Sentinel Down

And yet again, after leaving behind a cutting edge stealth helicopter during the bin Laden raid, the U.S. conducts another, involuntary, state-of-the-art military technology transfer to the enemy.

Iran’s capture of US drone shines light on spy mission, but may reveal little

The Iranian capture of a high-tech, stealth U.S. drone shines a light on the American spying mission there, but probably doesn’t tell Tehran much that it didn’t already know, a senior U.S. official said.

The RQ-170 Sentinel was providing surveillance over Iran and didn’t just accidentally wander away from the Afghanistan border region, as first suggested. The official said Wednesday that the Iranians will no doubt be able to tell where the aircraft flew. A bigger U.S. concern, the official said, was that the Iranians are likely to share or sell whatever they have recovered of the aircraft to the Chinese, Russians or others. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the mission.

Experts and officials acknowledge that there is no self-destruct mechanism on the Sentinels — which are used both by the military and the CIA for classified surveillance and intelligence gathering missions.

. . .

U.S. officials said that while they have enough information to confirm that Iran does have the wreckage, they said they are not sure what the Iranians will be able to glean technologically from what they found. It is unlikely that Iran would be able to recover any surveillance data from the aircraft.

See also:
US admits downed drone spied on Iran
Iran says US spy drone was flying deep inside its airspace when it was downed
Malfunction likely put U.S. drone in Iranian hands
Iran Probably Did Capture a Secret U.S. Drone
U.S. Military Sources: Iran Has Missing U.S. Drone
Drone that crashed in Iran may give away U.S. secrets
China, Russia want to inspect downed U.S. drone
Sentinel unmanned drone lost in Iran among US most valuable warfare assets
Drone belonged to CIA, officials say
Downed drone was on CIA mission
Officials: Drone downed in Iran on CIA mission
Drone Lost in Iran Was Joint CIA-Military Reconnaissance Plane
Iran’s downing of U.S. drone rattles Washington
US ‘concerned’ over drone lost near Iran border
Experts: Iran capture of stealth drone no worry
US considered missions to destroy RQ-170 Sentinel drone lost in Iran
Spy drone may provide little help to Iran
U.S. debated sending commandos into Iran to recover drone
U.S. Made Covert Plan to Retrieve Iran Drone
Iran: The Stealth War Continues
Drone Drama Proves Iran Is Ready to Rumble
Stealth drone highlights tougher U.S. strategy on Iran
U.S. drones have been spying on Iran for years

The good news is that we seem to be paying close attention to what Iran is up to, have been for years, and can penetrate Iranian airspace with near impunity. These past and, hopefully, ongoing intelligence gathering and surveillance activities should help provide a detailed blueprint for when push comes to shove and Iran has to be dealt with militarily, which is sure to eventually become a necessity.

/that said, it’s a total unforced strategic error to just let Iran have this advanced technology drone, to share with or sell to other potential enemies of the United States, would it have killed us, if we didn’t want to risk lives to recover the Sentinel, to at least launch an airstrike package to obliterate the wreckage?

Our Friends The Pakistanis

Is this the thanks we get for our billions of dollars in annual aid?

Report: Pakistan gave China access to ‘stealth’ chopper in bin Laden raid

Pakistan gave China access to the previously unknown “stealth” helicopter that crashed during the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May despite explicit requests from the CIA not to, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

. . .

“The US now has information that Pakistan, particularly the ISI, gave access to the Chinese military to the downed helicopter in Abbottabad,” the paper quoted a person “in intelligence circles” as saying.

Pakistan, which enjoys a close relationship with China, allowed Chinese intelligence officials to take pictures of the crashed chopper as well as take samples of its special “skin” that allowed the American raid to evade Pakistani radar, the newspaper reported.

See also:
Pakistan lets China see US helicopter
Pakistan let China see ‘stealth’ chopper from bin Laden raid: FT
Report: Pakistan Gave China Access To US Chopper
Pakistan let China see crashed US “stealth” copter – report
UPDATE 1-Pakistan let China see crashed US “stealth” copter-FT
Pakistan let China see “stealth” chopper from bin Laden raid
Can We Please Have Our Wreckage Back?

Well, kiss that technology goodbye, and China didn’t even have to steal it, Pakistan handed it to them.

/tell me again why we give Pakistan billions of dollars and pretend they’re our ally?

Hardly A Fair Trade

Seriously, how could we be sure whether or not we killed the exact Taliban responsible for last Saturday’s deadly attack? If we knew who and where these barbaric cretins were, we probably wouldn’t have lost the Chinook in the first place.

U.S. kills Taliban insurgents who downed SEALs’ helicopter

The retribution wasn’t long in coming.

An American airstrike killed the Taliban insurgents whose attack caused a helicopter crash that killed 22 Navy SEALs and eight other U.S. service members, military officials in Kabul and Washington said Wednesday.

However, Marine Gen. John R. Allen, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told reporters at the Pentagon that the main Taliban leader in the area remained at large. He did not identify that insurgent commander, the hunt for whom set in motion the events that led to the crash of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter on Saturday.

. . .

Special operations forces tracked down a group of “less than 10” insurgents and called in an airstrike from an F-16 fighter jet, Allen said. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Kabul said the strike took place early Tuesday in the Chak district of Wardak province, close to the area where the Chinook helicopter was shot down.

See also:
U.S. Says It Killed Taliban Who Hit Copter
U.S. forces kill Taliban fighters who downed helicopter
Copter attackers found, killed in strike
US-Led Forces Kill Taliban Militants Behind Helicopter Attack
Strike kills insurgents who downed helicopter in Afghanistan, top commander says
Taliban helicopter shooter killed by United States
Military killed Taliban who downed US helicopter

There’s so many questions yet to be answered regarding this incident, including which CH-47 variant was shot down, why were so many SEALs crammed onto a single helicopter, and why was SEAL Team Six being used on what’s variously, so far been described as a rescue mission, a reinforcement, or an independent, follow on raid?

/this “we got the Taliban that killed our SEALs” makes for a heartwarming tale of revenge but, given how many times this story has already changed, I remain skeptically waiting for the real truth to unfold, if it ever does come out

Definitely Not Mission Creep In A Not War

There’s nothing to see here, move along, it’s all just part of enforcing the U.N. mandated humanitarian no fly zone to, ahem, protect civilians. It’s definitely not ramping up NATO offensive military operations in support of one side in a civil war.

Liam Fox denies Apache strikes are a change of tactics

The Apaches hit targets near the Libyan town of Brega during the latest wave of Nato strikes against forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the MoD said.

The Defence Secretary, epeaking at a security forum in Singapore, said that the use of British Apache attack helicopters in Libya was a logical continuation of the Nato-led military operation against Muanmar Gaddafi’s forces and did not mean that fighter jet attacks had failed.

“It’s not plan B at all,” said Dr Fox.

“The use of the attack helicopters is a logical extension of we have already been doing. We already have fast jets in action, this gives us a chance to target new targets in a way we weren’t able to do.

See also:
NATO uses attack helicopters for first time in Libya air assault
British, French helicopters strike Gadhafi troops
U.K., French helicopters strike Qaddafi troops
NATO Attack Helicopters Strike Libya Targets for First Time
NATO helicopters hit targets in Libya
Combat helicopters enter Libya fray
British, French helicopters strike Gadhafi troops
Army Apache helicopters launch first British helicopter strikes in Libya against Gaddafi’s forces
British Apache helicopters strike Gaddafi’s forces for first time
Night strikes by French Tigre helicopters
NATO launches helicopter strikes in Libya

So now NATO is using attack helicopters, where the hell in U.N. Resolution 1973 is that authorized? The current NATO operations are now way beyond what was ever intended or mandated by the original, authorized, humanitarian U.N. mission. Seriously, can ground troops be far behind the attack helicopters?

/just how kinetic does a humanitarian kinetic military action have to get before one may dare call it direct, offensive, one sided, military intervention in a civil war?

Can We Please Have Our Wreckage Back?

Hey Pakistan, we’re really sorry that we violated your sovereign airspace without so much as a captain may I, but that helicopter wreckage we left behind is top secret and we’re afraid you’re going to give it to the Chinese. We realize that you’re throughly embarrassed and really pissed off at us, but can we please have our helicopter pieces back?

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

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.

See also:
Mission helo was secret stealth Black Hawk
Secret Stealth Helped U.S. Accomplish bin Laden Raid
Did U.S. forces use secret stealth helicopters in bin Laden raid?
Aviation Geeks Scramble to ID bin Laden Raid’s Mystery Copter
New top-secret stealth choppers used on bin Laden raid
‘Stealth chopper’ helped hit Bin Laden
Speculation is rampant when it comes to the secret copters used in Bin Laden raid
Stealth Blackhawk Used In Bin Laden Raid?
Could the bin Laden Raid Have Revealed a Secret New Helicopter?
US: Helicopter Used in Bin Laden Raid Could Fall into Enemy Hands
MH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter
MH-60K/L Black Hawk
MH-60 Black Hawk

Yep, looking at the available photographs, that’s not an ordinary MH-60 Black Hawk and what’s left of the top secret variant is in, or on the way to, enemy hands, shades of the F-117 lost over Serbia in 1999. Now we’re reduced to begging the Pakistanis for our wreckage back.

/the SEAL operators must have known it wasn’t completely destroyed before they left the scene, would it have killed us to send a follow on airstrike to complete the destruction?