I am not actually here.
- Aug 6, 2007
- Reaction score
Quellish is skeptical for a long, long list of reasons. The evidence given in the press has not been compelling. For example, the IIRC the 2013 Aviation Week article mentioned:So Quellish is skeptical because he thinks this guy made it up. Tirpak told me it was used in a sidebar conversation where Tirpack referred to it as RQ-180 and the Lt General responded to several inquiries while being careful to not call it the RQ-180. So RQ-180 may not be the real name, but who in the hell is going to call it "The platform generally referred to as RQ-180".
- Funding coming from the J-UCAS accounts. Nope, didn't happen.
- New hangar at Groom Lake. The "hangar" in question is a scoot and hide shelter. And it has been used as a scoot and hide shelter since it was built. It's a big shelter for sure, but that's what it is. It was not built for a specific program. Construction was easy enough to monitor, funding was as well, and it's been observed since then.
- Engine test cells at NG Palmdale. Yes, there are engine test cells there (very close to public roads). They were built for existing programs like GlobalHawk. You can see and hear them used for that easily.
A number of times I have looked for any sign of a penetrating ISR UAV that is not the RQ-170. Funding, construction, staffing, engines and landing gear, etc. I haven't found anything, not even a black hole things could disappear into. Just known programs (though not all publicly or well known programs).
USAF already does have a penetrating ISR platform, the RQ-170. The payloads it can carry may be limited, but there isn't a clear reason to spend a lot of money developing an "RQ-180" when the RQ-170 exists. A VLO HALE platform has been on DoD's wish list since the 80s but that doesn't mean it's happening now.