The Beast of Kandahar

Discussion in 'Modern' started by FLYBOYJ, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Air Force on Tuesday confirmed for the first time that it is flying a stealth unmanned aircraft known as the "Beast of Kandahar," a drone spotted in photos and shrouded in secrecy.

    The RQ-170 Sentinel is being developed by Lockheed Martin and is designed "to provide reconnaissance and surveillance support to forward deployed combat forces," the air force said in a brief statement.

    The "RQ" prefix for the aircraft indicates an unarmed drone, unlike the "MQ" designation used for Predator and Reaper aircraft equipped with missiles and precision-guided bombs.

    Aviation experts dubbed the drone the "Beast of Kandahar" after photographs emerged earlier this year showing the mysterious aircraft in southern Afghanistan in 2007.

    The image suggested a drone with a radar-evading stealth-like design, resembling a smaller version of a B-2 bomber.

    A blog in the French newspaper Liberation published another photo this week, feeding speculation among aviation watchers about the classified drone.

    The air force said the aircraft came out of Lockheed Martin's "Skunk Works," also known as Advanced Development Programs, in California -- the home of sophisticated and often secret defense projects including the U-2 spy plane, the F-22 fighter jet and the F-117 Nighthawk.

    The photo of the drone in Afghanistan has raised questions about why the United States would be operating a stealth unmanned aircraft in a country where insurgents have no radar systems, prompting speculation Washington was using the drones for possible spying missions in neighboring Iran or Pakistan.

    The Sentinel was believed to have a flying wing design with no tail and with sensors built into the top side of each wing, according to published photos.

    The RQ-170 is in line with Defense Secretary Robert Gates' request for more intelligence and surveillance resources and with the Air Force chief of staff's plans to expand the fleet of unmanned aircraft, the air force said.

    The new drone is flown by the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron out of Tonopah Test Range in Nevada, which is under Air Combat Command's 432nd Wing at Creech Air Base, also in Nevada.

    The United States has carried out an extensive bombing campaign against Al-Qaeda figures in Pakistan using the Predator and larger Reaper drones.

    Robots or "unmanned systems" in the air and on the ground are now deployed by the thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan, spying from the sky for hours on end, searching for booby-traps and firing lethal missiles without putting US soldiers at risk.

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  2. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Wow, that's pretty fascinating. Excellent find FB!
     
  3. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    It's not uncommon to have weapons in the combat zone that folks haven't heard of or seen. That's a great find, Joe.
     
  4. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The reaction of the press is typical "hysteria mongering": The photo of the drone in Afghanistan has raised questions about why the United States would be operating a stealth unmanned aircraft in a country where insurgents have no radar systems, prompting speculation Washington was using the drones for possible spying missions in neighboring Iran or Pakistan.

    So it's advanced...big deal. It was developed most likely for a broad range of applications for now, and on future battlefields. Just because the Taliban and thier lot aren't advanced, doesn't mean we should be out there with a biplane and a pair of binoculars...

    Wanna really get thier panties in a wad? Paint it up like the Ho229 :evil4:
     
  5. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    :lol: Looks like F-5 gear. Man Northrop has gotten a million miles outta that F-5 airframe/system.

    Now we are watching Iran collapse with the student protests. S-300s.... phhtttt!!!
     
  6. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Good catch Matt - you're probably right!!!!
     
  7. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Cool find FBJ!! Thanks for sharing!!:cool: :thumbright:
     
  8. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    I just read this on Yahoo and was fixing to post it here. Dang you Joe! hahahaha.
     
  9. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Soren would start a thread over that.

    :lol:
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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  11. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    What always gets me is that these conspiracy-theory nutjobs and bloggers can never seem to get clear, in-focus images. Even with today's camera technology!

    Also....if this is now declassified to the point where the general public can be told about it...what's replaced it? Man, its gotta be cool!
     
  12. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    If the USAF is releasing info about it, it means its old news and they're onto something else.

    Dressed like a Horton would be hilarious!
     
  13. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    ^ Sure would Chris :lol:

    Certainly very cool and interesting but as has been said its old news so I wonder what is the next thing...
     
  14. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    Heck I just read that Rutan's SpaceShipTwo uses P-51 gear!! Hah! :lol: Now there is some irony.
     

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  15. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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  16. beaupower32

    beaupower32 Well-Known Member

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    I think it would be cool to see what it would look like dressed up as a Ho 229. Speaking of the Ho 229.....


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    Engineers of the Northrop-Grumman Corporation had long been interested in the Ho 229, and several of them visited the Smithsonian Museum's facility in Silver Hill, Maryland in the early 1980s to study the V3 airframe. In early 2008, Northrop-Grumman paired up television documentary producer Michael Jorgensen, another long-time fan of the aircraft, and the National Geographic Channel to produce a documentary to determine whether the Ho 229 was, in fact, the world's first true "stealth" fighter-bomber.

    A team of engineers from Northrop-Grumman ran electromagnetic tests on the V3's multilayer wooden center-section nose cones. The cones are three-fourths of an inch thick and made up of thin sheets of veneer. The team concluded that there was indeed some form of conducting element in the glue, as the radar signal slowed down considerably as it passed through the cone.

    In an experiment to determine the stealth characteristics of the design, Northrop-Grumman built a full-size reproduction of the V3, incorporating a replica glue mixture in the nose section. After an expenditure of about US$250,000 and 2,500 man-hours, Northrop's Ho 229 reproduction was tested at the company's classified radar cross-section (RCS) test range at Tejon, California, where it was placed on a 15-meter (50 ft) articulating pole and exposed to electromagnetic energy sources from various angles, using the same three frequencies used by the Chain Home radar network of the British in the early 1940s. RCS testing showed that an Ho 229 approaching the English coast from France flying at 885 km/h (550 mph) at 15 - 30 metres (50 - 100 ft) above the water would have been visible at a distance of 80% that of a Bf 109. This implies an RCS of only 40% that of a Bf 109, from the front at the Chain Home frequencies. The most visible parts of the plane were the jet inlets and the cockpit, but caused no return through smaller dimensions than the CH wavelength

    Source Wiki



    I watched the documentry on this, and this was very very intresting to see.
     
  17. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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