Everyone wants to know exactly how the take-out-bin-Laden-operation went down. Part of what we know for sure is that badass Navy SEALs did the shooting, and were carried to the site by another elite team—the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, or SOAR (aka the "Night Stalkers"). The bird of choice appears to have been specially modified MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters.
The Night Stalkers are called upon for missions that involve direct assault, reconnaissance, or the insertion/extraction of special forces. They predominantly fly four helicopters: The MH-47E/G Chinook, MH-60L DAP, A/MH-6 Little Bird, and the MH-60K/L/M Black Hawk.
The MH-60K Black Hawk is a beast. It carries 11 fully-equipped soldiers (or up to 22,000 pounds), travels at 183 mph and, thanks to its 230-gallon fuel tanks, can fly over 750 miles without refueling—and it's able to do so in all weather conditions. As if all that wasn't enough, the MH-60K is also capable of refueling in the air.
Aside from its muscle, the Black Hawk has plenty of other amenities to make it an attractive fighting machine. With an ALQ-144 infra-red jammer, many missiles won't be (at least as much of) a problem. And the Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) sensor helps guide the helicopter's AGM-114 missiles to their targets. The main takeaway point is: In a fight, this thing would probably kick your ass. [National Journal, americanspecialops, Image via Wikipedia]
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To check out our full coverage on the successful raid of Osama Bin Laden's compound—from the planning to the aftermath—head here.