First off, we have to give a hat tip to Wings Over Iraq for the tip-off about this. Secondly, prepare to meet a real-life UFO – maybe….
The successful launch and landing of the US Navy’s X-47B stealth drone on an aircraft carrier recently was a surprisingly, even suspiciously, well publicized and openly photographed event. And there’s clearly no effort being made to keep the plane’s existence secret – even if its capabilities are not being publicized.
Perhaps the surprising openness about the X-47B program is a deliberate move to distract attention away from a truly amazing secret – the successor to the RQ-170 “Sentinel”, once known as “The Beast of Kandahar”.
RQ-170s apparently operated over Afghanistan and Iraq (and surrounding areas) for several years, secretly providing intelligence better than any other asset. An RQ-170 is also reputed to have been the high-level strategic surveillance asset on station during “Operation Neptune Spear” (the assault on the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan).
However, even before an RQ-170 apparently went out of control and crashed in Iran in December 2011 – and was unfortunately discovered, publicly displayed and thoroughly examined by the Iranians and their allies – there was already a program under way to supplant it with something even bigger and stealthier.
For more info about this new super-secret drone, as well as a fascinating look at the development of America’s secret drone program beyond the well-known Predator craft, follow this link for an article by David Axe on the ‘War is Boring’ blog.