Skip to comments.This Unidentified Plane Flew Over California. The Air Force Won't Admit It Exists. ... It looks a lot like a stealthy bomber, but that's not what it is.
Posted on 11/06/2020 8:36:37 AM PST by Red Badger
A photograph appears to show a plane flying over Edwards Air Force base that's unlike any aircraft publicly acknowledged by the U.S. Air Force.
The aircraft appears similar to the RQ-180, a high-altitude spy drone.
The RQ-180s existence has never been confirmed by the U.S. Air Force.
The image (above) depicts a flying wing-shaped aircraft leaving a contrail in its wake. An observer reportedly took the photo while the aircraft was over the Military Operating Area at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
According to Aviation Week & Space Technology, the aircraft was flying in a racetrack pattern at an estimated altitude of 20,000 [feet].
The photo, along with a magnified version of the image, appeared on Instagram. The post was later taken down, but archived and reposted on Twitter, as seen above. Until I dot the 'I's and cross the 'T's!!, Rob Kolinsky (@sundownerstudios) wrote, then the picture will return!
The mystery aircraft, as Kolinsky points out, does indeed look like the new B-21 Raider bomber. The B-21 Raider is a new strategic bomber under development by Northrop Grumman.
The B-21 will eventually replace the B-1B Lancer and B-2 Spirit stealth bombers (but not the B-52) in Air Force service. The first aircraft is reportedly under construction and wont fly until 2022.
Concept art depicting the upcoming B-21 Raider bomber. Northrop Grumman
So, what is this thing? Aviation Week & Space Technology believes the aircraft looks like the RQ-180, a high-altitude, stealthy, uncrewed aerial vehicle operated by the Air Force. The RQ-180 is reportedly a long-endurance drone designed to conduct intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions against targets guarded by modern air defense forces. The drone is thought to be a twin-engine, unarmed, uncrewed aircraft that utilizes a flying wing design to minimize radar return.
RQ-4 Global Hawk drone with a "ED" tail code for Edwards Air Force Base. Getty ImagesGetty Images
The U.S. Military currently operates the RQ-4 Global Hawk for high-altitude reconnaissance missions, but the plane lacks the stealth to allow it to operate near modern air defenses. In June 2019, Irannot exactly a giant in the world of air defenseshot down an RQ-4 in the Strait of Hormuz. It was a wakeup call for a Pentagon that relies on persistent surveillance of adversaries as an early warning system.
The Air Force has never publicly acknowledged the RQ-180s existence. In early 2020, the service sought early retirement for more than two thirds of the 35-strong RQ-4 Global Hawk fleet. This is a curious decision considering the platform is relatively young, with the average age being less than 10 years. Its not so curious, however, if theres a newer, stealthier replacement for the giant drone already flying.
U-2 spy plane at the Oshkosh Air Show, 2016. Education ImagesGetty Images
In 2019, AW&ST reported the RQ-180 was operational at Beale Air Force Base in Northern California. Beale, home to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing and its RQ-4 Global Hawks and U-2 Dragon Lady spy planes, is a logical place to base the RQ-180. The drone is described as having a wingspan of 172 feet, much larger than a Boeing 737s wingspan of 117 feet, with antennas built into the wings.
AW&ST says the RQ-180s nickname at Edwards is the Great White Bat, owing to its batlike wings and white painted appearance. Another, more whimsical nickname is Shikaka, a white bat with unusual guano from Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls.
It’s what was flying over the robot battlefield in the Terminator movies.
Regardless, i will give credit where credit is due. We have some amazing engineers in this country of ours.
Biden can’t wait to sell it to the Chinese military for a few bucks.....................
Airlifted biden ballots into pa. Ga. Az. and Wi. no doubt
I love a good distraction when our presidential election has been destroyed by the rats....at this point, I’d rather read about a deadly hurricane coming in or a huge earthquake....
So two 12 year old kids were throwing a boomerang around.
Actually, the Chicoms probably had this in their version of Popular Mechanics....People’s Worker’s Glorious Illustrated Chinese Revolution Science Emanation.
Their Chinese “college students” (spies) in American universities and research places probably already sent the usernames, passwords, security clearance copy permissions and all the highly classified plans for this.
Those are our Drones now Kamala
Looks like the B-21 Raider. It’s very “B-2 like” except the sawtooth trailing edge of the wing is simplified.
And there is no crew...............
Why are they going back through the B numbers?
I mean the real B-1 was the Huff-Daland XB-1 built in 1927.
Good Spooky stuff!
(After 20 years, he still won't talk to me about anything he does)
It is a mistake to retire the B-1. Like a golfer using different clubs. The bomber fleet is the same. When you need something fast with a huge payload it is the B-1. Not all situations are the same.
The B-1 and it’s replacement are for highly contested air. The B-52 is there when you want to carpet bomb a city back to the stone age and three cities nearby.
The B-2 is there for when you need a huge payload delivered fast.
Eliminating one of these options is just plain stupid. Like the warthog, the brass likes big money toys. Like the warthog, the B-1 is needed to do the work the others can’t.
at this point, Id rather read about a deadly hurricane coming in or a huge earthquake....
It’s still 2020 and the Yosemite Caldera hasn’t blown yet.
Red Badger; you sound like Mitch who wants to talk about Covid.
I confess that I can’t see if there’s anybody in the cockpit.
There is no cockpit..................save weight and space................
Tyler says: The reality is that it could be the Polecat and not the RQ-180 that is operating in the open at the base from time to time, while the RQ-180 operates more in the shadows. We just don't know. It is all but certain the RQ-180 exists though, while the Polecat flying again is more speculative, at least at this time.
Either way, this is exciting stuff and yet another indicator of a capability that will increasingly become a central fixture of the future of high-end air combathigh-altitude, long-endurance, penetrating unmanned aircraftis moving forward.
Our entire report on the RQ-180, which has been a year in the making, will address all this and so much more in the very near future. So standby for that. In the meantime, keep looking up!
and cancel US production ala Jimmah Cahtah
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