Northrop Grumman "RQ-180"

Whisperstream

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Bill Sweetman claimed in 2013 that "sources" told him the Northrop Grumman penetrating ISR UAV was called the RQ-180. I remain skeptical because there is little reason for NG to use that kind of designation.

The earlier RQ-170 Sentinel received its designation because it started out as the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works P-170, using a typical LMSW project number like the P-175 Polecat. Why would NG adopt a designation from a LMSW project series?

That said, the DoD Mission-Design-Series MDS) designation system has bee badly abused over the years. The sentinel should have had a two-digit designator instead of simply stripping the P from -170 and replacing it with RQ. The JSF should not have been the F-35 (taken from the X-35 demonstrator designation. And, certainly "black projects" have contributed to this problem. (I'm looking at you, F-117A)
 

quellish

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Quellish, I truly value your opinion. What do you think it is we saw?

I have learned to be very skeptical of things like this and assume it is BS until there is good evidence it is not.
 

sublight is back

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Quellish, I truly value your opinion. What do you think it is we saw?

I have learned to be very skeptical of things like this and assume it is BS until there is good evidence it is not.
There is such a thing as being overly cynical though.
It depends what topic you are in. For example if you are in the reaction engines thread, you cant say you are even remotely skeptical.
 

quellish

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Wow is that old news above....
Here is more definitive proof of the fabled rq180 ..... jk

Most interesting thing there is that the author has learned how to credit a forum as his source (though not the forum member).
 

Flyaway

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According to follow up thread titled High altitude on Dreamland Resort the type of corridor indicates that it was a very high speed vehicle coming and going, and a need to avoid seismic detectors.

Why does Dreamland Resort not let you link directly to posts?
 
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dark sidius

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According to follow up thread titled High altitude on Dreamland Resort the type of corridor indicates that it was a very high speed vehicle coming and going, and a need to avoid seismic detectors.

Why does Dreamland Resort not let you link directly to posts?
What type could need this corridor ?
 

TomcatViP

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Anything special that would need to transit to the Pacific and hasn't reached or could not reach FL600.
For example, that could be simply a Northrop RQ-4.
 

dark sidius

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Anything special that would need to transit to the Pacific and hasn't reached or could not reach FL600.
For example, that could be simply a Northrop RQ-4.
There is no need of a high speed isolate corridor to fly back a RQ-4, in direction of TTR.
 

Josh_TN

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I too don't see any specific indication of speed mentioned, though the altitudes are pretty explicit. Can an RQ-170 even hit those altitudes? I kinda think we can probably rule that one out. Even an RQ-4 seems more likely.
 

dark sidius

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I too don't see any specific indication of speed mentioned, though the altitudes are pretty explicit. Can an RQ-170 even hit those altitudes? I kinda think we can probably rule that one out. Even an RQ-4 seems more likely.
Since RQ-4 flying did you see a restriction in this high altitude corridor ?
 

Josh_TN

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I too don't see any specific indication of speed mentioned, though the altitudes are pretty explicit. Can an RQ-170 even hit those altitudes? I kinda think we can probably rule that one out. Even an RQ-4 seems more likely.
Since RQ-4 flying did you see a restriction in this high altitude corridor ?
I don't pay attention to such things enough to have an informed opinion. I agree that it is unlikely to be a plain jane RQ-4, since I know those operated out of Edwards a fair amount and I've not seen any articles about this level of restriction. Though it does make me wonder how they square RQ-4s with ATC. I'm guess this was some black project of some type. RQ-180 certainly would be a candidate.
 

dark sidius

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I too don't see any specific indication of speed mentioned, though the altitudes are pretty explicit. Can an RQ-170 even hit those altitudes? I kinda think we can probably rule that one out. Even an RQ-4 seems more likely.
Since RQ-4 flying did you see a restriction in this high altitude corridor ?
I don't pay attention to such things enough to have an informed opinion. I agree that it is unlikely to be a plain jane RQ-4, since I know those operated out of Edwards a fair amount and I've not seen any articles about this level of restriction. Though it does make me wonder how they square RQ-4s with ATC. I'm guess this was some black project of some type. RQ-180 certainly would be a candidate.
Possible candidate.
 

sferrin

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Wow is that old news above....
Here is more definitive proof of the fabled rq180 ..... jk

Most interesting thing there is that the author has learned how to credit a forum as his source (though not the forum member).
Well it IS Tyler Rogoway. Par for the course.
 

Flyaway

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Over on NSF it’s been suggested it could be Stargazer which is rumoured to be doing some hypersonic support work being as it is already fitted out to carry and launch large solid rocket boosters. The corridor terminates as near Edwards as it does Tonopah where it has been flying out of. To me at least this seems a highly credible possibility.
 

Sundog

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Doubtful. It isn't going to be supersonic and is probably flying out of Groom, there's plenty of area to go supersonic there. My guess is a Navy fighter accidentally broke the sound barrier. Even the article states that happened off the coast and the boom traveled that far. But having read the article, it could be weather related as well.
 

quellish

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1. Groom (and TTR) are ghost towns on the weekends. They are basically closed. There are very rare exceptions when test work goes on during a weekend, those are easy to spot through unusual JANET traffic.

2. There is a RED FLAG exercise going on right now. There are a lot of things coming and going from the Nellis / NTTR ranges. Maybe this was related to that (i.e. an RQ-4 needed some space in all that traffic).
 

Manuducati

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From a Facebook page (see credit on screenshot), maybe another sighting of the RQ-180, above the Philippines.


 

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Manuducati

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zaphd

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Sorsogon would be exactly on the route from Guam to the Spratleys, so my bet is the photo is the RQ-180.

The Philippine air force detection in the north of the country could be a totally unrelated case. China has frequently flown similar profiles into the Taiwanese and Japanese air identification zones, making a chinese drone or fighter IMO the most simple explanation for that radar contact. I also doubt the US would be overflying a friendly sovereign country without some kind of coordination.
 

Flyaway

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From the Facebook comments.
View: https://www.facebook.com/2041401379485445/posts/2807912886167620/


EDIT: looks like "The DRIVE" is lurking here...
That article gives the impression that if not now but soon their airspace must see stealthy drones going in both directions. US ones going towards China. And Chinese ones going in the opposite direction.
 

Flyaway

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The fact that I’ve seen people online say this is the B-21, they are using the images released by the USAF, indicates how close the RQ-180 & B-21 must be in appearances at least from a distance.
 

coanda

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I guess this is Shikaka’s lair:

13°37'55.1"N 144°51'57.2"E
Yeah, home away from home. I wonder if this airspace corridor was used to help get this out to the Pacific?


Edit- re-write to correct as I've now found the article.
 

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