The Northrop Grumman RQ-180 is being developed as a high-speed, stealth-minded, airspace-penetrating UAV reconnaissance platform.
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The existence of the Northrop Grumman RQ-180 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was unveiled by the United States Air Force in December of 2013. It is an unarmed, reconnaissance-minded platform intended for deep penetration actions over enemy airspace. It is assumed that the vehicle utilizes extensive stealth features including unique body-shaping and coatings to avoid enemy detection. The system is along the same form and function of the competing Lockheed RQ-170 Sentinel though with a more extended endurance envelope. The RQ-180 was selected ahead of competing designs offered by Boeing and Lockheed.
Northrop Grumman has already enjoyed considerable public exposure through recent successes with the X-47B product for the US Navy - completing the first-ever carrier landing by a UAV in aviation history. Northrop Grumman also has over a decades-worth of experience in supporting the technologically-advanced fleet of B-2 Spirit flying wing stealth bombers. It is believed that the new RQ-180 takes on a similar design shape as the X-47B. The vehicle's wingspan is estimated to be around 130 feet though little else on the product has been revealed to date (December 2013).
This article will be updated as new information becomes available.
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