The existence of a new secret plane photographed this week has been confirmed by the United States Air Force. The secret aircraft now has an official denomination: The RQ-170 Sentinel, a flying wing developed by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works.
The RQ-170 is a stealthy unmanned aircraft designed to “provide reconnaissance and surveillance support to forward deployed combat forces.” It’s flown by the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron at Tonopah Test Range, Nevada, under the Air Combat Command’s 432d Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.
The aircraft has a 65-foot wingspan, with a fat body and a blended wing design. It’s unarmed, so it’s purely for reconnaissance missions at the this time, and—according to David A. Fulghum at Ares—its light colour is unusual for high altitude UAV. [Ares]