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Unmasked: Area 51's Biggest, Stealthiest Spy Drone Yet
Foreign Policy ^ | 6 Dec | Zach Rosenberg

Posted on 12/06/2013 2:27:20 PM PST by mandaladon

The drone that spied on bin Laden and on Iran's nukes was just the start. Meet its bigger, higher-flying, stealthier cousin, the Northrop Grumman RQ-180. It's probably been flying for a few years now, but you weren't supposed to know that; the existence of this secret project, based out of Area 51, was revealed Friday by Aviation Week.

The existence of the RQ-180 has been long rumored. Cryptic public statements by U.S. Air Force officials indicated a secret high-altitude reconnaissance drone, and Northrop officials frequently reference the broad strokes of the program. For that matter, it is likely not the only classified unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV. Other companies, including Lockheed and Boeing, also have a stable of smaller secretaircraft.

The RQ-180 is likely flying from the secret Air Force test facility at Groom Lake, Nevada, widely known as Area 51. Its exact specifications, including such crucial details as the number of engines, is unknown, but Aviation Week suggests a wingspan of over 130 feet, based on hangar construction at Northrop's Palmdale, California facility. The number of aircraft built is also unknown; however, a flight test program, relatively quick entry into service and open budget documents suggest a small fleet are flying routinely. One such aircraft is Lockheed's RQ-170, first shown to the world in grainy pictures from Kandahar air base, Afghanistan, but only officially acknowledged after one crashed almost-intact in Iran. The RQ-170 was (and maybe still is) tasked by the CIA to spy on Iran's contentious nuclear program. The drone was reportedly used to spy on Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan before and during the raid that killed him. RQ-170 has also been reported in South Korea, possibly to look at North Korea's nuclear program. RQ-170 was impressive, but limited:

(Excerpt) Read more at killerapps.foreignpolicy.com ...


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: aerospace; aviation; drones; sr71
rq180 photo rq_180_aviationweekconcept_0.jpg..................This is it
1 posted on 12/06/2013 2:27:20 PM PST by mandaladon
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To: mandaladon

This means that it’s obsolete.

Whatever replaced it is top secret.................


2 posted on 12/06/2013 2:30:22 PM PST by Red Badger (Proud member of the Zeta Omicron Tau Fraternity since 2004...................)
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To: Red Badger

and Stealthier.


3 posted on 12/06/2013 2:32:52 PM PST by SandRat (Duty - Honor - Country! What else needs said?)
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To: mandaladon
"This is it"

Where? I can't see it.

4 posted on 12/06/2013 2:35:38 PM PST by Flag_This (Liberalism: Kills countries dead.)
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To: mandaladon

Hey, that looks like something that flew over recently while at deer camp. Or maybe it was spending too much time looking for deer that I started to see things and the effects of Leinenkugel’s started the hallucinations,and other delusions of reality. Did not even see a doe or a buck! Asked by someone what did you get at deer camp - chapped lips and wind burn.


5 posted on 12/06/2013 2:38:56 PM PST by hondact200 (Candor dat viribos alas (sincerity gives wings to strength) and Nil desperandum (never despair))
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To: SandRat

True Dat!..............


6 posted on 12/06/2013 2:39:29 PM PST by Red Badger (Proud member of the Zeta Omicron Tau Fraternity since 2004...................)
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To: mandaladon

Twenty years out of date.


7 posted on 12/06/2013 2:43:24 PM PST by AceMineral (Some people are slaves of their own stupidity.)
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To: Red Badger

8 posted on 12/06/2013 2:43:33 PM PST by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: EveningStar

Aviation list ping.


9 posted on 12/06/2013 3:00:45 PM PST by Rodamala
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To: mandaladon
or better known as Aviation LEAK and Space Technology...
10 posted on 12/06/2013 3:07:03 PM PST by Chode (Stand UP and Be Counted, or line up and be numbered - *DTOM* -vvv- NO Pity for the LAZY - 86-44)
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To: mandaladon

Predator “B” Still can Rock You’re World!


11 posted on 12/06/2013 3:14:11 PM PST by Big Red Badger ( - William Diamonds Drum - can You Hear it G man?)
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To: mandaladon; 04-Bravo; 1FASTGLOCK45; 1stFreedom; 2ndDivisionVet; 2sheds; 60Gunner; 6AL-4V; ...
Aviation and Aerospace ping

Click here to view: Highlights in the History of Aviation and Aerospace - The Past, The Present, and The Future

Please ping me to aviation and aerospace articles. Thank you.

If you want added to or removed from this ping list, please contact EveningStar or Paleo Conservative.

12 posted on 12/06/2013 3:27:17 PM PST by EveningStar
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To: Yosemitest

If they are showing you a picture of it, it’s NOT
the latest thing.


13 posted on 12/06/2013 3:38:58 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: tet68

You just can’t trust the ILLEGAL ALIEN IN CHIEF to keep a secret.


14 posted on 12/06/2013 3:40:27 PM PST by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: Yosemitest
He won't know about it until MSLSD reports it.

You heard it here first. Before he did. He may never hear about it.

15 posted on 12/06/2013 3:55:16 PM PST by TigersEye (Stupid is a Progressive disease.)
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To: mandaladon

Next is the SR-72. The new Stealth is speed.


16 posted on 12/06/2013 4:07:34 PM PST by Rappini (Veritas vos Liberabit)
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To: TigersEye

He doesn’t even hear what comes out of his own mouth.


17 posted on 12/06/2013 4:08:32 PM PST by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: Yosemitest
Just the long vowel sounds...

I I I I I I I

Me e e e e e e

18 posted on 12/06/2013 4:11:58 PM PST by TigersEye (Stupid is a Progressive disease.)
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To: mandaladon

There is your triangular ufo that many folks have been seeing for years...I wonder if that is the one that buzzed the Belgians.


19 posted on 12/06/2013 4:20:59 PM PST by mdmathis6
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To: mandaladon

Any idea how slow this thing can go?

I saw a triangle aircraft going very slow tonight at or less than 2k feet. It was not a helicopter and had some triangular shaped structure all the way around. It was blinking red and white aviation lights(i.e. it wasn’t a UFO) but it was creeping along in the very low cloud deck here in north NJ.

When I say creeping, I mean it was not keeping pace with my car and I was going 50ish in roughly the same direction. It was very strange.


20 posted on 12/06/2013 5:24:32 PM PST by Malsua
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To: Malsua

It could have been a drone or other radio controlled aircraft. Unless you know the size of the object, you cannot guess its distance or speed.


21 posted on 12/06/2013 5:43:17 PM PST by JohnnyP
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To: hondact200

’ that looks like something that flew over recently while at deer camp.’

Was that the second week of deer camp?


22 posted on 12/06/2013 5:46:48 PM PST by Delta Dawn (Fluent in two languages: English and cursive.)
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To: mandaladon
It's so stealthy that even the Iranians have to put in a mild effort to obtain them....


23 posted on 12/06/2013 5:53:05 PM PST by Sirius Lee (All that is required for evil to advance is for government to do "something")
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To: JohnnyP
It could have been a drone or other radio controlled aircraft. Unless you know the size of the object, you cannot guess its distance or speed.

In a heavy downpour, several miles from the nearest home, in the dark, over a heavily wooded area...I doubt it was a radio controlled drone. The lights on it lit up the sky and the clouds around it.

I've seen big quad/hex copters at night and it looked nothing like this. This craft was big, with aircraft landing lights on it, not some blinking LEDs.

24 posted on 12/06/2013 6:46:53 PM PST by Malsua
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To: Malsua

Sounds like a UAV (drone)...maybe some Amazon customer getting a delivery..../;)


25 posted on 12/06/2013 7:46:20 PM PST by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus sum -- "The Taliban is inside the building")
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To: Delta Dawn

yeah, it was the second week of deer camp. no luck with finding that elusive thirty point buck either.


26 posted on 12/07/2013 6:35:17 AM PST by hondact200 (Candor dat viribos alas (sincerity gives wings to strength) and Nil desperandum (never despair))
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To: mandaladon

27 posted on 12/07/2013 9:17:45 AM PST by oxcart (Journalism [sic])
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To: Yosemitest
X-47B compared to F-18.

youtube: X-47B Carrier takeoff and landing.

28 posted on 12/07/2013 12:11:05 PM PST by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: oxcart

Yep, looks like they took an X-47 design and modified it with long wings (like the U-2) for extremely high altitude flight.


29 posted on 12/07/2013 12:14:08 PM PST by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: PapaBear3625
I retired out of Eglin AFB and Duke Field, in 2000, and as a Control Tower Watch Supervisor, I had to work and protect the air traffic from these UAVs and Combat UAVs.
The X-47B is after my time, but I worked around many others.
30 posted on 12/08/2013 1:39:23 AM PST by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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To: Malsua
Search through this Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) page.
31 posted on 12/08/2013 1:49:05 AM PST by Yosemitest (It's Simple ! Fight, ... or Die !)
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