A commercial satellite has spotted a mysterious Unmanned Aerial Vehicle parked at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, California. The orbital snapshot was reportedly taken on Dec. 4, but became public only last week in a blog post by George Kaplan, a self-described “open-source” intelligence analyst who relies solely on publicly available imagery.
Archived posts with tag ‘UAV’
New Stealth Drone Spotted?
Is it a damaged RQ-170 Sentinel? A one-off and retired prototype? Or a copy of a brand-new frontline stealth drone emerging from Lockheed’s Palmdale plant?
Prepare the dissection table. Iran says it’s planning to disassemble its prized acquisition: a CIA-operated drone that apparently crashed on its territory. Its goal: to learn how the drone, apparently a stealth RQ-170 Sentinel, evades radar and how its top-secret sensors work. Which has the U.S. worried about Iran copying its advanced flying robot. ”There is the potential for reverse engineering, clearly,” U.S. Air Force Chief Gen. Norton Schwartz conceded.
The Diplomat: Iran Downs U.S. Drone?
Iran claims to have shot down one of the U.S. Air Force’s most secretive aerial drones. The alleged shoot-down, if true, has serious implications for regional security and for the Air Force’s growing arsenal of unmanned vehicles.
Offiziere.ch: Air Power’s Robotic Future: An Interview with Northrop Grumman’s Carl Johnson
The future of aerial warfare was on dramatic display on Feb. 4 at Edwards Air Force Base in California. At around 2:00 PM local time, a 38-foot-long, bat-shaped, jet-powered robotic aircraft lifted off from the runway and climbed to 5,000 feet. The Unmanned Aerial Vehicle orbited the airfield for 30 minutes before descending to a flawless, autonomous landing.
Pilotless warplanes are proliferating across the Pacific. This poses a big problem for U.S. defense planners, according to one retired U.S. Air Force general.
It was another big week for China’s aerospace industry. Leaked photos, apparently taken in Chengdu, confirmed the existence of a large Unmanned Aerial Vehicle sporting a rare “joined-wing” configuration.
It was another big reveal in a long history of them. Six months after the Chinese air force let the first photos of its new stealth fighter leak online, Beijing’s military has “accidentally” showed off another secretive weapon system: a small drone, apparently used to scout ahead of China’s fast-growing fleet of warships.
The Chinese Navy’s annual sortie through the disputed waters between the Japanese islands Okinawa and Miyakojima held a surprise for foreign observers. Japanese forces tailing the 11-strong Chinese fleet spotted a previously unknown Chinese weapon system: a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, apparently launched from the deck of a Chinese warship.
When the pilotless, wing-shaped warplane lifted off a runway at California’s Edwards Air Force Base for the first time on the morning of April 27, it was like the resurrection of the dead. The Boeing Phantom Ray — one of the most advanced drones ever built — came close to never flying at all.
Taking down an enemy’s air defenses — his radars, missile launchers and command centers — is a prerequisite for large-scale air campaigns. Today, jet fighters packing radar-seeking missiles do the heavy-lifting in the so-called “Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses” mission. In the future, that dangerous task might fall on stealthy drones armed with electronics-frying microwave weapons.
Dave Dietsch from the U.S. Air Force Association advocacy group is worried about the future. Specifically, he’s worried that the U.S. military will lose its traditional air-defense prowess, rendering vulnerable thousands of American drones, attack planes, spy planes, transports and helicopters. “Without enough modern fighters to control the skies over future battlefields, American soldiers and Marines will lose the vital information and support these systems provide,” he wrote in a newspaper editorial. “Losing the air power edge — ever — would be inconceivably costly in the lives of American ground troops.”