The Air Force has revealed it has a new stealth reconnaissance drone, the RQ-170 Sentinel, in a brief release Friday night. On Monday, Pentagon officials confirmed for Daily Report that the aircraft is the same one that has shown up twice in the French press as a “mystery” airplane photographed in the vicinity of Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. According to USAF, the service “is developing” the unmanned aircraft system “to provide reconnaissance and surveillance support to forward-deployed combat forces” and was built by Lockheed Martin’s Skunkworks. The Air Force said the aircraft is operated by the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron, a flight test squadron activated in September 2005 at Tonopah Test Range, Nev., the same location where the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter was secretly based and flown for 17 years. Lockheed Martin and Air Combat Command, which oversees the 30th RS, declined to comment on the aircraft.
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.