Air Force Admits Existence of Outed Skunkworks Stealth Drone
A U.S. Air Force official provides details on the mysterious aircraft spotted in Afghanistan
A mysterious, unidentified drone that bore strong resemblance to previous stealth aircraft has finally been revealed. The U.S. Air Force confirmed its existence and identity to the Aviation Week last Friday, after photos circulating online had caused much speculation among defense buffs.
Informally dubbed the "Beast of Kandahar," the tailless flying wing apparently is an RQ-170 Sentinel designed to provide recon and surveillance for warfighters on the frontlines. Online photos had shown the drone at a General Atomics Aeronautical Systems's hangar in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
The 30th Reconnaissance Squadron also operates the RQ-170 at Tonopah Test Range -- a location perhaps better known as Area 52 -- under the aegis of Creech Air Force Base in Nevada.
|Sighted: A Secret US Aircraft in Afghanistan|
|UK Calls For a Transforming, Laser-Toting Stealth UAV|
|Lockheed Debuts New Stealth Drone Concept|
TagsTechnology, Jeremy Hsu, air force, drones, reapers, robots, RQ-170, skunk works, uas, unmanned aerial systems
The Ares technology blog points out that the stealth features suggest a drone meant for tactical operations in support of combat troops, rather than sneaky intelligence-gathering.
Meanwhile, the UK has launched its own call for a laser-toting stealth UAS. We'll let you know when those designs leak out.
[via Ares: Aviation Week]