Please read the prior three posts from the bottom up to completely understand this post.
More details have emerged on Pfarrer’s claims regarding the super capable stealth helicopters NOT used in Operation Neptune Spear. Apparently these aircraft, affectionately named “Ghosthawks,” are electronically and audibly silent and give off almost no heat or radar signature. Because of their extreme technology, and due to the passengers they carry, they are called “Jedi Rides” by the top-tier Spec Ops operators that use them.
As to the exact reasons why the earlier generation ‘Stealthhawks” were used instead of the latest and greatest “Ghosthawks”, Pfarrer claims that if the Ghosthawks were utilized the commanders would have required a pair of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets for top cover, able to destroy a stricken helicopter with heavy weapons if need be. In other words, having the technology fall into the wrong hands was absolutely not an option. This scenario seems very odd, as why would non-stealthy Super Hornets be used to cover cutting-edge stealth helicopters? In other words, unless all aircraft directly involved in the raid are stealth in nature there is no reason to use any. Mixing and matching does not work here because ANY radar contact or detectable weapons systems would compromise them all. A classified unmanned drone, possibly a payload capable version of the RQ-170, a B-2, or even an F-22 would make more sense (although GPS retargeting capability on the latter two airframes is suspect). The aircraft that really could have been of use on this mission is the now retired F-117 Nighthawk, with it’s dated stealth features (expendable) and laser precise targeting system. An F-117 was seen flying around its present storage site in Tonopah, Nevada months before the mission. Is it possible that a few flyable Nighthawks were put back into service for Operation Neptune Spear? Or for possible special operations contingency missions just like this one? Yes, but not very likely as it would be pretty sad if the USAF really gave up all of it’s stealth precision laser guided strike capability when the F-117 was retired a few years ago. It is more likely that low observable, secretive drone exists for this mission, but the coincidental timeframe does raise some eyebrows.
In the end, the claim that there was a demand for F/A-18s to cover a super-sensitive stealth insertion platform sounds really clumsy. There is no doubt that there were aircraft armed and orbiting on the border, it would take them less than 5 minutes to put weapons on target if things went really wrong, which should have been good enough IF there was no stealth assets available. Although sending in detectable aircraft would have blown any chance for plausible deniability by the US government and could of caused a major conflict with India. Alternatively, a pair of F-22 Raptors could have been available to supercruise into the target area in a matter of a few minutes and obliterate the compound while proving air cover for the exfiltration. This would have been a perfect mission for the F-22, working alone, at night, moving at high-speed, totally undetected into a highly defended airspace. One day the exact truth will come out, I bet it lies somewhere between the official rendition of the operation and Mr. Pfarrer’s. Although it would seem that when it comes to operations like this, the details that you would not believe if you had read them in a Tom Clancy fictional novel, probably were in fact true. When the biggest single human target since Hitler is in America’s crosshairs you can bet that America’s black bag of tricks full of smoke, mirrors and the unbelievable was put to work in full.