Skip to comments.US Air Force Has Secretly Built a New Stealth Drone(Shhh!)
Posted on 12/09/2013 3:09:57 AM PST by lbryce
The US Air Force has secretly developed a new stealth drone for long-range reconnaissance missions that could be operational by 2015, according to a report Friday in an industry magazine.
The unmanned drone, dubbed RQ-180, is currently in the testing phase at the top secret Groom Lake air base in Nevada -- the infamous "Area 51" where the Air Force tested the U2 spy planes in the late 1950s, Aviation Week said.
The Air Force refused to comment when contacted by AFP.
The new aircraft was reportedly built by Northrop Grumann, the company behind the Global Hawk and the X-47B drones, which landed on air craft carriers for the first time this summer.
The US company may have obtained in 2008 a secret contract on the order of $2 billion to develop the latest drone, according to Aviation Week.
An artistic rendering of the RQ-180 on the cover of the magazine shows a craft with striking resemblance to the X-47B, in particular in lack of rear stabilizer and its so-called "batwing" shape.
It was developed for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, but "could also be capable of electronic attack missions," the magazine said.
"It is similar in size and endurance to the Global Hawk," which can fly for 24 hours up to 1,200 nautical miles (2,000 kilometers) from its base.
A first generation of unmanned aircraft, the non-stealthy Reapers and Global Hawks, were used in Afghanistan and Iraq, but they were deemed too vulnerable in enemy territory equipped with powerful anti-aircraft defenses.
Now the Air Force is slowly turning to stealth drones, better at passing safely over unfriendly territory.
In December 2011, a spy drone that had until then been secret, the RQ-170 Sentinel, crashed 155 miles (250 kilometers) inside Iranian air space.
The unmanned craft, which had taken off from Afghanistan, was on a mission to observe Iran's nuclear sites for the CIA, according to US press reports.
According to Aviation Week, the new RQ-180 "eclipses the smaller, less stealthy and shorter-range RQ-170 Sentinel."
Read the Aviation Week article in detail here:Aviation Week:December 6, 2013-EXCLUSIVE: Secret New UAS Shows Stealth, Efficiency Advances
I sure hope they have better engineers than the guys that created the drone that landed in Iran a while back! What an epic screw up :-( I still find the story about that drone hard to swallow.
I think the single engine from the global hawk is identical to the engines from the CitationX .. It’s the AE 3007 turbofan.
I believe that some large drones in use now are capable of launching small drones to handle various tasks near the ground while they remain at high altitude.
Redesign a small stealth drone to be a small, quiet cruise missile with a nuke. Evidence is vaporized in the explosion.
You are talking Israeli tech now...
barry: “My military”.
How about announcing “formerly secret” like they use “alleged school shooter”
“.......secretly developed a new stealth drone”.
“How about announcing formerly secret like they use alleged school shooter.
I add the same question, if it is soooooo “secret” why are we reading this article?
No worries the blue prints will be give to the Russians and Chinese as a jester of good faith.
GREAT. And WHEN will Obama’s Ton Ton Macoutes in the Homeland Security Department be deploying this against Americans?
This drone was probably allowed to go public because it is obsolete and the modern much more advanced one that has replaced it you won’t hear about for a few more years.
Still available for domestic use against enemies of the state, though.
I’m sure. Actually, the replacement drone will probably get some peripheral press coverage in places like Coast-to-Coast when the UFO sightings increase or change a tad.
You know, it's an amazing fact. Whenever I meet Haitians I come across in the city, I'll always make the commment that I'm from the Ton Ton Macoute. What's amazing is the older generation will laugh uproariously at the very idea, that I even know, heard of the Ton Ton Macoute.
And, as I said, amazingly, any Haitian I meet under a certain age will have absolutely no idea, no idea whatosoever, who, what the Ton Ton Macoute ever was.
And soo-prise, soo-prise, it looks just like The Phoenix Lights.
That, and there’s been a lot of griping about the cutbacks in the Global Hawk buys AND successful pressure to continue the U-2 program.
The release is timed to counter both those things by presenting a stealthy platform that is inferred as a replacement for Global Hawks and U-2s.
This is kinda how the USAF retired the SR-71s in the early 1990s. Made a lot of noise about an operational or near operational black world replacment.
Sur-Prize, Sur-Prize! ‘Gomer Pyle’ is in the house! :-) It made me laugh to how Jim Nabors who starred in the 60’s comedy is as gay as a pink tutu, it hit me how the name ‘Gomer Pyle’ has a particular gay resonance to it.
Nabors was a lot like Raymond Burr, in that they never made a big deal out of it, and were generally friendly, courteous, and professional to others. Which makes up for a lot, especially in a cutthroat place like Hollywood.
I also like to note that the character Gomer Pyle figures in to the “1960s sitcoms conspiracy theory”. First and foremost, in the series he was being trained to be a USMC *sniper*, to be sent to Vietnam. This, less than a year after another former USMC marksman had been in the news for his rifle ability.
Somewhere between that and a Cylon Raider...