Posted by: mulrickillion | May 16, 2011

Intrigue surrounds fate of stealth helo wreckage

by Caitlin Harrington Lee and Farhan Bokhari, Jane’s Defence News, 5/13/2011 —

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The as-yet unidentified helicopter used in the Osama bin Laden operation (which could be a heavily modified Sikorsky MH/UH-60 Black Hawk variant shown here) was destroyed by US forces and the wreckage left on the ground at Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

With Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani scheduled to travel to China on 17 May for a high-profile four-day visit, Western defence officials will be searching for some indication of what Pakistan is likely to do with the stealth helicopter wreckage it retrieved following the US raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.

A senior Pakistani government official described speculation that China is seeking access to the aircraft as "mere nonsense", though he did confirm that the wreckage was still in Pakistani hands.

Two senior NATO defence officials based in Islamabad said the US is seeking the return of the wreckage to prevent it being passed onto third parties such as China. "The US is desperate to get the wreckage back," one of the officials said.

What ultimately happens to the stealth helicopter wreckage left behind by US special forces during the 1 May raid may depend largely on how the parties concerned answer a single question: ‘How much is it worth?’

Some former and current US government officials have cautioned that Pakistan would have little to lose by sharing the technology with China, and that the consequences for the US would be grave if it could not immediately recover the wreckage. . . .

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