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Discuss helicopters and other rotary wing aircraft from any era.
Op Gothic Serpent, Black Hawk Down MH-60 info
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
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Posted: Saturday, January 04, 2014 - 04:03 PM UTC
The question comes up often on the forum as to what types of Black Hawk helicopters were used by the 160th SOAR (Special Operations Aviation Regiment) in Operation Gothic Serpent, Somalia, Oct 3-4 , 1993. It was also called the Battle of Mogadishu or the Battle of the Black Sea and was made popular by the movie Black Hawk Down.

Aircraft info:

Two MH-60Ls shot down in Mogadishu.
Super 61 91-26324
Super 64 89-26188

Two additional aircraft damaged and able to land (controlled crash) under own power.
Super 62 83-23882
Super 68 90-26288

OGS Aircraft:

Super 61 was named 'Thunderstruck' 91-26324 Walcot's bird, nose radar, FLIR, hoist
Super 62 was named 'Black Widow' 83-23882, no nose radar, FLIR, hoist
Super 63 was named 'Grim Reaper' 90-26257, nose radar, FLIR, no hoist, hoist mount installed
Super 64 was named 'Venom' 89-26188 Durant's bird, nose radar, FLIR, hoist
Super 65 was Named 'Heavy Metal' 83-23887, no nose radar, FLIR, no hoist, no mount
Super 66 was named 'Gun Slinger' 91-26363, nose radar, FLIR, no hoist, no mount
Super 67 was named 'Texas Express' 83-23924, no nose radar, FLIR, no hoist, no mount
Super 68 was named 'Razors Edge' 90-26288, nose radar, FLIR, no hoist

- All helos had the numbers painted on the front cargo door of each a/c except 63.
- 63 had the internal aux tanks installed for longer loiter time. She also had the C2 radio console installed in between the crew chief seats.
- 64 had a life raft package in between the crew seats so I assume all the helos had them.
- All had faded OD green floor armor on the floor.
- All had the standard antenna package including the towel bar. 63 & 64 had an additional antenna on the tailboom. Also 63 had commo antennas on her since she was C & C.

Super 61 & 62 had Special Forces on board
- Super 62 - carried Shughart and Gordon
Super 63 was the C2 (Command and Control aircraft)
Super 64 through 67 were filled with Rangers
- Super 64 - carried chalk 1
- Super 65 - carried chalk 2, led by 1LT Thomas Di Tomasso
- Super 66 - carried chalk 3
- Super 67 - carried chalk 4
Super 68 was the Combat Search And Rescue (CSAR) aircraft.

OPGS aircraft from a 160 SOAR crewman:
I am sure I am going to leave a couple out. These were from my platoon. Some were the MH-60A others were MH-60L. Most were DAP capable.

MH-60As
83-23839 - "Iron Maiden"
83-23853 - "Bat Copter" - Batman logo on engine cowlings

83-23882 - "Super 62"/"Black Widow"
83-23887 - "Super 65"/"Heavy Metal" - Unit had to give ACFT 908 to a sister unit. Crew chief took the engine cowlings off of 908 and put them on 887.
83-23908 - original "Heavy Metal"
83-23924 - "Super 67"/"Texas Express"
84-24000 - "The Liberator"
84-24010 - "Bounty Hunter"
85-24395 - "The Predator" - 1st ever DAP

MH-60Ls
89-26184 - "Flatliner" - 1st L model DAP
89-26186 - Original "Super 62"/"Rude Dude" down for maintenance on 3-4 OCT '93
89-26188 - "Super 64"/"Venom"
90-26257 - "Super 63"/"Grim Reaper"
90-26276 - "Dirty Deeds"
90-26288 - "Super 68"/"Razor Edge"
91-26324 - "Super 61"/"Thunderstruck"
91-26363 - "Super 66"/"Gun Slinger"
91-26360 - "Thrasher"

Info on Op Gothic Serpent Black Hawks collected from various crewmen who were there....

Doorgunner from the 160th who flew the mission on Oct 3-4 1993:
The Black Hawks were all MH-60s (a mix of A & L models), they were black with OD markings, no IFR probe, pilot doors were removed for missions, FLIR and Radar dome were fitted but not the angled missile detectors on the nose. No ESSS wings were used during missions, the AH-6Js were used for fire support. The internal fuel tanks were removed for missions due to small distances flown and to fit more passengers in the back. The aircraft's call sign was painted on the window of the cargo door on both side ,e.g. Super 68 had "68" painted on the windows. As for the crews, they all wore desert sand colored flying suits with a pistol usually on the thigh and their survival vest (unsure what type) and helmet, personal weapons were MP-5 or M-16 usually. M-134 was the only weapons carried, no .50 cals and the miniguns were fed by 2 individual 20mm ammo box, one per gun, not the huge central one like the MH-60G in the Kit.

From another crewman:
1) The 160th MH-60s didn't use internal aux tanks as the ranges flown were minimal, and they were primarily configured for max pax. Some of the regular Army UH-60s used ESSS and the MedEvac UH-60s as well.
2) There are actually two internal aux tanks mounted side-by-side against the rear bulkhead. Sometimes we use only one, sometimes both, and sometimes neither. The mission and environment dictated how many.
3) Since we're talking about Gothic Serpent, only the M-134 miniguns were used. Every insert bird also carried two (sometimes 3) Delta snipers. The D-boy snipers used M-25s (accurized M-14s) M-4s and I think a saw a couple SR-25s or AR-10s.
4) While the 160th guys brought two DAP kits with them and even used them for training (to keep currency, etc.) they were never used operationally during Gothic Serpent. For that fact, I don't remember ever seeing an MH-60L using ESSS during my deployment there.
5) Weapons, a personal thing for each crewmember. MP-5s were sometime carried in thigh rigs but were generally stowed up front somewhere. Crewchiefs had M-4 carbines and M-16A2's usually stowed behind the pilots' seats but they were also stowed elsewhere. We stowed them hanging off the webbing on the H-bar directly over the minigun ammo bins. All crewmembers also usually carried at least one pistol (issued M-9, but some had Sigs and M1911s) in a thigh rig or in a vest holster.
6) IFR probes were not used in Gothic Serpent for the same reason as Item 1, and that the only refueling assets were two USMC KC-130's based out of Mombasa Kenya, but I think they left when the Marines left prior to Gothic Serpent.

I vividly remember that some MH-60s had the nose radar and some did not. All had the FLIR turret mounts but didn't have FLIR installed for every mission. There were no plume detectors that I saw but each one had nose and tail mounted APR-39 radar detectors.

Pat Powers crew chief Super 65:
"The aircraft always flew with the cockpit doors off. Super 61 had a hoist mount, but no hoist was installed. It would be a U shaped piece of metal about a foot long and about a foot forward of the right hand engine air inlet. One other thing, the fairings around the main landing gear strut weren't installed on any of the Blackhawks in D Company and cargo hooks weren't installed on the aircraft. There was a tube, about 3 inches in diameter installed in its place. The tube had 4 rings (in a clover leaf pattern) attached to it in the center. The system was installed in place of the cargo hook for securing the aircraft during fixed wing transport of the helicopter..."

Super 64, 160 SOAR, Michael Durant’s bird.

Durant’s Blackhawk was Super Six-Four. It had 64 painted on the front cabin door windows. As for the helicopter's nickname, Durant never referred to it in his book other than Six-Four. Looking at the photo of his crew posing with the helicopter, on the right engine nacelle (looking forward from the pilots' positions, there is a word written in what looks like Arabic under a square root symbol. It is hard to make out, but in another picture, this time of 64's crew chief Tommy Fields, you can make out the bottom half of the left engine nacelle. “VENOM” is on the nacelles, with the V forming the left leg with a line extending across the whole word so it looks like a square root sign.

Also from Durant’s book:
"Tommy, in his late twenties, had a race car back in his garage in Lisbon, Maine, and he treated 'his helicopter' no differently from that hot rod. The wheels were always slick with Armor All, the windshield washed after every mission. There wasn't a drop of oil on that thing." So you don't have to dirty the model up too much to accurately represent the real thing.

Pilot of Super 65 CPT Gerry Izzo. It has some great info on Super 62, 'Black Widow'.

"Super 62 was the Black Hawk that put in the two Delta snipers, Sergeant First Class Randy Shughart and Master Sergeant Gary Gordon. They were inserted at crash site #2 (Super 64). Shortly after Gary and Randy were put in Super 62 was struck in the fuselage by an antitank rocket. The whole right side of the aircraft was opened up and the sniper manning the right door gun had his leg blown off. The aircraft was able to make it out of the battle area to the port area where they made a controlled crash landing. (This is not depicted in the movie.)"


Super 62 "Black Widow" 83-23882 after being damaged by an RPG to the right side gunner's station after dropping off MOH awardees Shughart and Gordon at the crash site of Super 64.


The gunner's station damage.


Unfortunately, the gunner lost a leg in the engagement. The aircraft was able to stay in the air long enough to make an emergency (controlled crash) landing at the Port of Mogadishu and evac its wounded.

Super 62 as it sits now. Pics were taken on 19 Nov 2009.









She is now an MFO bird in Sinai, Egypt. Multinational Force & Observers is an independent organization established in 1979 during a Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel to monitor and enforce peace in the Sinai peninsula and keep the Suez canal operating w/out obstruction.

More info: MFO website

The Hi-Vis orange and white paint scheme is used to make the aircraft easily identifiable as neutral and a member of the MFO mission.

More info on Super 68 "Razor's Edge"

Retired Air Force Master Sgt. and Pararescueman Scott Fales received U.S. Special Operations Command’s highest honor when he was awarded the 2012 Bull Simons Award in Tampa, Fla., May 23...

In August of 1993 Fales was assigned to Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. On the fateful day of Oct. 3, he led the search and rescue of “Super 61” a Black Hawk helicopter shot down by a rocket propelled grenade. Fales and fellow PJ, Tech. Sgt. Timothy Wilkinson, who would earn the Air Force Cross for actions at Mogadishu, were flying in “Super 68” toward the crash site.

...the helicopter they are fast roping from gets hit by an RPG while they are on the ropes ...

This is MSG Fales w/ Super 68 in the Mog.


From another website
"Super 68 was hit in the rotor blades by an RPG."

sgtsauer
#065
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Missouri, United States
Joined: March 30, 2002
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Posted: Saturday, January 04, 2014 - 04:12 PM UTC
Great information that undoubtedly took a lot of time to gather and organize. Thanks for sharing it here.
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
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Posted: Saturday, January 04, 2014 - 04:19 PM UTC
Hi Brent. I already had most of the data posted in different threads and wanted it consolidated in one place, so it wasn't that bad.

Super 68 'Razor's Edge' is now on display at the Army Aviation Museum on Ft Rucker, AL.




HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 16,650 posts
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Posted: Sunday, January 05, 2014 - 04:26 AM UTC
A little more info on Super 68 from the Aviation Museum:

“Super 68 sustained significant damage in Mogadishu from small arms fire and a hit from a rocket propelled grenade, but with a limited maintenance crew, they got it back into the battle and continued to fight.”

Apparently it was repaired and flew back into the battle.

HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 16,650 posts
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Posted: Sunday, January 05, 2014 - 01:30 PM UTC
I have uploaded all the Op Gothic Serpent pics I have to the following PhotoBucket Link. I hope they are useful.
Sluff
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Oulu, Finland
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Posted: Saturday, February 01, 2014 - 04:12 AM UTC
Very interesting info, thanks for sharing.
Removed by original poster on 12/05/17 - 14:04:25 (GMT).
youngtiger1
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California, United States
Joined: May 14, 2008
KitMaker: 530 posts
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Posted: Thursday, June 04, 2015 - 11:20 PM UTC
Great amount of info here buddy and you again for taking the time to share it. One of these days I'm going to build one of these Blackhawk to honor the men and women that were part of this missin. A quick question for you...what is ESSS on these Helos? TIA

Mike
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
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Posted: Friday, June 05, 2015 - 03:17 AM UTC
Thanks. It is a bunch of info I and others have collected over the years and I put it here so it would be in one place. ESSS is External Stores Support System, which is the short wings that hold the weapons when in the DAP (Direct Action Penetrator - gunship) version. You can see them on "Super 68" in the above pics.
youngtiger1
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Posted: Friday, June 05, 2015 - 03:48 AM UTC
Thanks for clarfying this. I do want to build one with ESSS set, so it is good to know what it is all.

Btw, the Super 63 in MFO scheme looks pretty cool. Do you know if the interior was the same as when it was in Somalia or did they changed that as well?
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 16,650 posts
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Posted: Friday, June 05, 2015 - 05:36 AM UTC
No, as an MFO bird it was converted back to a standard UH-60L. It carries a standard UH-60L interior setup of 11 troop seats and two crew chiefs'/gunners' seats in the middle at the gunners' windows.
youngtiger1
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Posted: Friday, June 05, 2015 - 09:14 AM UTC
Cool, thanks buddy
HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
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Posted: Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - 07:40 PM UTC
A great collection of pics showing the engine cowl art for each MH-60L Black Hawk in the air on 03-04 OCT '93. Collected by Tim, "Hawkwrench" at ARC.

Super 61:

Artwork done in gray lettering and yellow lightning bolt

Super 62: 

Artwork done in OD green
Some additional info about 62. The Black Widow that was 62 that day, was not the original 62. The original 62 "Rude Dude" had just finished an engine change when the mission went down. So the crew jumped into the Black Widow.

Super 62 "Black Widow"

Artwork done in black

Super 63 (C2 helo)

Artwork done in gray

Super 64:

Artwork done in gray/silver

Super 65:

Artwork done in OD green

Super 66:

Artwork done in OD green

Super 67: "Texas Express, the "X" is larger and used for both words

Artwork done in OD green

Super 68:

Artwork done in OD green

Here's 2 helos that deployed to Somalia, but didn't fly on the mission.

Thrasher:

Artwork done in OD green

Iron Maiden:

Artwork done in OD green

Some overall pics and Littlebirds as well.

Link

Most of these markings (Black Hawks and Littlebirds) are covered in Werner's Wings 160th SOAR decal sets (scroll down to Decals).



Review.



HeavyArty
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Florida, United States
Joined: May 16, 2002
KitMaker: 16,650 posts
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Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 09:23 PM UTC
Another compiled list of MH-60s Black Hawks with features and pilots of each by Jakob "JakobJakepilot" on ARC.

OGS MH-60 Black Hawk List