Unless you’ve been living in Tora Bora, you’ve undoubtedly heard that a few minor things happened this week. As such, for this week’s toolkit, we’ve rounded up nine objects that we think the US military probably found helpful in their pursuit of Osama bin Laden.
Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel Stealth Drone:
Before US troops even made their move on bin Laden, this drone was likely instrumental in collecting surveillance data on the infamous terrorist and his compound. The Lockheed Martin RQ-170 has a 20m wingspan, flies as high as 15,000m and is made exclusively for reconnaissance missions, using video cameras and hyperspectral sensors to collect data.[imgclear]
Hyperspectral Image Sensors:: Hyperspectral image sensors use the invisible chemical properties of objects to form an image that’s otherwise beyond our own visible spectrum. In doing so, special forces were likely able to gain high resolution photos of Osama’s compound in total darkness with sensors mounted to both the aforementioned Sentinel drone, as well as the MH-60 helicopter.[imgclear]
Stealth MH-60 Black Hawk Helicopter: MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters played a key role in the success of the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, especially ones that were heavily modded for stealth movement through Pakistan. Designed for use in special forces missions, these Night Stalker helicopters can carry 11 soldiers, come with three types of guns (mini, chain, gatling), and come equipped with infra-red jammers to mislead missiles.[imgclear]
Terrain-Following Radar: Performing a crucial role in navigating the MH-60 helicopters, terrain-following radars most likely helped military pilots fly through Pakistani valleys at low altitudes in low light, ensuring they made it through undetected. The technology constantly bounces a radar beam down to the ground so that the auto-pilot can read and adjust to the terrain, maintaining a constant low-altitude.[imgclear]
Thermite Hand Grenades:
The standard thermite hand grenade is one designed to burn/kill/destroy its target. Mixing powdered aluminium with iron oxide, a thermite grenade burns at nearly 4000C. It’s rumoured that these grenades were used to destroy the malfunctioning stealth MH-60 during the bin Laden raid.[imgclear]
Flash Bangs: Unlike thermite grenades, flash bangs are a type of hand grenade carried by Navy SEALs designed to stun, rather than kill any potential adversaries. Mixing a metal, such as aluminium, with an oxidant, like potassium perchlorate, a flash bang emits a disorienting blast of light when detonated, along with a loud noise, which leaves enemies temporarily incapacitated. [via ABC News] [imgclear]
TASC-1 Headset with PTT Switch: TASC headsets have often been used in military operations for as the main form of communications, and are often equipped with a push-to-talk switch. Not all that different from the headset you use to play SOCOM, it’s just alot more durable… and secure.[imgclear]
Satellite-Linked Helmet Cams: The specific type of helmet camera Navy SEALs use for operations hasn’t been revealed, but we know that commandos were equipped with a video recorder, which was transmitted back to the president via satellite. To get an idea of what the president saw, this video, and this video can give you a good idea.[imgclear]
M4 Assault Rifle and MP7 Submachine Gun: They had to shoot shoot Osama with something, right? According to rumours and experts, the weapons likely used in this attack were lightweight, short-barreled, machine guns and assault rifles. SEALs have a history of using the legendary M4 assault rifle and MP7 submachine gun in typical operations, making these powerful weapons the probable bullet slingers of choice in the Osama raid. [via Time]
Toolkit is Gizmodo’s weekly roundup of the gadgets and gear you need to tackle any and every situation.