Part of a damaged helicopter is seen lying near the compound after U.S. Navy SEAL commandos killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad. (Reuters)

She was not the only one thrown off by the crashed helicopter left behind by the Navy SEALS during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The helicopter is unlike any other seen before, and has the aviation world throwing up all sorts of guesses at it tries to classify the machine.

“A previously undisclosed, classified stealth helicopter,” Aviation Week called it. Pentagon officials, meanwhile, are keeping mum about the helicopter, telling ABC News they would not comment on it.

CIA director Leon Panetta said on Tuesday that the teams were carried in two Black Hawk helicopters, so many in the aviation industry speculate that it is a modified version, with tweaks to the design to increase its stealth and speed.

David Axe at Wired has a great roundup of the hypotheses flying around the Internet, but says the most likely candidate is a upgraded, stealth-optimized MH-60. Axe suggests that the super stealth helicopter was needed not just to hide from bin Laden’s detection, but also to avoid notice by Pakistani troops — perhaps further evidence of the notion that the U.S. did not trust Pakistan.

Defense Tech has rounded up renderings of what the stealth helicopter may have looked like.


Part of a damaged helicopter is seen lying near the compound. (Reuters)