New Stealth UAS to Fill SR-71 Role

In an exclusive report by AviationWeek.com Northrup Grumman discusses their now-flying secret Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), which has been dubbed the RQ-180.

This aircraft would carry radio-frequency sensors, active and passive electronic surveillance measures, and may also be capable of electronic attack missions. This aircraft combines both stealth and aerodynamic efficiency which allows for a much greater range and time on station while still providing stealth from low and high frequency radars.

The RQ-180 would replace the shorter-ranged and less stealthy RQ-170, and fulfill the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions over "denied" airspace (as opposed to "permissive" environments in Iraq and Afghanistan). The RQ-180 is scheduled to enter production soon and could be operational as soon as 2015.

It also looks like one of the first aircraft types that might switch over from manned to unmanned is going to be reconnaissance.

Be sure to check out the article on AviationWeek.com!