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Bin Laden Raid Pilot Says Unique Marine Air-To-Air Course Likely Saved Him From Pakistani F-16s


Aug 28, 2006
Too much content for sharing, mostly based on propaganda tools of the west/USA.. Unfortunately, which we believe more than ourselves and that's why we are at present state.
The way forward is to have honest deliberations, address misconceptions, highlight lessons and solutions. This is the responsibility of GOP in fact. Why Pakistani nationals have to duke it out and/or berate each other in relevant exchanges? This is why we are in present state.

There is absolute lack of honest deliberations in relation to Operation Neptune Spear in Pakistan. Nobody wants to talk about how helicopters can be made to evade radar detection, conduct Electronic Warfare (EW) and more, and what was the situation of Pakistani defenses in the direction of Afghanistan back in 2011. Stealthy helicopter design(s) absolutely exist and there are well-documented examples of successful operations deep inside hostile environments with such articles in different wars. Is Pakistan an anomaly to Physics? On the flip side, there are lessons which can/could help inform Project Azm.

Another point-of-discussion is how some terrorists were able to reach and reside in Abbottabad. Umar Pattek was one of them and ISI nabbed him in 2011 (good thing). But what about efficacy of Police and interconnectivity between agencies? And what about Pakistani informants and/or facilitators? These themes are investigated at length in Abbottabad Commission Report which is in Public domain (anybody can Google it), but GOP does not want to talk about this document in Pakistan. Silence and denials are the way forward for Pakistan? Americans will continue to talk about this event and remind us.

Many countries are into Propaganda, PSYOP and cover-ups. Let us be honest with each other.

I never mentioned that the family of OBL was not there but I am sure more than 100% that the OBL was not.
See? If he wasn't there then what was his family doing in Abbottabad?


This information is all over the web in different sources.

And what was this:

Just a question, how US helicopter was destroyed and why none of US seals/crew died there? Don't give the lame excuse that after malfunctioning they destroyed it themselves.
Did you take your time to check the links I shared in my previous post?

To make a point:

There were no injuries in both cases.

Still assume that every helicopter crash is supposed to be fatal?

When two helicopters reached the compound, one of them crash-landed near a wall. The explosion occurred a while later (American troops called 3rd helicopter and destroyed crash-landed helicopter with explosives during departure). One of the locals could tell from noises that the explosion occurred at a later stage (video posted in my previous post). Therefore, American account might be true.

Why US miserably failed to handover the remains of OBL to the relatives or his native country for burial under Islamic tradition, but did the burial at sea?
Who will accept burial of a terrorist of his stature? Americans have thrown other terrorists into sea as well. Osama is not an exception.

Why US did not followed the same argument for Saddam Hussain?
1. Different administration
2. Saddam was a statesman. His trial was carried out by Iraqi courts and open to Public access.

These are all dramas the liars king of world is performing at the world stage.
Allah Almighty knows who are liars, and who are not.

Let me tell you something. This source (The Drive) helped debunk Indian account of shooting down a PAF F-16 in Operation Swift Retort.

Threads were opened in relation.


Acceptable to us when its disclosures favor Pakistani positions? Propaganda otherwise?

One country cannot be lying about everything all the time. This is asinine assumption.

Ah ... lastly, how they portrays the role of PA in Black Hawk Down? Only as 'water tenders' when so called 'heros' arrives at the base.
Hollywood Films are creative works (not factual), and I do not take them seriously.

Hollywood Film about Operation Neptune Spear is Zero Dark Thirty. It is work of fiction in large part.


How US deliberately killed the PA soldier at Pak-Afghan border just to say it happened in error and even didn't apologised.
Salala was terrible development; no Pakistani remember it in good terms. Me neither.

It is clearly mentioned in multiple sources that USA and Pakistan were on bad terms in times of Obama administration. There are detailed accounts of what was happening behind-the-scenes. If you are interested, I can provide links to you.

Events such as Raymond Davis, Operation Neptune Spear, and Salala did not happen in vaccum. These were but symptoms of tensions between USA and Pakistan at the time. You need to sharpen your searching skills.

How US killed scores of doctors and patients alike at a hospital raid in Afghanistan, that was also in error?
So don't get blinded by the flash of white but to think and think how the things unfold and in what scenario or backdrop.
This isn't sound argument.


Hamartia Antidote

Nov 17, 2013
United States
United States
Lmao f16 escorted them out of Pakistani airspace and the pilot comes up with a convoluted story about how his superior tactics saved the day.

cool story bro.

I'm not buying this story of a helicopter evading a jet. That's as silly as saying a WW2 fighter evading a modern jet. The only evading was the F16 trying to not stall out as he perfectly lines up the helicopter pilot's head with his gun.

Metal 0-1

Aug 14, 2016
Hmm. You forgot about family members of Osama Bin Laden.


Let me guess. They were summoned from Tora Bora to partake in this "topic drama."


And what about Dr. Shakil Afridi? Why is he rotting in jail?

This wasn't a photo op session for Public consumption.

There are numerous pointers in Public domain.

This matter is probed and discussed at length in Abbottabad Comission Report as well.

Fake Hollywood set in Abottabad with a large sized toy helicopter in the compound? This gets better by the year...


You can write a better script than Alex Jones. Credit where due.
Even after the raid they PA nicely loaded chpper remains on a truck, covered with a tarp. Didn't let anyone to take a picture and handed over to US.

Gillani and Zardari had the audacity of congratulating Obama on this Op rather than protesting the violation of Airspace. These bright minded Generals of army, intelligence and civil leadership invited US troops in country to kill one guy.

No one ever thought that we should make a deal even if there was no OBL but Osama's aides were present. Should have handed them over in return for something big.
Last edited:


Mar 8, 2019
Another point-of-discussion is how some terrorists were able to reach and reside in Abbottabad.
yes nobody ever talked about it, most probably because of help from insiders and is it true that team of women were on the mission to hunt OBL for more than a decade?


Jan 1, 2021
If any foreign military aircraft enter Pakistani airspace. First give them a warning if they dont listen blow them the fu*k out of the sky.

Trango Towers

Oct 29, 2016
United Kingdom
Bin Laden Raid Pilot Says Unique Marine Air-To-Air Course Likely Saved Him From Pakistani F-16s
Ten years after the historic mission, we learn how a Marine course in air-to-air helicopter combat may have saved a Chinook from being shot down.

By tyler rogoway and jamie hunter May 3, 2021

hen U.S. Special Operations forces raided Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, now a decade ago, years of special training and experience combined to overcome a host of potentially devastating events, including the crash of a specially equipped Black Hawk helicopter and threats from the Pakistani Air Force, to ultimately achieve the desired end result of the mission. Retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Douglas Englen flew with the elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment and played a critical role in Operation Neptune's Spear. He credits skills he learned while taking part in an elite U.S. Marine Corps training course as being critical to the success of the mission.
Englen piloted an MH-47G Chinook during the operation, helping to bring in a quick reaction force to the compound after one of two Black Hawks crashed. Having arrived on the scene, his crew joined the effort to help load up Bin Laden’s body and items of potential intelligence interest from the compound, before departing for Afghanistan.


US Army

An MH-47 spins up for a mission.

However, Englen and his fellow crew members then faced a further, potentially lethal, threat. He disclosed last year that as his MH-47 and the remaining helicopters fled the scene, he was faced with a Pakistan Air Force F-16 Viper, which he says attempted to “engage” his MH-47G at least three times. This is from our previous report on the revelations:



A Pakistani Air Force F-16B Viper.

In a more recent interview with The Hot Wash YouTube show, which is hosted by another veteran of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR), Alex Bertelli, Englen again touched on the historic mission and offers new details on how he and his teammates evaded the prowling Pakistani F-16. He specifically credits the U.S. Marine Corps’ Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) Course, which is hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1), as having played a critical part in ensuring he bought his MH-47G and crew home safely.

“The biggest thing is they teach you how to fly [...] a helicopter against an adversary, [sic] a jet. So air-to-air combat,” he explained. “Air-to-air combat with a jet and a helicopter, [and] helicopter to helicopter. Those are the techniques that brought myself and the crew home on the evening of May 1, 2011.”

Englen flew with the 160th SOAR, also known as the “Nightstalkers,” between 1998 and 2020, and he accrued an astonishing 2,500-plus missions with this elite unit, making him one of its most experienced aviators, ever. Englen was a lead planner for the Bin Laden raid, and he says that losing an aircraft was one of the primary concerns. He calls the WTI course the “TOPGUN of the Marines,” and explains that the 160th is allowed to attend the three-month course as a guest unit to enable “Nightstalker” crews to learn how to be Tactics Instructors.


U.S. Army/SSgt Reed Knutson

An MH-47G of the 160th SOAR.

In an exclusive exchange with The War Zone, Chief Warrant Officer Englen further explains how he came to attend the WTI course and the associated benefits to the U.S. Army:
TWZ: How did you end up at WTI? Is the 160th SOAR a usual participant?
DE: I was insisted by my Battalion Commander to attend with an entire crew [two pilots and two crewchiefs] with an MH-47E in order to learn tactics and train 160th Chinook crews. The 160th and WTI has had a long-standing exchange aviator partnership.
TWZ: What was different about the training evolution compared to those you had taken part in in the past? Does the U.S. Army have anything similar to WTI?
DE: The training evolutions in the past have been short in duration covering similar courseware, but not at the level of long-term dedication (three-month-long courses at WTI). The Army has somewhat similar classroom training courses but doesn’t have the application stage. The Army does standardize the operational flight lead and air mission commander qualifications like WTI.


US Army

MH-47s during a training sortie.

TWZ: What type of defensive air-to-air tactics do they cover? How can a helicopter defend itself against a fighter and other threats?
DE: Air-to-air defense tactics are covered both academically and dynamically [hands-on]. We take our helicopter and fly it against other helicopters and jets to practice in teams. Multiple scenarios [head-on, offset, rear, etc] are developed to cover all aspects. Helicopters don’t have much for air defense other than terrain masking and concealment.
TWZ: Does the Army have a similar air-to-air syllabus or training evolution? How do the Marines train differently than the Army in regard to helicopter tactics?
DE: The Army only covers academic tactics courses. In fact, the Army consistently sends Army personnel to WTI because of the application phase. The Army course trains primarily electronic warfare and missile defense spectrums. Not the detailed flight lead and air mission commander designations/qualifications.



MH-47 cockpit.

TWZ: This training ended up proving itself extremely useful. How did it translate into real-world operations?
DE: WTI teaches that relying on the basics is critical. Then blend in technology to gain a competitive advantage. The basics are what saved my life in many situations.
TWZ: Do you think this training should be standard for all military combat helicopter pilots?
DE: Absolutely. But, this is very resource-intensive. The Marine Corps has made this a priority, which I think the Army should as well and let the trainers train at the unit level. The scale is much larger for the Army, but would be beneficial if tactics could be training ‘hands-on’.


Jamie Hunter

The Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course at MCAS Yuma included the AH-1W in the past, but has now consolidated on the newer AH-1Z.

The WTI course at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma in Arizona continues to teach crews from all over the Marine Corps, including heavy-lift helicopters, such as Marine CH-53s, as well as those of attack/escort types such as the AH-1 Cobra, and select visiting units in all areas of tactical employment. The last AH-1W WTI course was completed in 2019, and the Cobra syllabus now concentrates on the newer AH-1Z.
“Air-to-air tactics were taught not only at MAWTS-1 in Yuma, Arizona, but also by squadron WTIs,” a retired U.S. Marine Corps AH-1 Cobra Weapons and Tactics Instructor told The War Zone in a separate interview. “Evasive maneuvering was also taught, but mostly to the transport helicopters. We flew against Marine and Navy fixed-wing. Cobras were expected to protect the transports against all threats to include enemy jet fighters.”
“I retired in 2002, but remember the Defensive Air Combat Maneuvering [DACM] training. I always enjoyed these flights and especially the debriefing with our adversaries. Cobras were always underestimated and we enjoyed busting the jet guy’s bubble,” said the pilot. “As a young 1st Lieutenant in the mid-1980s, I remember when our AH-1J Cobras received the AIM-9 Sidewinder air-to-air missile modification. The air-to-air warfare training had just begun,” he added, referring to his old unclassified AH-1W Tactics Manual.



An AH-1Z carries a live Sidewinder on its stub-wing tip rail. The importance of rotary-wing counter-air missions has increased recently due to threats from a more diverse set of airborne platforms, including drones.

“There were many training detachments from Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, California that were specifically for Cobra-versus-helicopter DACM and Cobra-versus-fixed-wing fighters, he continued. “In fact, Marine Cobras were the first U.S. attack helicopters to have this capability, perhaps the world’s first? All of our tactics manuals were updated to include air-to-air warfare, but these were initially all F-4 Phantom II tactics and all of the diagrams were F-4s, not Cobras!”
“We found that helicopter-versus-helicopter — aircraft with similar capabilities — greatly heightened the variables,” he recalled. “Maintaining energy, maneuvering your section [flight of two], or division [flight of four], to provide mutual support became very important. Helicopter-on-helicopter reminded me of the World War I dogfights but flown much much closer to the ground. While we were armed with a turreted 20mm cannon; its slow rate of fire made it a poor air-to-air weapon. Our 2.75-inch rockets could be used like a shotgun!”
Author's Note: the rate of fire of the AH-1W's M197 cannon is fixed at 650 rounds per minute.


Jamie Hunter

An AH-1W pilot checks the M197 cannon.

Fully understanding the strengths and weaknesses of opposing aircraft is extremely important in DACM, and these details were very much limited to the classified version of the tactics manual. The AH-1 Cobra's greatest advantage over a fixed-wing aircraft was the turn capability. “A helicopter can out-turn any fixed-wing aircraft,” the pilot explained. He adds that a big advantage for the rotary-wing crews was the lack of training that fixed-wing crews had versus helicopters in this kind of engagement.
“Generally, they greatly underestimated our training and capabilities. Our use of the terrain helped limit the jet’s air-to-air missile capabilities and often gave us the advantage of seeing them first,” he said. “The greatest weapon that a jet could use against us was their bombs! They would try to frag us. Their best option was to make one bombing pass. If they made the mistake of making repeated passes, or trying to engage us in a turning fight, they were in for a surprise.”


U.S. Marine Corps/LCpl Eryn Rudolph

An AH-1Z carrying an inert AIM-9L Sidewinder.

The AH-1’s best chance of successfully employing its two AIM-9 Sidewinders in a head-to-head pass because a fighter might be able to outrun a tail shot.
Fighter pilots tend to be exposed to very limited opportunities to regularly practice techniques against large transport aircraft or helicopters. Both the transport aircraft and the helicopters can employ clever bespoke tactics that can bring sufficient spacing or terrain into play to help evade the enemy.
As was partly the case in the Bin Laden raid, electronic countermeasures also play an increasing role in these types of engagements, although traditional flying tactics and techniques can still be used to help achieve the desired effect.
For Douglas Englen, a combination of the two appears to have saved his MH-47G and the personnel inside on that dark night over Northern Pakistan, thanks in part to the Marine Corps' Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course. We can only wonder what would have been if he never received this unique training. What went down in the history books as an incredibly successful mission and a cultural touchstone, could have become known for far less triumphant reasons.

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