Most expected Osama bin Laden’s death — if he were to be caught at all — to come at the hands of a stealthy predator drone blast. But when details began emerging that a super-elite team of military operatives infiltrated the terrorist leader’s high-walled compound in Pakistan, the nation’s imagination became ensnared by action-hero fantasies of some Jason Bourne/Rambo/Jack Bauer hybrid charged with one clear objective: We need his body as proof.
Business Insider has a report detailing the covert arms utilized by Seal Team 6 — the small, mysterious assemblage of super soldiers who pulled off the world’s biggest mission in a tiny 45 minute window. We also consulted a former SEAL and weapons expert with experience as an Ordinance Department Head to detail some of the equipment actually used after the team stormed in. (More on Time.com: See photos of the crowds at Ground Zero)
“Once the first shots were fired it would have been white lights and going loud,” he tells me.”We would stay black if silence was the primary goal, but this is not the case since they fast roped into the compound. Fox says they rappelled, but they probably did not as it’s way too time consuming.”
MH-60 Helicopters – Four of these modified $28M helicopters were used to transport Seal Team 6. Dubbed by its Sikorsky manufacturers as a maritime workhorse, the dual-engined copters are typically used for combat search & rescue as well as special warfare support missions. The special ops forces likely fast-roped in with guns blazing after dispensing a few choice flashbangs.
MP-7’s, Mk-46’s, or Mk-48 lightweight machine guns – FPS gamers are probably familiar with a few of these models, which are used to render body armor largely ineffective. Essentially scaled down assault rifles, lightweight machine guns were probably used to provide the primary means of firepower without hindering the soldiers’ mobility — a must for close-quarters combat.
(More on Time.com: See pictures of Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout)
SIG Sauer P226 – These standardized semi-automatic pistols are used by SEAL operatives for close range situations, and typically come engraved with an anchor to designate them as Naval Special Warfare Pistols (even though the mission took place well away from any waterways).
Thermal Vision Goggles – Business Insider guesses that thermal vision goggles were probably used, though the exact model wasn’t disclosed. The goggles can either be helmet mounted or used by hand to track enemies through smoke and other foggy obstructions. “Night vision would have been PVS-15’s or 17’s (Bino or two eyes) or PVS-18’s (single eye),” our expert tells me. “I dont think they would have had thermals as they are a bit bulky. They would have relied on the thermal capability of the [helicopters]. Once they were on the ground they would have been white lighting it and moving way too fast to rely heavily on Night Vision.”
In addition, it’s reported that facial recognition software and DNA tests were conducted by the soldiers to confirm Osama’s identity. His body has been treated according to Islamic law, and was then buried out at sea.
More on TIME.com: