Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/9/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Designed to operate in combat environments, the RQ-180 represents a leap forward in drone technology.

Aviation Week has revealed the existence of a super-secret drone aircraft operating out of Area 51. The craft is said to be an ultra-secret high-altitude, stealth spy drone known as the RQ-180.

The secret hangar at Area 51 which is likely the home of the RQ-180, for now.

The secret hangar at Area 51 which is likely the home of the RQ-180, for now.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/9/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Area 51, spy plane, ultra-secret, RQ-180, drone, combat, black, project, Northrop Grumman


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Aviation Week has come out with the story of the RQ-180 and is quoting defense officials as saying the program will begin routine operation in 2015. Dubbed the UAS for Unmanned Aerial System, the craft is probably a larger, upgraded version of the RQ-170.

You may remember the RQ-170 because one crashed in Iran last year and was also reportedly used to spy on Osama bin Laden before the raid that killed him.

Aviation Week says the Air Force as well as Northrop Grumman have denied interviews but others with inside knowledge say the craft represents a revolutionary leap in drone technology.

Until now, drones have been designed for use in "permissive" airspace. Airspace such as over Iraq and Afghanistan where the risk of interception by hostile forces is virtually nil. Now, the new generation of drone aircraft, likely spearheaded by the RQ-180, is designed to operate in "contested" or "denied" airspace, using Air Force terminology. This means the craft can probably operate undetected over technologically advanced, hostile nations.

The RQ-180 is intended for active use in combat airspace. It is also rumored to be capable of carrying weapons payload inside bomb bays.

An artistic rendition of the RQ-180 from Aviation Week.

An artistic rendition of the RQ-180 from Aviation Week.


The program has been suspected since 2008 when Aviation Week examined Northrop Grumman's financial reports. According to the magazine, "Northrop Grumman's financial reports point to a possible award of a secret UAS contract in 2008, when the company disclosed a $2 billion increase in the backlog in its Integrated Systems division. This is the operating unit responsible for building the B-2 bomber, Global Hawk and Fire Scout UAS and X-47B unmanned combat air system (UCAS) demonstrator. This year, Northrop Grumman financial reports acknowledged that an unnamed aircraft program entered low-rate initial production, the Pentagon term for low-volume deliveries that begin as testing nears completion and before the program is approved for full production."

Other evidence includes an expansion of the company's hangars in Palmdale to possibly accommodate an aircraft with a 130 ft. or greater wingspan. The company also upgraded its production facilities in 2010.

Several high-ranking officials both in Congress and the Air Force have alluded to "higher priorities" than expansion of current, known drone programs such as Global Hawk, leading experts to wonder if the new programs were secret black projects. The RQ-180 could be the affirmative answer to that speculation-the money has been going there.

So why is the silence being broken?

Aviation week speculates that the existence of the program is being leaked because it will soon reach operational status. Once a black program becomes operational, it becomes difficult to maintain its secrecy. Area 51 could become the home base for the fleet of secret drones, but using that facility could impact other projects at the base. The reason is that when one project is operating outside, workers on other projects are confined inside. An active drone program could impact the time engineers and scientists have to work on other projects.

This means the Air Force will probably prefer to move the program to a more public facility where it is likely to be leaked anyway.

Also, commanders need to know what these programs are and what they capabilities may be. As more commanders are briefed on the program, secrecy becomes increasingly difficult, even burdensome.

The RQ-180 is rumored to be higher-flying, father ranged, and stealthier than any aircraft in the U.S. arsenal. It may be capable of in-flight refueling and can probably operate for days as opposed to hours. Several radical design changes have been made, although they may not be apparent to the untrained eye. The craft is rumored to have the classic "boomerang" shape featured in many stealth aircraft such as the B-2 bomber.

Although the program is now being acknowledged, and we will probably start seeing the first images of the craft within the next year or two, we can also rest assured that the government scientists are already at the drawing board, contemplating what's next.

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Technology

They're watching you! Digital peepholes face a fine line between security and invasion of privacy Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Sharing your thoughts, activities and whereabouts has never been easier and faster with the internet and connected devices. More and more people are sharing more of their daily lives that it's compelling to say that to know everything is becoming common and normal. ... continue reading


Innovative space invention promises to reach space locations in record times Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A once rejected drive can now revolutionize the entire outer space research, as NASA and several others confirmed this program actually works. The invention was previously rejected by scientists after it defied the physics concept of the conservation of momentum, ... continue reading


Is your phone in danger? Threatening malicious text message can hack Android's inner system Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With just a simple text message, your phone and all its data may be compromised without you even knowing. The core of this nightmare is at the heart of the operating system itself - Stagefright, an Android code library. Users currently have nothing much to protect ... continue reading


Pope Francis uses iPad to become first person registered for 2016's World Youth Day Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On Sunday, Pope Francis successfully became the first person registered for the 2016 edition of the World Youth Day, using an iPad. Before registering, he addressed thousands at the St. Peter's Square in an appeal for the release of an Italian Jesuit priest kidnapped ... continue reading


EARTH'S TWIN: Kepler 452b heralded as the most similar planet to Earth yet discovered Watch

Image of While Kepler-452b is larger than Earth, it's 385-day orbit is only five percent longer. Furthermore, the planet is five percent farther from its parent star Kepler-452 than Earth is from the sun.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Kepler-452b has astronomers calling the planet "the closest twin to Earth" they have yet seen. The planet is the smallest world found orbiting in the habitable zone of a star. Kepler-452b orbits its star at approximately the same distance that Earth orbits the ... continue reading


Solar system similar to ours discovered by astronomers Watch

Image of Researchers believe the ideal habitable exoplanet would reside in a solar system that mirrors ours. A

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In an new astronomical study on the search for "solar system 2.0" - a solar system that is similar to our own, and therefore more likely of sustaining life, scientists have made an exciting new discovery. Such a solar system exists, some 200 light years away, and ... continue reading


'Bee Hive' Skyscraper cities: The future for overpopulated areas Watch

Image of Bee Hive skyscraper cities are expected to put a halt to urbanization in the future.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The future of urban living is about to change with the conceptualization of "Bee Hive" skyscrapers set up to house communities in urban areas. An entire city within a single skyscraper is the futuristic solution to population density problems in the major cities of the ... continue reading


PLAYING GOD?: High-quality artificial sperm manufactured by Chinese scientists for the first time Watch

Image of They don't have tails and can't swim. The new artificial sperm - created for the first time by Chinese scientists, look more like eggs than natural sperm.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They don't have tails and can't swim. The new artificial sperm - created for the first time by Chinese scientists, look more like eggs than natural sperm. However, they can still fertilize an egg and pass on genetic information to potential offspring. LOS ... continue reading


Candles for your Mobile Phones: Flame used to produce electricity can charge your mobile phones Watch

Image of The Candle Charger can generate electricity to charge your mobile phones.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Technology now provides a solution to untimely blackouts; mobile phones can now be charged even in the event of a power failure through the Candle Charger. With the heat produced by a candle, mobile devices can be charged and one can stay connected without ... continue reading


Smartphones getting smarter: Can your smartphone tell if you're depressed? Watch

Image of Your Smartphones can be a black box of your emotions. (Photo by: Jovo Jovanovic for Stocksy United)

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Changes in technology have greatly affected the advancement of society. It has also affected how we live our lives. Technological advances have started to seclude human beings from real life experiences that they should be facing on a daily basis. Recent studies ... continue reading


All Technology News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Numbers 12:1-13
1 Miriam, and Aaron too, criticised Moses over the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 6-7, 12-13
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 14:22-36
22 And at once he made the disciples get into the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 4th, 2015 Image

St. John Vianney
August 4: St. John Vianney, Priest (Patron of priests) Feast day - August ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter