Home » Air » Does Israel Have Stealthy Black Hawks?

Does Israel Have Stealthy Black Hawks?

by John Reed on May 15, 2012

Well, this is interesting. Former Pentagon senior policy analyst F. Michael Maloof claims there might be a lot more of those stealthy Black Hawk helicopters  – the kind famoulsy used in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden last year — out there than has previously been reported. The best part of his claim; the U.S. isn’t the only nation to operate them.

Israel is possibly using stealthy Black Hawks to ferry armed, 12-man teams of Iranian dissidents living in northern Iraq into Iran in order to collect intelligence on Tehran’s nuclear programs, writes Maloof.

With the help of recruited Iranian dissidents in Kurdistan, the Israelis are attempting to gather sufficient information to convince the United States and the United Nations that Iran is involved in using its nuclear development program to make nuclear weapons.

Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government officially has denied claims by Iranian officials regarding the missions. But various reports including a recent Times of London report suggest that Israel is using specially modified U.S.-supplied Black Hawk helicopters to carry 12-member armed teams with sensitive equipment to monitor radioactivity and the magnitude of explosives tests. The helicopters may be similar to the specially modified stealth Black Hawks which were used in the May 2011 assassination of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. Navy SEALS in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

One of those specially-modified helicopters crashed and was only partially destroyed, giving the Pakistanis access to the stealth technology which then was passed on to China, Iran and Russia, according to informed sources. In undertaking missions inside Iran, sources suggest that the commandos are dressed as members of the Iranian military and use Iranian military vehicles.

A quick Google search doesn’t turn up any of the media reports about Israel using stealthy Black Hawks to penetrate Iran that Maloof claims are out there. Still, this is a very interesting angle, since the most revealing reporting on the stealth chopper that crashed during last year’s raid to kill bin Laden stated that the stealthy-bird was one of only a handful ever made for the U.S. Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. Now, given the fact that the stealthy Black Hawks are super secret, it would make sense to say that only a couple exist when the reality is far different. Still, what would happen if an Israeli-operated, U.S.-made stealth Black Hawk went down inside Iran? There’s also the possibility that Israel has figured out how to modify its Black Hawks on its own — remember, the tech supposedly used to modify the 160th SOAR’s Black Hawks was apparently introduced in the 1980s and 1990s, so it’s not impossible to think that the IDF has figured out how to copy it.

Image above via David Cenciotti.

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{ 99 comments… read them below or add one }

Black Owl May 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Wouldn't surprise me if it was true.

I'm betting the RQ-170 data was also shared with China and Russia. AESA radars of better quality might come out of Russia soon and China might be making their first copied version as we speak.


Bob May 16, 2012 at 11:15 am

I wouldnt put anything past the DEMOCRACK administrations since Slick Willy gave China our Missile technology so they could sendup a spy satelite and one that could knock out anything in orbit.All while getting his jolly waxed.


blight_ May 16, 2012 at 12:24 pm

That was Loral.


Bobdobdobdob September 30, 2013 at 7:08 pm

American political parties aside – Israel gives away our tech all the time. If China didn't gain enough info from the wreck that crashed during the Bin Laden raid they'll get the whole thing now if the IDF has access to them.


Andy May 15, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Why can we build more STEALTHY HELICOPTER like this for our Army.


Pat May 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm



DB-1 May 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm

They were, but the RAH-66 Comanche was cancelled


WarPony May 16, 2012 at 8:22 am

However, some were operational for CIA back in '96, even though the concept design didn't appear in a science rag until Nov. 96. They may have cancelled it 05, but I had one visit me up close and personal. Nice bird.


blight_ May 16, 2012 at 9:11 am



Scot Fahey May 18, 2012 at 2:06 am

Money and Mission conflicts I suspect. After all, our CURRENT commander in chief, has other ideas, other priorities


DGR May 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm

How do you know a top secret program is working?

You never hear about it in the news. Even after one crashed in Paskistan during the OBL raid we havnt seen any actual pictures. Refreshing in a world with seemingly constant security leaks.


Musson May 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm

It would be on the Front Page of the NYT – if the WH thought it would bring the votes.
(Just like the Al Quieda bomb plot)


Observer May 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Looks like some people are just fine with Obama disclosing the operational details of Seal Team Six, the number of nuclear weapons held in the US inventory and exactly how we inflitrated Al Queda on the Arabian Peninsula. But then, lots of people applauded Chamberlain after Munich.


what May 15, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Dumbass RetardliKKKan


Haha May 16, 2012 at 3:51 am

Chamberlain infiltrated Nazi Germany and offed Hitler at Munich?

Man, you learn something new everyday….


blight_ May 16, 2012 at 9:15 am

Some people expect their government to be reasonably open. Though the fact that OBL's dead body was not paraded across the cameras like Uday and Qusay is probably the limit.


Anonymous May 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm

I believe you're lost…Fox News is that way. —–>

Just follow the other (R)etards.


BigGuy97 May 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Hahahahaha! (D)umb@ss…


DB-1 May 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm

And MSNBC, CNN, ABC, CBS is that way <——–


Spread the truth May 11, 2013 at 8:31 pm

It turns out that all these opposing media like fox CNN bbc are actually being controlled t the top by the same people thats why we get the same crappy news in the same order. And we don't realise.

Truth be told May 11, 2013 at 8:28 pm

All this could be bullshit. Maybe there were no pictures.


Uranium238 May 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm

And why in God's name is this a-hole divulging black ops and top secret info????


DGR May 15, 2012 at 12:38 pm

In reality this is nothing new. Anyone could figure out that we didnt just create one stealthy helo. The Israel connection is still unproven and unknown its just a guess since they could have a use for them.


laneshelley May 15, 2012 at 12:58 pm

If cenciotti wasn’t Italian he’d put this blog and a lot of others out of business, guy.


Marcello May 16, 2012 at 4:32 am

you just made me chuckle!
(i'm italian and totally get what you mean)

he really does an amazing work!


Marcello May 16, 2012 at 4:33 am

Oh, btw, only the drawing is from his blog this time, the article come from businessinsider.com.


derping May 16, 2012 at 7:48 am

Everybody is allowed to guess.


Krieg May 16, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Maloof has been out of the loop for a decade (as in lost his clearance out of the loop).


MadMarine June 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm

you got that right brother, WTF??!


BobSacamano May 15, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Just a thought, but does Israel have retired F 117 Nighthawks? Just musing about something that would be of great value in an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities and SAM sites. Again, just a thought…


Uranium238 May 15, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I don't think they do. Supposedly they are all at Tonopah with their wings removed and in storage. Israel did bid on them a while back in 2006 shortly after retirement, but were denied the opportunity to purchase.


Uranium238 May 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Sorry, the correct date is 2008, not 2006.


Thunder350 May 15, 2012 at 8:25 pm

That's at least the "official" story. We can only imagine what goes on behind closed doors.


blight_ May 16, 2012 at 9:18 am

Luckily, Lockheed built much of the F-117's innards from OTS parts, though getting the RAM might be challenging. The Nighthawks in storage are probably still the most numerous "stealth" aircraft force on the planet, until F-22 deliveries make that force more numerous.


Praetorian May 16, 2012 at 3:20 pm

There are reports they where flying in 2010. That does not mean Isreal has them. Most likley testing new radars.



anthony May 15, 2012 at 12:42 pm

When Syria falls well all find out wont we?


Rohan May 15, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Israel is a new high – tech military developing country….and I think its gonna overtake China's military tooo!!!


Musson May 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm

In 30 years – Israel wil have more fighting aged men than Germany. It is a demographic fact.


Haha May 16, 2012 at 3:56 am

The Israeli birthrate is not that high, and in fact is lower than the Arab birthrate, and is getting lower. There aren't enough Jews migrating into israel either. The only segment of the Israeli population that does have a high birthrate are the Orthodox Jews, but they are exempt from conscription, and are a bunch of welfare parasites (not too different from American neocon social conservatives who like strong military but don't serve, hate govt spending but love subsidies for their pet programs).


Musson May 16, 2012 at 8:21 am

While the Israeli birthrate is moderate – the birthrate among Arabs is crashing! In the last 20 years – he birthrate for Iranian women has gone from 5-6 per female to 1.5 per female.

And, the birthrate throughout Europe has dropped to unprecedented rates.


blight_ May 16, 2012 at 9:12 am

It's probably a product of Iran's economy stabilizing…somewhat.

In high poverty areas, high birth-rates usually follow.

Haha May 17, 2012 at 2:19 am

Iranians (Persians) are now Arabs?

Why are you comparing the Israeli birthrate to Persians in Iran?

The ARAB birthrate (Palestinians) is greater than the Jewish birthrate in Israel.

NathanS May 15, 2012 at 10:39 pm

I'm not a Chinese advocate, but it's clear that some people on here have no idea of the size and scope of Chinese expansion. Yes, Israel is growing as well, but it's not even in the same ball-park. To give an idea, despite a period of lower than usual growth in 2010, China used 44% of the worlds cement. To give a comparison, the entire US used under 3%. It's building the equivalent of 30 Manhattan's a year.

If anyone has been to China in recent years (well worth the trip), the size and scale is now staggering. With this level of economic growth, military growth was never going to be far behind.

The US (and to a lesser extent Europe) has the technological advantage, but a lot of R&D is happing in China as well. Given our own R&D rates here in the west, this advantage will diminish over time.


Noha307 May 15, 2012 at 12:54 pm

In any case, cross border operations into Iran are a very serious issue with grave consequences if something went wrong. (Come to think of it, they may have serious consequences even if they go RIGHT!)

I kind of doubt the fact that the U.S. would be willing to give any of this high tech equipment to any other nation. I have the example of multiple nations asking for and not receiving the F-22 in the back of my head. I could be wrong though – I mean we are developing the F-35 in concert with many other countries.

I think the insinuation is that the helicopters are operating from northern Iraq, correct?

Finally, what are the "reports by Iranian officials" that are referenced in the article? I know Iran doesn't have the best track record when it comes to being honest or accurate in their statements, but any information might be enlightening.


HiPowerGuy November 29, 2012 at 9:18 am

To find Iranian Reporting you have to go to the ENTERTAINMENT SECTION!!


RunningBear May 15, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Let's review history abit, every a/c provided to Israel has been "UP"-graded; this list is endless. Perhaps…..Israel built the stealth helicopters for the US SOC. This scenario is more likely than the US with leak security keeping the lid on a program of this type. :)


jamesb May 15, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Yea so secret that this site has run drawing of them at least two or three times….
There is NO reason to think that the US has some and so do the Israeli's…
Both countries extensively share military advances….
The interesting point here is the author of this piece implies that the Israeli's are trying to sell the US on the Iranian nuke progress…
Obama's NOT gonna want any part of this BEFORE November 6, 2012
There are those Israeli that don't believe the Iranian nuke progress is advanced as the Israeli8 PM lets on….


Riles May 15, 2012 at 1:41 pm

As far as I know, all drawings and pictures of stealth helicopters are "educated guesses", except for the actual photo of the tail piece from the OBL raid. So it is pretty secret.


4FingerOfBouron May 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm

We had to of made way more than just 2. Come one. Spares? All the tooling? Even the gov't wouldn't waste that amount on tooling just for 2…


Mike May 16, 2012 at 9:19 am

Did we probably make more than two? Yes
Would this government waste money? Yes
Would the tooling (jigs/forms) be that expensive over and above that used to build the helo? Not really.
Do I know what I am talking about? Yes (Prog Mgr for all B-2 tooling) now retired


blight_ May 16, 2012 at 9:20 am

More like "two were modified, but the tooling and equipment is in place to make more on a limited basis".


Steve October 3, 2013 at 5:59 am

do you speak english? what did you mean by "we had to of made" ? and what is "tooling" ?


jamesb May 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Maybe the Brits and Dutch also?


Joe May 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm

If the IDF really wanted the things they would have them.


Uranium238 May 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Yup. Look at the IAI Nesher as a clear example.


Joe May 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm

they do not need to hijack american tech. they can just go to AIPAC and get a new appropriations bill passed.


DB-1 May 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Like the F-22 Raptor, right?


blight_ May 16, 2012 at 9:19 am

Considering the value of air superiority in all of Israel's past wars…they need the advantage; though they know that America is politically restrained from giving up /all/ of its secrets. That's what espionage is for.

Lance May 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Im sure the IDF has something like a stealthy BlackHawk. Im guess that it was there own upgrades rather than buying one from the US. IMI has cutting edge upgrades for weapons im not surprised that Israel has there own stealth upgrade for current helicopters.


Oppervlakkig May 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Maybe you should read David Cenciotti's blog more :P He has already made an updated concept of the MH-X http://theaviationist.com/2012/05/01/stealth-blac


Uranium238 May 15, 2012 at 5:42 pm

This website has by far the best 3D CAD model I have seen of the Stealth Blackhawk.

I wish I could HTML pictures into these comments.


Josh May 15, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I enjoy reading about all our tech and some secret ops, but i would rather not hear about it. This is difficult in today’s age given social networking, but i feel like we cant keep pir mouths closed, let alone our computers that contain secret documents closed from chonese hackers. When are we going to learn to be more careful with this stuff!!!


Curt May 15, 2012 at 9:26 pm

OK, in oeder for the story to be true you need to believe several things:
1. Isreal has modifird H-60s. Probably not real difficult to do if you really feel the need
2. That they flew these secret blackhawks in a small country for several years without anyone noticing. Maybe a little less likely, but still possible. Maybe they only fly at night.
3. That these secret helos were flown all the way to Iraq, over at least one other country, to be based in Kurdistan without anyone noticing anything.
4. Then to be flown into Iran when the Iranian ADS is so porous that you don't need a stealth helo. and said helo is instantly recognizable if spotted..
5. That they rejected the idea of using a comercial Bell 407 or similiar helo, painted as a oil rig crew helo, that is immediately available in the area and which no one would givve a second thought to if it was spotted.

Not buying it, but I am glad they want the Iranians looking for them, Because they will of course never find anything thaty isn't there.


blight_ May 16, 2012 at 9:16 am

And if found, they just give the "backpacker" cover and hope for the best.


Olli0 April 4, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Just because they can not see them does not mean they are not there…right????

Got to love technology… devulging info to the enemy as blogs and rants. Putting our service men and women at risk or even our allies. What next should we post battle plans and ROE's so the enemy knows what we will do next?

Information is the weapon of the future. Not bombs and planes.


Kski May 15, 2012 at 9:26 pm

It's not a matter of if they operate them, its a matter of how many they have and how long have they had them.


Rob May 15, 2012 at 11:45 pm

A Stealth aircraft will always have limitations. They are from from invisible, still have a heat signature and easily located by it's distinctive noise in the air.

One time I was in an open field in the darkest of nights,heard a helo in the sky far off. I looked where I could hear the noise and saw it's blinking red lights right where i believed it to be. Bet if I had night vision goggles it would look like a mini moon in the sky even.


Rob May 15, 2012 at 11:50 pm

And just to add. Russia, China and most likely Iran as well have satellites that detect aircraft moving solely from it's heat signature.

however did see a Mythbusters episode where you can basically hide anything from IR detectors using dry ice from a pressurized container. Often wondered if military use it.


STemplar May 16, 2012 at 1:35 am

No way does anyone have IR detection of a helicopter from orbit. We are just placing satellites to detect missile launches.


STemplar May 16, 2012 at 1:37 am

I would think everyone who wants to be able to slip SF folks into an area has thought about or tinkered with ways to lower radar signature. A helo is inherently hard to detect if you aren't aiming to do so being they can fly so low. The low signature lets you get in much closer to potential sites being monitored. Given the IDFs penchant for bold movements of commandos no surprise if they had these or something similar.


David Rossman May 16, 2012 at 7:04 am

I don't know about Black Hawks, but according to the book "Gideon's Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad" Israel has had at least one stealth helicopter for quite some time. I have no idea what they're current one is, but i assume it is more advanced than the one stated in the book. I also recall that the time we hunted bin laden back (before 9/11) the US had stealth helicopters. So declassified knowledge or at the very least rumors of the existence of stealth helicopters have been around for quite some time, they just weren't well circulated.


DGR May 16, 2012 at 9:10 am

We famously tried to develop a stealth/low observable attack helicopter, so logically im not sure why we wouldnt have a few other models. But again, you know its top secret if the media doesnt have anything about it.


blight_ May 16, 2012 at 9:14 am

You could stealth a small Schweizer or somesuch, if you only need it to deliver one case officer somewhere.


Beaver May 16, 2012 at 9:03 am

This guy should be gagged for opsec reasons.


Beaver May 16, 2012 at 9:04 am

This guy should be told to b quiet for opsec reasons.


blight_ May 16, 2012 at 9:11 am

Muzzling would just confirm veracity. Better to poke a couple of bloggers into making all sorts of spurious statements to obfuscate the truth.


Riceball May 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Why? It's only speculation and it's not like he's working for the DoD or Sikorsky, he's just a blogger making guesses based on public knowledge. Not to mention that there's no real opsec involved here given that the article is about the possibility that Israel has stealth helos, how's that opsec since it involves the Israelis not us and nowhere does he say that they are using stealth helos built by us that we sold to them. Lastly, the cat's already out of the bag, all the world already knows that we had at least one stealth helo after the Bin Laden raid.


Curt May 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm

How do you know this isn't part of an intentional disinformation campaign started to cover the real operation?


Mike May 16, 2012 at 9:13 am

Do you think that Iran might be out of range for any helicopter flying from Isreal? It is a non-player in the Iranian nuke issue.


Tyler May 16, 2012 at 9:24 am


Hey gentlemen, actually use the modern idea of what the Stealthy Blackhawk looks like. That was a very, very early sketch.


WRG01 May 16, 2012 at 10:04 am

Friggin Airwolf has been flying since 1984. Jan Michael Vincent would knock out the Iranian nukes for sure.


C I A July 13, 2012 at 11:01 pm



Yanshuf August 19, 2012 at 9:47 am

That isnt very nice of you.


HiPowerGuy August 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm

I realize this post is weeks old,but if you want a close idea of what the STEALH BLACK HAWK looks like ( the above pic is probably fairly accurate ), look up the COMMANCHE program. That was a stealth helicopter we spent BILLIONS ON, a Recon chopper, that we cancelled. Just a thought…


JohnnY December 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm

EXACTLY! I just posted my beliefs as well, didn't see yours until now, haha.


anthony November 11, 2012 at 5:55 am

For all you UFO fans it does look like a saucer in a way and it is speedy maybe this is the answers for all you UFO fans..


Thomas L. Nielsen November 11, 2012 at 12:03 pm

"….it does look like a saucer in a way…." – if that looks like the saucers you normally use, remind me not to come to tea at your place. Alternatively, see an optician about some new glasses.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


anthony November 11, 2012 at 6:00 am

Lets not forget that Stealth is 20 years old we are way ahead on programs we dont know.


HiPowerGuy November 29, 2012 at 9:12 am

Wait a minute!~!!! Think about this …….since this is the first stealth helicpter discussed, it would be like us giving someone, even if it i israel, a F117 after they had been out 10YEARS! AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN!!!

For one thing..if you look at th pictures/drawings of this thing..it looks like an enlarged Comanche REcon prototype that was cancelled. For another…can u IMAGINE the PR if one crashed somewhere over there, and it was NOT ours.

I did not read this guys report, so I do not know the context of his info…but smething is wrong…or off base here. We are not going to be giving any of these away to anyone IMHO anways. My 2censtsworth. :-)


JohnnY December 7, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Here's my take on this, and maybe I'm on to something….maybe not? But let's flash back to the RAH-66 Comanche project, if you were to look at the tail rotor section of the Comanche and the design and looks of it then compare it to the pictures that were released of the crash site in Pakistan during the Bin laden raid, you will see some VERY VERY close resemblance between both the Comanche and the wreckage. The Comanche, and correct me if I'm wrong, was a "stealth" helicopter that was supposed to be used for reconnaissance missions and carried a lot of advanced technology to avoid both radar and a reduced heat signature. Soooo, I'm going to guess the technology that was used, then later dumped "due to budget reasons," was never really thrown out and was probably used on some kind of stealth black hawk. Just my take and observations………


JamesK May 15, 2013 at 7:23 pm

They could of got them from Mexico, we've sold them to our southern neighbors.


newsvine.com June 25, 2013 at 8:35 pm
Zspoiler September 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm

They probably built their own.


Jubal Biggs September 30, 2013 at 6:17 pm

It would surprise me if this were true. The Israelis are extremely technically savvy and would immediately start copying the mods in the chopper. This wouldn't be an issue except that there is still some bad-blood in Washington from the last time Israel sold some American technology to China a few years back. That was what was holding up the IAF from signing on to the F-35 program. People were worried the Israelis would sell the technology. If we are now providing Mossad with stealthy choppers, I' be very surprised at the turn, considering the kinds of discussions that were going on on Capitol Hill only a few years back.


Drift September 30, 2013 at 7:18 pm

I still don't know why they didn't have a B-2 in the area to drop a JDAM on one of the birds if it was damaged or shot down. You would think they would've learned their lesson from the F117A that was shot down.
I know the target was pretty deep inside Pakistan but even one loitering in Afghan airspace… eh… whatever


Rob May 16, 2012 at 8:30 am

First of all. A human with night vision running ~12 volts surely has a very limited range. A computer with IR scopes focused on a targeted area can detect much farther. From orbit, surveillance craft or mountain top outposts.

As for running navigation lights during combat I never stated. But If I was able to pickup exactly where a helo was by it's sound… so could any computer. The lights just confirmed my findings.

Lastly, don't ever underestimate eastern tech. There is much they no longer share with us due to our aggressive actions globally.


DGR May 16, 2012 at 9:07 am

Nobody is underestimating eastern tech here, IR from space is simply beyond the relm of possibility right now. Huge differance between an aircraft at 40k and a sat at 500k altitude (500k being about as low as you can bring a sat).

It also doesnt pass the logic test. The sheer size and scope of a land mass would mean that even if they had IR assets in space (that worked) it would take weeks to go over a single frame in time of the whole country. You would be reduced to finding a helo by blind/dumb luck. From 500k (again, the lowest that you could operate a sat) a helo is going to be completly invisible until you bring it into very high zoom in which case your now looking at maybe a half mile square…….. This would mean they would need hundreds of these satalites in order to provide any kind of real world intel in that regard.

So is it possible? I guess it could be. But it would be of extremly limited value. That and the Air Force has long possed the capability to track pretty much every object in space. If they knew of a IR equiped unit, they would just blind it.


blight_ June 4, 2012 at 5:31 pm

It's also higher than the Israeli Arab birthrate. It inevitably speaks to socioeconomics more than nationality.


Dordrecht1618 July 25, 2012 at 11:14 am

By your ad hominem fallacy, you are no less of an idiot than he is!


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