Dec 042012
 

“A Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel stealth unmanned aerial system spied on Osama bin Laden the night before the special operations unit raid that successfully killed bin Laden at his mansion compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, according to an initial report by the National Journal.

The U.S. Air Force has never released a photograph of the Sentinel, developed by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, but it does acknowledge its existence, earning it the nickname the “Beast of Kandahar,” after the airfield it operates out of in Afghanistan…

Though its capabilities have never been formally outlined, the mission suggests the Sentinel is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft, whose multiple secretive missions might have consistently been related to bin Laden. The RQ UAV designation indicates that the system did not carry any weapons. The stealth body of the aircraft lead experts to speculate that the system was being used either over Iran or Pakistan, since the Afghanistan Taliban, according to a 2009 AFP news agency report, does not use radar systems….

UAS attacks more than tripled under the Obama administration and the leadership of Leon Panetta in the CIA, particularly along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border…”

[Excerpts from a UAV organization this writer belongs to:]http://www.auvsi.org/AUVSI/AUVSI/News/fullarticles/Default.aspx#announcement0

The RQ-170 Sentinel is reported to be operated by the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron at Tonopah Test Range, Nevada under the Air Combat Command, 432nd Wing, Creech AFB, Nevada. It is said to be a Lockheed Skunk Works project.

You may recall that the Have Blue/F-117 Skunk Works designed aircraft flew out of Tonapah. Reports have it that the RQ-170 has been operating out of Kandahar since 2007.

More informtion available at:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/intell/systems/rq-170.htm

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2009/12/07/335875/usaf-reveals-rq-170-sentinel-is-new-stealth-uav.html

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Nov 112013
 

Boeing just revealed its most recent HALE (High Altitude Long Endurance) PHANTOM UAV. To read the Phantom’s performance goals of several days endurance at over 65,000ft is déjà vu all over again at the Hiller Aviation Museum. Suspended from the ceiling, the 1980s CONDOR spreads its magnificent 200ft wing span across the top of the entire museum’s displays.

Here; listen and read for yourself. The voice may be familiar, even if the facts are new.

Condor Final wav

http://hiller.org/condor.shtml

http://www.boeing.com/Features/2010/07/bds_feat_phantom_eye_07_12_10.html

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Dec 042012
 

It would seem that not only are Iranian UAVs of a sophisticated design, they could well pose the threat of a cruise-missile like weapons delivery system.

Below are excerpts and link.

The commander highlighted the growing applications of UAVs in Iran’s armed forces, and announced that the Air Force command headquarters plans to form a command-and-control center for UAVs.

The two hi-tech drones named ‘Ra’d’ (Thunder) and ‘Nazir’ (Harbinger) are capable of conducting long-range reconnaissance, patrolling, assault and bombing missions with high precision.

Fars News Agency :: Iranian Air Force to Deploy UAVs along Borders.

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