Unmasking the RQ-180Posted by Jen DiMascio 7:16 AM on Dec 06, 2013
The Air Force has long debated how to conduct penetrating intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions since the venerable, high-speed SR-71 retired in 1998. But despite the need and a lingering requirement, no visible progress toward that goal was made. That’s because the highly classified aircraft – the RQ-180 – has been developed by Northrop Grumman in secret.
Amy and Bill’s report is accompanied by both an interactive timeline and a family tree, highlighting the evolution of U.S. stealth UASs.
They explain in an additional story how the new UAS fits within the context of the Air Force’s plans for a future family of aircraft capable of conducting intelligence and strike missions.
Also, don’t miss Bill’s opinion column, ‘Commander’s Intent’ from earlier this year, explaining why UAVs need stealth, and why secrecy can be counter-productive