaborateurs du département militaire et du renseignement sont prochinois. Ils accordent beaucoup d’importance aux fournitures d’armes chinoises et à la localisation des technologies de défense chinoises au Pakistan.

Drone Impact On Pace Of War Draws Scrutiny

Jul 8, 2011

By Paul McLeary, Sharon Weinberger, Angus Batey
Washington, Washington, London

There is an unofficial but lethal drone war taking place over Pakistan, Yemen and Libya that has expanded the area of operation for U.S. forces beyond Iraq and Afghanistan, with no real acknowledgement from the government that anything extraordinary is happening. The undeclared conflict on these three fronts might be the first Drone War, and warfare has never seen anything like it.

On just one front of this undeclared war, in Pakistan, the U.S. had launched 37 drone strikes this year as of June and 118 in all of 2010.

The simultaneous use of remotely piloted unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) over Pakistan, Yemen and Libya, as well as Iraq and Afghanistan, typically operated by crews in the Nevada desert, raises certain questions. Would the U.S. engage in such a wide-ranging air campaign if it were conducted only with manned aircraft flying from overseas bases and carrier strike groups? Has the use of unmanned systems led to more warfare, in more places, because of the smaller logistics tail and the fact that pilots’ lives are not at risk?

“The issue is not whether or not the aircraft is manned,” says Lt. Gen. (ret.) David Deptula, former U.S. Air Force first deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and principal air attack planner during Operation Desert Storm, the runup to the 1991 Persian Gulf war. “We would do what we’re doing if the only way we could do it is with a man in the aircraft.”

Deptula maintains that operating over permissive environments such as Yemen or Pakistan—where the tacit or explicit approval of the host government has been granted—means that the threat to pilots is limited, and that “taking the human out of the cockpit simply allows the capability of persistence to be exploited.” In other words, the ability of remotely piloted systems to hover over targets for hours before striking is what leads policymakers and combatant commanders to make use of them in these situations, not because there is no risk to American lives.

In his view, UAVs don’t “lower the threshold to the application of force,” but enable “a perspective that we didn’t have when you had a person in the cockpit”—namely, persistence. A General Atomics Predator or Reaper drone can loiter well beyond the capability of a manned aircraft, which gives it the ability to wait out an enemy while it gathers the intelligence needed for a planning a strike. Deptula has long railed against the word “unmanned” when it comes to drones, since “it nominally takes about 180 people to maintain a single orbit. The majority of those people are analysts. You don’t have that in manned aircraft.”

From a legal standpoint, U.S. government officials are adamant that using a drone to kill an enemy is no different than employing manned aircraft. “[The] rules that govern targeting do not turn on the type of weapon system used, and there is no prohibition under the laws of war on the use of technologically advanced weapon systems in armed conflict—such as pilotless aircraft or so-called smart bombs—so long as they are employed in conformity with applicable laws of war,” Harold Hongju Koh, legal adviser to the U.S. State Department, said at this year’s annual meeting of the American Society of International Law in Washington. “Indeed, using such advanced technologies can ensure both that the best intelligence is available for planning operations and that civilian casualties are minimized in carrying out such an operation.”

A secondary question is whether drone operators are more or less likely to drop bombs than manned aircraft. Precious little research has been done on how the people operating drones—particularly those responsible for the weapons—are affected psychologically, or more importantly, whether they are affected differently than those flying manned aircraft. An Air Force Research Laboratory study in 2010 compared drone operators to gunship pilots and found similarities.

But there are also differences. For example, subject matter experts interviewed by the study’s authors cited cases where sensor operators, after having to kill enemy forces, decided they weren’t comfortable doing so and changed jobs. “They reported such SOs (sensor operators) performed their surveillance and reconnaissance duties well, but emotionally struggled with their role in taking lives of others, regardless of the threat enemy combatants posed to U.S. and allied forces,” the study found. “[Subject matter experts] reported such SOs experienced significant internal conflict with their role, and that such a conflict did not become apparent until the SO was faced with a real-life situation or fully educated about the nature of their combat-related duties.”

In other words, UAV sensor operators may have more problems with releasing weapons than gunship crews, and thus might require even more motivation to do their jobs, the authors wrote.

Pilots or drone operators can only fly where their military and civilian bosses tell them to and conduct the missions they’ve been tasked to do. The notion that having access to armed, unmanned platforms may make it easier for the order to be given to fly lethal missions, and therefore permit politicians to take nations to war sooner, or without the planning and deliberation that is essential to engaging in conflict, is one that the U.K. Defense Ministry has considered. The ministry’s Development, Concepts and Doctrine Center released a report titled “The U.K. Approach to Unmanned Aircraft Systems” in March, which states “ . . . the recent extensive use of unmanned aircraft over Pakistan and Yemen may already herald a new era. That these activities are exclusively carried out by unmanned aircraft, even though very capable manned aircraft are available, and that the use of ground troops in harm’s way has been avoided, suggests that the use of force is totally a function of an unmanned capability.”

“I actually disagree that [the U.K. is] doing anything differently because of the unmanned technology,” says Wing Cdr. Chris Thirtle, Royal Air Force desk officer and policy lead for remotely piloted air systems. “From a U.K. perspective, I sense there is no change in political appetite just because of the advent of unmanned aircraft. They don’t change what we do, they don’t influence what we do; they just give us a better, and hopefully safer, way of doing it.”

In Afghanistan, too, experience suggests that decisions to strike are not being taken more hastily because of remotely piloted platforms. Rather, it is another factor inherent in the current generation of unmanned aircraft that is changing the nature of warfare.

Thirtle and Deptula have much in common in their assessments of what capabilities UAVs give the U.S. and U.K., with the aircraft’s ability to loiter above a target for hours being the critical factor that changes the potential battlefield below. “What the unmanned system gives that we’ve not had before is the persistent presence that enables us to know when we want to deliver an effect and where we need to deliver it,” says Thirtle. “In a congested, cluttered, complex battlespace, persistence is becoming more and more valuable. A single snapshot just gives you a picture. Your understanding of that picture could change if you saw what was happening there 5 minutes before or 5 seconds later. That is what’s changing the way we consider how we use our pieces on the chessboard. I think we’ve understood the benefits of persistence,” he adds, “and you’ll see a drive to keep that card in hand.”

DTI saw the benefits of persistence at Bagram AB, Afghanistan, in September 2009, while embedded with the U.S. Army’s Task Force ODIN, an acronym for observe, detect, identify and neutralize. The task force’s mix of contractors and enlisted personnel teamed up to operate General Atomics MQ‑1C Warrior drones on surveillance and overwatch missions as well as lethal runs (DTI November 2009, p. 16).

Since the aircraft can fly 24 hr. at a time, teams would swap out every 7 hr. to keep a fresh set of eyes on the ground at all times. DTI was allowed into the flight-control pod to observe a live night raid at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan, and the hours on station that the drone provided gave the insertion team on the ground an unprecedented look into the “pattern of life” inside the compound’s walls hours before their helicopters touched down—intel that was pored over in real time by analysts in multiple locations via a secure online chat function.

Another mission the ODIN crews were practicing at the time—and which has since been put to lethal effect—was teaming with Army Apache helicopter crews. During the test runs DTI observed, an Apache crew would laser-designate a target that a Warrior UAV would hit, or a Warrior designated a target that an Apache would strike. In this mission the value of keeping a persistent watch on a target is combined with the ability of a helicopter crew to see a wider view of an area, something unavailable to a drone’s operators.

The stress operators can experience on long missions is a concern, however. There are advantages to removing a pilot from an airframe—the calm, comfortable “cockpit” environment of a drone operator and access to more intelligence and advice should enable greater concentration and better decision-making. But unmanned aviation technology has its own unique set of pressures—everything an operator sees, hears and reads is stored, and all decisions taken can be subject to a greater degree of analysis and evaluation after a mission than would be possible with a manned platform. The remote operator may be under increased pressure to justify every decision taken during a mission. Greater persistence also means longer time on station than for a manned platform, and the view through the “cockpit windshield” is not of ground several miles below, but close-up sensor footage of buildings, vehicles and people—friend and foe alike.

Air Cdr. Stuart Atha, the U.K. Defense Ministry’s head of Joint Capability, and in 2009-10 the air component commander in Afghanistan, addressed the question of the effect “prolonged exposure to death and destruction via near-real-time video” may have on aircrews in a recent speech to defense experts in London.

“The crews are distant but not detached,” he said. “While they operate at no direct physical risk they are subject to psychological and emotional stresses. Yet the evidence shows that occupational rather than operational issues, such as the long hours worked, the need to maintain a heightened awareness over long periods, and in particular the constant juggling of domestic and professional life, are the more prevalent causes of stress.”

In the present climate, with Britain’s economic uncertainties pointing to further cuts in defense budgets, remotely piloted operations offer a rare area of growth. And while the Reaper drone remains an Urgent Operational Requirement and is not at present expected to remain in the RAF inventory after the U.K. withdraws from Afghanistan, the Scavenger Istar (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) UAV requirement, set to be finalized in 2012 with a view to initial operating capability around 2018, will keep the RAF invested in remotely piloted air system capabilities. From being an uncertain berth in a changing service, remotely piloted aircraft may offer one of the more secure career paths in the British military.

While the U.S. isn’t hiding the fact that it is flying missions against targets in Pakistan and Yemen, the U.K. is more careful about its Afghanistan operations. Penetrating foreign airspace is still penetrating foreign airspace, Thirtle says, echoing Deptula’s contention that not having a pilot in the cockpit doesn’t really change the nature of the situation. “Speaking hypothetically,” Thirtle continues, “there’s much less political fallout from having a bunch of wreckage found on the wrong side of the border than a captured airman or a body. However, I’ve seen and heard nothing that gives me any sense that wreckage falling on the wrong side of the border is acceptable just because it’s unmanned.

“The U.K. operates remotely piloted aircraft systems only in Afghanistan. The border is considered so sacrosanct that you put another border inside the real border, so that even if your navigation system drifts slightly, there is no danger you will have infringed somebody else’s airspace.”

In the U.S., remotely piloted aircraft are also creating career paths. The Air Force Academy’s class of 2011 was the first in which graduates planned to specialize in operating remotely piloted aircraft—32 of 1,021 graduates selected this field. In the Army, enlisted soldiers operate the UAVs and surveillance equipment, though Army pilots or contract pilots handle takeoffs and landings.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the CIA is now preparing to launch a major drone operation over Yemen. The aircraft will conduct surveillance and attack missions, using operations over Pakistan as a blueprint. This, of course, adds another wrinkle to the debate over the increasing use of unmanned platforms for targeted killings in countries where the U.S. isn’t technically at war.

Source: defense technology international

DCNS va livrer le second MESMA destiné aux sous-marins pakistanais

01/06/2011
Le site DCNS d’Indret, près de Nantes, vient d’achever les essais du second Module d’Energie Sous-Marine Anaérobie (MESMA) commandé par le Pakistan pour équiper ses sous-marins du type Agosta 90B. L’ensemble sera prochainement transféré par barge, jusqu’au terminal de Montoir de Bretagne, dans l’estuaire de la Loire, avant de rejoindre par cargo le Pakistan. De là, le MESMA, contenu dans un tronçon de coque, sera ajouté par jumboïsation sur le sous-marin pour lequel il est destiné. En fait, la coque du bâtiment sera découpée derrière le kiosque et le module inséré puis soudé aux parties avant et arrière. La longueur du sous-marin passera alors de 67.6 mètres à 76.2 mètres, alors que le déplacement atteindra 1980 tonnes en plongée, contre 1760 actuellement.
Pour l’heure, seul l’un des trois Agosta 90B pakistanais est équipé dès l’origine d’un MESMA. Il s’agit du dernier de la série, l’Hamza, qui a été réceptionné en septembre 2008 par la marine pakistanaise après avoir testé avec succès son système de propulsion anaérobie.
Allers-retours entre Indret et Cherbourg

Spécialisé dans les systèmes propulsifs, le site DCNS d’Indret a développé le MESMA afin d’augmenter l’autonomie en plongée des sous-marins diesels. Suivant le montage industriel retenu, l’établissement ligérien a réalisé le système avant de l’expédier à Cherbourg. Le site normand, qui a d’ailleurs construit le premier des trois Agosta pakistanais (les autres l’ont été en transfert de technologie à l’arsenal de Karachi), intègre ensuite le MESMA à un tronçon de coque, qu’il a réalisé sur place. Une fois le module intégré, le colis, d’un poids d’environ 160 tonnes, est reparti vers Indret pour subir une campagne d’essais, de mesure des performances et de qualification. Cette période, qui a duré 10 mois, devrait être réduite pour le prochain module grâce à l’effet de série. Le troisième MESMA a d’ailleurs débuté sa période d’essais au début du mois de mai. Ces deux modules seront intégrés au Pakistan sur les sous-marins Khalid et Saad au cours d’un grand carénage qui fera également office de refonte.

Augmenter l’autonomie en plongée

Système de propulsion anaérobie, le MESMA a donc pour but d’augmenter significativement l’autonomie des sous-marins conventionnels, contraints d’aller chercher l’air en surface pour recharger leurs batteries. Le système de DCNS fonctionne suivant le même principe que la propulsion nucléaire, la source chaude étant remplacée sur Agosta 90B par de l’éthanol et sur Scorpène par du gasoil. La combustion crée des gaz qui cèdent leurs calories à de l’eau et la transforment en vapeur. Celle-ci se détend dans une turbine, qui fait tourner les alternateurs. Le comburant, ne pouvant être de l’air, est remplacé par de l’oxygène, stocké en bouteille sous forme cryogénique. Afin d’éviter que les gaz d’échappement, rejetés en mer, provoquent une indiscrétion, un système dilue dans l’eau les bulles de CO2. Selon ses concepteurs, le MESMA permet de tripler l’autonomie en plongée, soit trois semaines à faible vitesse. On notera que des recherches sont en cours pour améliorer la puissance des batteries, notamment avec la technologie lithium-ion.

Source: Mer et Marine

Pakistan to return remains of U.S. stealth helicopter

Pakistan is to return to the United States on Tuesday the remains of a stealth helicopter used in a special forces raid to kill al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, Pakistani television said, quoting army sources.

Pakistan agreed to return the tail of the helicopter following a late night meeting on Monday between U.S. Senator John Kerry and Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

« Tomorrow the tail of the helicopter will be returned to America, » Kerry told journalists.

The UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crashed in bin Laden’s compound in the town of Abbottabad during the raid on May 1.

U.S. Special Forces blew up the wreckage, but left behind a tail rotor boom, which is believed to have been heavily modified to have a reduced radar signature.

The tail boom was taken to a Pakistani military base.

Media sources had speculated that Pakistan might hand the wreckage over to China, its closest regional ally, so that it could benefit from U.S. stealth technology.

NEW DELHI, May 17 (RIA Novosti)

China to expedite 50 JF-17 kits for Pakistan

23/05/11

China will expedite the delivery of 50 Chengdu/Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) JF-17 Thunder aircraft production kits to Pakistan, part of Islamabad’s 150 firm orders for the single-engined fighter.

The Pakistan air force has confirmed the expedited delivery but declined to comment on the specific timing, or when the new aircraft will become operational. However, media reports have suggested that Pakistan hopes to receive the kits within the next six months.

The air force said that 30 JF-17s are now operational, up from 18 in early March. It also confirmed that it has firm orders for 150 of the type. This is 100 more than in November, when the China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation said Pakistan had signed for 50. The JF-17 is 52% produced by the PAC.

Pakistan hopes to buy up to a total of 200 JF-17s to replace a number of types, such as the Chengdu F-7, Dassault Mirage III and Mirage 5, and the Nanchang A-5, the last of which was decommissioned in April.

Pakistani and international media have reported that the expedited JF-17 delivery was arranged by Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani during a visit to China, Pakistan’s partner in the JF-17 programme.

Gilani’s visit came after a 2 May raid by US Special Forces that killed Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan. The USA did not inform Pakistan of the raid, and the inability of Pakistan’s military to detect the incursion raised questions in Islamabad about preparedness.

SOURCE: Flight International

Un Black Hawk furtif pour la capture de Ben Laden

6 mai 2011

Un hélicoptère Black Hawk écrasé le 2 mai dernier, lors de la mission pour la capture de Ben Laden à Abbottabad au Pakistan, soulève les interrogations les plus folles de la part de la blogosphère et de la presse mondiale.

L’appareil s’est écrasé sur le mur d’enceinte de la résidence de Ben Laden. Le commando a bien essayé de le détruire en repartant mais a oublié la queue de l’hélicoptère de l’autre coté du mur d’enceinte.

Rotor de queue retrouvé au Pakistan (Black Hawk Stealth Project)

Si d’aucun pense en France avoir des doutes sur la mort de Ben Laden, on peut dire que les américains y ont mis les moyens. Ces hélicoptères s’avèrent extrêmement silencieux, plusieurs témoignages indiquent que personne n’a vu ou surtout entendu arriver les hélicoptères américains près de la résidence.

Quel est cet hélicoptère inconnu  dans l’inventaire américain ? Il serait plutôt d’un genre furtif. Les américains auraient-ils utilisé un RAH-66 Comanche, programme abandonné depuis 2004? Non, car l’hélicoptère devait transporter environ 25 commandos Navy Seals même avec une élingue.

RAH-66 Comanche

Alors qu’est-ce? Les diverses recherches des industriels Lockeed Martin, Boeing et Sikorsky ont eu des répercussions en ce qui concerne la conception d’hélicoptères furtifs. Depuis les années 80, ces recherches ont apporté quelques solutions en matière de discrétion radar et pas seulement sur les peintures absorbantes.

Ce qui pose la question du genre de l’appareil et du nombre de ceux-ci lors de cette opération (pour évacuer un commando avec un appareil en moins). L’analyse des photos amène à penser qu’il s’agit d’un hélicoptère Black Hawk modifié afin d’atténuer au maximum le bruit du rotor principal et de queue ainsi que la signature radar et infrarouge. A l’heure actuelle, des spéculations tournent autour des pales qui seraient éventuellement rétractables au niveau du rotor principal. Seules deux pales ont été retrouvées sur place mais Boeing a travaillé avec la DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) du département de la Défense des États-Unis pour le développement de pales rétractables. La technique de pâles élargies aux extrémités et incurvées (pour le bruit) pourrait être une autre solution.

Illustration d'un UH-60 Black Hawk

Illustration du Black Hawk Stealth Project

Sur diverses photos et vidéo ici et là sur internet,on peut voir les pales et autres restes de l’appareil transportés sur des véhicules pick-up, camions, tracteurs par les services de renseignements pakistanais et les militaires.  Les Etats-Unis récupèreront certainement quelques morceaux de l’appareil mais la Russie et surtout la Chine auront eu leur part. Le Pentagone se refuse pour l’heure à faire le moindre commentaire sur cet appareil.

David Campese

Top Secret Stealth Helicopter Program Revealed in Osama Bin Laden Raid: Experts

By BRIAN ROSS (@brianross) , RHONDA SCHWARTZ, LEE FERRAN and AVNI PATEL
May 4, 2011

Before an elite team of U.S. Navy SEALs executed a daring raid that took down Osama bin Laden, the commandos were able to silently sneak up on their elusive target thanks to what aviation analysts said were top secret, never-before-seen stealth-modified helicopters.

In the course of the operation that cost the al Qaeda leader his life, one of the two Blackhawk helicopters that carried the SEALs into bin Laden’s Pakistani compound grazed one of the compound’s wall and was forced to make a hard landing. With the chopper inoperable, at the end of the mission the SEALs destroyed it with explosives.

But photos of what survived the explosion — the tail section of the craft with curious modifications — has sent military analysts buzzing about a stealth helicopter program that was only rumored to exist. From 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, former Department of Defense official and vice president of the Lexington Institute Dan Goure said the bird is like nothing he’s ever seen before.

« This is a first, » he said. « You wouldn’t know that it was coming right at you. And that’s what’s important, because these are coming in fast and low, and if they aren’t sounding like they’re coming right at you, you might not even react until it’s too late… That was clearly part of the success. »

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.

A senior Pentagon official told ABC News the Defense Department would « absolutely not » comment on anything relating to the destroyed bird.

Neighbors of bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, told ABC News they didn’t hear the helicopters the night of the Sunday raid until they were directly overhead. The rotor covering, along with a special rotor design, suppressed the choppers noise while inbound, Bill Sweetman, editor and chief of Defense Technology International, said.

« Helicopters make a very distinctive percussive rotor sound which is caused by their rotor blades and if you can blend that down, of course that makes a noise that is much less likely to be heard and much more likely to blend into any background noise that there is, » Sweetman said.

Parts of Helicopter Taken From Crash Site

The U.S. 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 program 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 program for the stealth choppers was never publicized. The wreckage, Sweetman said, is the first the public has ever seen of an operational stealth-modified helicopter.

Goure said he believes the stealthy Blackhawks have been in use for years without the public’s knowledge.

« We probably have been running hundreds of missions with these helicopters over the last half dozen years, and the fact is, they’ve all been successful — or at least the helicopters have all come back, » he said.

But now that one went down and photographs emerged of large sections being taken from the crash site under a tarp, former White House counterterrorism advisor and ABC News consultant Richard Clarke said U.S. 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.

Source : ABC news

Thales: accord avec le ministère pakistanais de la Défense

Lundi 28 mars 2011 à 17:32 – Par Cercle Finance

Thales et Sagem devraient signer au début du mois prochain un accord préliminaire avec le ministère pakistanais de la Défense, rapporte La Lettre de L’Expansion.

Le contrat, d’un montant de 450 millions d’euros, porterait sur la vente d’équipements de lutte antiterroriste.

La Lettre de L’Expansion précise que les négociations ont été ralenties car Islamabad voulait en profiter pour moderniser ses sous-marins.

Paris aurait refusé, afin de ne pas mécontenter l’Inde.

Former U.S. Naval Ship Sails to its New Homeport in Pakistan

The Pakistani warship, the PNS Alamgir, officially departed from Naval Station Mayport after several months of refurbishment and the training of its personnel on 21 March.  It is scheduled to arrive at its home port in Karachi, Pakistan 53 days from now.

The PNS Alamgir started its life as the USS McInerney (FFG-8), an Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate.  Pakistan acquired it from the U.S. under the Department of Defense Excess Defense Articles program because the U.S. Navy planned to decommission it after 31 years of service.  Pakistan signed the transfer deal on 21 April 2010 and it was formally transferred during a ceremony at Naval Station Mayport on 31 August 2010.

The frigate underwent dry docking and pier-side refurbishment at BAE Systems Southeast Shipyards from September 2010 to March 2011 using $58.7 million of Foreign Military Financing funds. The frigate is equipped with anti-ship missiles, a 76-mm naval gun, and torpedo launchers. It can also carry two SH-60 Seahawk multi-purpose helicopters.  There was an additional $6.5 million spent on specialized training on the ship�s engineering, navigation and combat systems for the crew of 240 Pakistani sailors during the overhaul.

The PNS Alamgir will join the Pakistan Navy Maritime Patrol (MARPAT) mission which is a critical piece in Coalition Maritime Forces counter-narcotics and counter-terror operations (CTF-150) as well as counter-piracy efforts around the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea (CTF-151).

LCDR Raja Hussain, the Pakistan Foreign Military Sales Country Program Director for the Navy International Programs Office — the organization responsible for brokering the deal — said that the transfer is tactically crucial.  « Pakistan is already an active partner in each taskforce and has even taken command of CTF 150 four times, » said Hussain. « This transfer not only strengthens the partnership between the two nations, but it will also pave the way for future military-to-military exchanges. »

The Pakistan Navy can also use the frigate to monitor its country’s coastline for illegal narcotics trafficking. « Over half of the heroin coming from Afghanistan is smuggled through Pakistan. There is a relationship as narcotics trafficking sometimes serves as a financial base for terrorist operations, »he said. « Therefore, missions on the coastline serve to increase stability in the region and enhance the national security of the United States. »

Source: US Defense Security Cooperation Agency