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.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.
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.
Image above via David Cenciotti.