Northrop Grumman "RQ-180"

With the tensions escalating quickly between Russia and Ukraine, I think it’s a safe bet the RQ-180 is deployed in Europe. I’m wondering which airbases would be suitable for such a covert deployment. Anyone who has an educated guess?

That's interesting. Why would you think that's a safe bet?
 
Is the RQ-180 truly confirmed to be the drone captured on photos we've seen? It's believed to be a HALE platform with a very high ceiling, then why the color of the underside Navajo White instead of dark grey or black? That scheme would help it blend better at medium altitudes. (Excluding the pic taken over the Phillippines). 1-Either it doesn't operate as high as expected, 2-Another UAV, P-175 a likely candidate many have suggested in the past, 3- Some form of active camouflage/Yehudi lights/LED based system that dynamically adjust to match the sky based on height and hour of the day.
 
Well they are still flying U-2s in and out of Fairford so draw what conclusions you can.
 
With the tensions escalating quickly between Russia and Ukraine, I think it’s a safe bet the RQ-180 is deployed in Europe. I’m wondering which airbases would be suitable for such a covert deployment. Anyone who has an educated guess?
RAF Akrotiri on Cyprus is pretty much perfect. There is a US presence there already for U-2 operations, and has been for years, both approach and departure can be made over the sea for discretion.
 
Still wondering if this thing is even real.
Why? Is there anything to really wonder about? There are several high alltitude pictures (yes, could be argued it something else other than RQ-180) and quite detailed reporting on the program and frames in Aviation Leak.
 
The Air Force all but confirmed that there is a HALE UAV low RCS platform. That doesn’t mean that those Polecat-like sightings are the same, but the odds seem very good.
 
Still wondering if this thing is even real.
Why? Is there anything to really wonder about? There are several high alltitude pictures (yes, could be argued it something else other than RQ-180) and quite detailed reporting on the program and frames in Aviation Leak.
After Blackstar and the Pumpkin Seeds I'm still a bit skeptical of AvWeek.
 
Still wondering if this thing is even real.
Why? Is there anything to really wonder about? There are several high alltitude pictures (yes, could be argued it something else other than RQ-180) and quite detailed reporting on the program and frames in Aviation Leak.
After Blackstar and the Pumpkin Seeds I'm still a bit skeptical of AvWeek.
Well my family and I saw something that looked and flew like pumpkin seed complete with pulsing engine(s) around the time it was supposed to be in service.
 
that logo...
 

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that logo...
Well, logos and trademarks are subject to very strict intellectual property laws. One way to avoid plagiarism and expensive litigation is to make one so inept that no-one would want to copy it. :)
 
I know this has been repeated before, seems NGC built their Sensorcraft concept, makes sense, helped to win B-21 (similar configurations), makes sense. I may be wrong but I think NGC may not be in the running for the NGAD manned air dominance vehicle. I could be wrong, I think NGC is the USG's "advanced flying wing/other non-fighter" prime (ISR, etc) and would handle any of the potential unmanned spawn of NGAD, regardless of having developed theYF-23/F-23, this is maybe how they have evolved, thoughts/comments welcomed.
 
IMO RQ-180 is not a Sensorcraft - al least as it was envisioned in late 90s - kind of black offspring of quite public SC program (described early as not an effort to built an actual vehicle, but being like a concept-car for technology development).
A cheaper, less ambitious platform. Still VLO and carrying solid sensors suite.
While most of the TRLs were achieved in the year NG got contract, not all of them were in place. AFAIR in 2002 AFRL planners didn't see
SC maiden flight earlier than 2015.
Judging from hangar doors size at two possible Shikaka basing sites, it's somewhat smaller than proporsed NG SC 205 ft wingspan, 125,000 lbs MTOW concept where size was driven by enormous wingskin embedded antennas, with wings having less chord like on early NG SC iterations before taking them through MDO. I'd say wingspan is about 150 ft or less.
Note that Boeing and Lockheed continued to study their SC concepts long after RQ-180 contract in 2008 and maiden flight in 2010.

My 5 kopeks.
 
I know this has been repeated before, seems NGC built their Sensorcraft concept, makes sense, helped to win B-21 (similar configurations), makes sense. I may be wrong but I think NGC may not be in the running for the NGAD manned air dominance vehicle. I could be wrong, I think NGC is the USG's "advanced flying wing/other non-fighter" prime (ISR, etc) and would handle any of the potential unmanned spawn of NGAD, regardless of having developed theYF-23/F-23, this is maybe how they have evolved, thoughts/comments welcomed.

My thoughts too.

Post in thread 'USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA, ASFS' https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/th...ams-f-a-xx-f-x-ngad-pca-asfs.3536/post-495577
 
I know this has been repeated before, seems NGC built their Sensorcraft concept, makes sense, helped to win B-21 (similar configurations), makes sense. I may be wrong but I think NGC may not be in the running for the NGAD manned air dominance vehicle. I could be wrong, I think NGC is the USG's "advanced flying wing/other non-fighter" prime (ISR, etc) and would handle any of the potential unmanned spawn of NGAD, regardless of having developed theYF-23/F-23, this is maybe how they have evolved, thoughts/comments welcomed.

My thoughts too.

Post in thread 'USAF/US NAVY 6th Generation Fighter Programs - F/A-XX, F-X, NGAD, PCA, ASFS' https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/th...ams-f-a-xx-f-x-ngad-pca-asfs.3536/post-495577
You never know.
 
As usual that website jumps to conclusions. It doesn't point to the rq180... It points to something but to jump ahead and say it's the rumored 180 is bad journalism. I would certainly hope with our defense budget we have something better than global hawk already fielded or else there's a big wasted of space that could be used for condos and golf courses.
 
As usual that website jumps to conclusions. It doesn't point to the rq180... It points to something but to jump ahead and say it's the rumored 180 is bad journalism. I would certainly hope with our defense budget we have something better than global hawk already fielded or else there's a big wasted of space that could be used for condos and golf courses.
Reporting on something that is an open secret is hardly stretching things much journalistically. The main uncertainty is if it is really called the RQ-180.
 
As usual that website jumps to conclusions. It doesn't point to the rq180... It points to something but to jump ahead and say it's the rumored 180 is bad journalism. I would certainly hope with our defense budget we have something better than global hawk already fielded or else there's a big wasted of space that could be used for condos and golf courses.
Reporting on something that is an open secret is hardly stretching things much journalistically. The main uncertainty is if it is really called the RQ-180.
Yes point taken but to say it's the 180 and not something else still unknown is bad journalism. For all we know the 180 is an EW platform or simply too advanced to risk as the GH replacement. The only thing known about the 180 is that it exists and all else known is just speculation.

Idk why the original GH wasn't stealthy to begin with. Seemed like a waste of money to me from the beginning.
 
The stealthy (penetrating), high altitude endurance UAV was going to be Tier 3- (Darkstar). Tier 2+ (GH) was supposed to be able to fly at high altitude and stand-off outside contested airspace. At the time, the thinking was it didn't need to be stealthy. It was also considered (at the time) and unmanned replacement for the TR-1 (which obviously never happened).
 
U-2R and TR-1 (just like B-52, F-16, C-130... and A-10, for crap sake) with their never ending lives have raked a rather impressive kill count of "sexy & advanced & game changing" shiny new successors of them.
The U-2 murdered (or outlived) A-12, SR-71, COMPASS ARROW, TAGBOARD, Darkstar, that Tier 2+ you mention, and some others.
 
Anybody have any thoughts on how many RQ-180 exist based on potential basing, hangarage etc. at the likely bases? The USAF has c37 RQ-4 at present. If they were replacing them with RQ-180 surely sightings would be a lot more common now?
 
The interesting thing to me is why the U-2/TR-1 won the debate. At the time, Global Hawk was supposed to be a much more cost-effective platform. The onboard pilot was removed in GH and the aircraft had a better ability to remain on station (surveillance). Apparently, however, it wasn't cheaper than the U-2 to operate and the additional time on station wasn't necessary given the need was reconnaissance and not surveillance. At any rate, my intent was simply to answer why GH was not intended to be a stealthy platform - because, at the time, adding in low observables was an unnecessary cost.
 
I’ve also wondered about how many RQ-180’s there are. If the reports about the RQ-180 are true, it is BIG. Very BIG at 40 meters wingspan (for our American readers, 40 meters comes down to 0,0146 Golden Gate bridges).

It’s very hard to hide a sizable fleet of aircraft that big. Combined with it’s presumed long endurance I would guess that there are around 10 at most with most of them scattered around different bases, mostly overseas (with Guam and Akrotiri as prime candidates).

But this is mostly guesswork. I hope we’ll find out soon.
 
I’ve also wondered about how many RQ-180’s there are. If the reports about the RQ-180 are true, it is BIG. Very BIG at 40 meters wingspan (for our American readers, 40 meters comes down to 0,0146 Golden Gate bridges).

It’s very hard to hide a sizable fleet of aircraft that big. Combined with it’s presumed long endurance I would guess that there are around 10 at most with most of them scattered around different bases, mostly overseas (with Guam and Akrotiri as prime candidates).

But this is mostly guesswork. I hope we’ll find out soon.

The first flight occurred in August 2010. A decade later, as many as 14 to 16 airframes had been built and flown and were undergoing operational test and evaluation. According to an article in Aviation Week & Space Technology, there is also one training squadron and an operational squadron.

I would not be surprised if some of the pre-production airframes had already been retired, and one allegedly crashed in December 2016. Several possible sightings were made by photographers in California, Nevada, and the Philippines. Whether or not the actual designation is RQ-180 is a matter of some debate. I also wish we knew the unclassified program nickname.
 
How often U-2s are sighted at altitude? On a mission?
You can find pictures of them taking off and landing all over the place.
Question sounds different. I doubt you can drive close to South base or Northwest field for a spotting.
At Edwards?
or RAF Fairford here in UK:) I saw back in Feb as hoping to see the four Minot Buffs in action (though two taken off at 6am for 12 hour mission) so only got to see the two parked up. BUt did see Dragon Lady detachment pair fly so here are my pics

cheers
 

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AAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaand????????
Well, it's the logo of Northrop Grumman's Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC). That's the company's equivalent of the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works or the Boeing Phantom Works. According to accounts in the aviation press, the so-called RQ-180 is an ATDC product. Several years ago, a friend of mine was talking to some Northrop Grumman guys at the Los Angeles County Air Show. They were all wearing that logo on their jackets. My friend asked something along the lines of , "So, what's in the big hangar at South Base that's so hush-hush?" They wouldn't say, but one of them smiled and pointed at that patch.
 

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