Military Review

The press leaked information about the new American drone RQ-180

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The American magazine "Aviation Week & Space Technology" in the latest issue of December 9, 2013 made the title topic an exclusive material that reveals information about a new secret stealth reconnaissance drone of the United States. We are talking about a large drone Northtop Grumman RQ-180, which is created according to one of the "black" programs of the Pentagon. It is reported that the RQ-180 unmanned aerial vehicle is a completely new generation of UAVs, which, unlike the well-known fairly slow-moving drones Predator and Reaper, is designed to operate in “contested” or “inaccessible” airspace. That is, it is able to operate in conditions of active opposition from the enemy, which has a developed air defense system and the air force.


The appearance of the RQ-180 drone can shed light on the true reasons for the refusal of the US military to use the RQ-4B Global Hawk Block 30 drones, which belongs to the previous generation of aircraft data. A magazine publication reports that Northtop Grumman was able to win the Pentagon’s secret contract to develop the RQ-180 based on a tender, in which Lockheed Martin and Boeing also participated. Presumably, the new program is joint for both the CIA and the US Air Force and is conducted under the supervision of the Rapid Capabilities Division of the US Air Force. In a similar way, work was underway to create another secret UAV that was close to its destination, although it had a smaller size, the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel ("All Sentinel"). The analysis of the financial statements of the company Northtop Grumman allows to conclude that the contract for the development of RQ-180 was obtained by the company in the 2008 year, when the company indicated an unexplained increase in the order book directly to 2 billion dollars in the Integrated Systems division.

Northrop Grumman's published financial reporting for the current year has information that an unnamed program of an aircraft has entered the pre-production release stage (LRIP). At the same time, available images from space showcase new hangars and airspace shelters with a wingspan of more than 130 feet (about 40 meters) built at Northrop, located in Palmdale, California, as well as at the famous US Air Force Flight Research Center in Nevada - based on Area 51 (Zone 51). Earlier in 2010, Northtop Grumman reported a significant expansion in its California manufacturing facilities.

aviation experts emphasize that the Northrop hangars in Palmdale, as well as on the Zona 51 air force base, can contain a flying machine with a wingspan of more than 40 meters, which makes it larger than the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel, which had a wingspan of about 26 meters. Earlier, the United States has repeatedly used the RQ-170 Sentinel UAV, in particular, during the operation to destroy the terrorist Osama Bin Laden in May 2011.

The press leaked information about the new American drone RQ-180

Also, unmanned aerial vehicles RQ-170 were quite actively used in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. It was confirmed that UAVs also worked on Pakistan and Iran. At the same time, in December 2011, the Iranian army reported about the downed RQ-170, which flew over the territory of the country. Later, the Pentagon acknowledged the loss of its drone in the region, and the downed vehicle was shown on Iranian television. 13 December 2011 reported in the media that the United States filed an official request with Iran to return its drone, but Tehran, of course, did not respond to this request and demanded an apology from the United States.

The main purpose of the new UAV RQ-180 can be the implementation of integrated aerial reconnaissance using a complex of modern equipment, which includes active (with AFAR) and passive intelligence systems. There is also information that the drone can be used to maintain the EW. According to American terminology, this unmanned aerial vehicle is characterized as a system of “penetrating” (penetrating) or “permissive” (permissive - in the sense of penetrating into the “forbidden” airspace) reconnaissance (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance - ISR). According to the tasks being solved, the new drone will be able to complement the capabilities of the military RQ-170 Sentinel UAVs and U-2 Dragon Lady reconnaissance aircraft. It is reported that the UAV will be shared by the US Air Force and the CIA.

The publication Aviation Week & Space Technology notes that Northrop Grumman has begun a series of flight tests of the classified RQ-180 reconnaissance UAV. This device is created for the purpose of conducting reconnaissance, observation and reconnaissance in the zone of action of a strong enemy air defense. The adoption of the new model for service is planned for 2015.

This aircraft was created according to a modified “flying wing” scheme, which the manufacturer itself designates as cranked-kite (literally “bent serpent”). This scheme is characterized by the presence of a high center-section with smooth forms and rather long thinning wings. A similar scheme, Northrop Grumman has already applied when designing the deck UAV X-47B UCAS-D.


It is reported that in the design of the RQ-180 will be widely used technologies to ensure stealth from all angles of the device. This approach required the implementation of a large complex of works in the field of aerodynamics, since the aerodynamic characteristics and the principles of the geometric reduction of radar visibility are rather poorly combined. An increase in the level of stealth of the apparatus, along with an attempt to preserve the laminar flow, required the creation of new composite materials.

In the development of new composite materials, apparently, the company Scaled Composites, which was acquired by Northrop Grumman in 2007, participated. This company, in particular, specializes in the creation and production of gliders made of composites with “inverted” compounds, which in practice allow you to create durable structures that have a smooth surface. These technologies make it possible to obtain a larger amount of free space inside the fuselage of the aircraft due to the reduction in the number of elements of the power structure.

According to Northrop Grumman, the aerodynamic calculations showed that in the process of designing the wing and center section of the RQ-180, it was possible to achieve aerodynamic efficiency “like a glider”. At the same time, American engineers were able to achieve sustained maintenance of a high degree of laminar flow on the swept wing of the drone. In the process of calculations, more efficient nozzles and air intakes of engines were also designed, which well met the requirements for low-visibility of the apparatus.

It is reported that in terms of stealth, the new drone will significantly exceed all the aircraft that are currently available to the US Air Force, we are primarily talking about the newest fighter F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor. The superiority of the RQ-180 UAV will be ensured by a high level of stealth apparatus from all angles, and not only in frontal projection, as is the case with modern American fighters.


Improved aerodynamics and the use of stealth technology will allow the drone to go unnoticed in the airspace of a potential enemy, while increasing the duration and range of the flight compared to its predecessor, the RQ-170. It is also reported that the design of the UAV RQ-180 provides protection against high and low frequency emitters, thus avoiding the possible interception of control over the drone or disabling it.

According to the assumptions, the new secret reconnaissance drone will receive turbojet engines with an average bypass ratio, similar to the CF34 engines, which already have X-47B UAVs equipped with. At the same time, the engines of the apparatus will be modified in such a way as to provide him with a stable, economical flight, even at a substantial height. They will also have to generate energy, which would be enough for the functioning of all the electronic equipment on board.

In size, the new reconnaissance drone is likely to be comparable to the RQ-4 Global Hawk UAV. With a length of 14,5 meters and a wingspan of 39,9 meters, this unit weighs tons of 14,6. It is assumed that the new drone RQ-180 will be able to operate at a distance of 2200 km from the base and be in the sky for 24 hours. It is not excluded that it will be equipped with equipment for refueling the device in the air.

Apparently, the new drone is a development of the project J-UCAS, which the US Navy and Air Force have been working on since the beginning of the 2000s. The aim of the J-UCAS project was to create a single unmanned platform that would satisfy both the fleet and aircraft. At the very end of 2005, this program was divided into two parts - the secret air force and naval UCAS-D. Perhaps RQ-180 is the brainchild of this secret program. At present, Northrop Grumman and the United States Air Force do not comment on the RQ-180 creation program.

Information sources:
http://bmpd.livejournal.com/683391.html
http://lenta.ru/news/2013/12/09/rq180
http://www.popmech.ru/screen-day/2107-09-12-13
http://gearmix.ru/archives/7312
http://www.aviationweek.com
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26 comments
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  1. twister
    twister 10 December 2013 10: 27 New
    +2
    For every tricked stealth ... we have a fancy radar with a rocket !!! bully
    1. MBA78
      MBA78 10 December 2013 10: 53 New
      +1
      a rocket is optional ... you can simply disable a good laser pointer angry
      1. LaGlobal
        LaGlobal 10 December 2013 15: 33 New
        0
        At one time, our Red Army soldiers from Mosin rifles shot down the Misserschmitts!
      2. LaGlobal
        LaGlobal 10 December 2013 15: 33 New
        +1
        At one time, our Red Army soldiers from Mosin rifles shot down the Misserschmitts!
        1. tchoni
          tchoni 10 December 2013 15: 47 New
          +2
          And there are dudes who fell out of the window of the 9th floor alive.
  2. uhjpysq1
    uhjpysq1 10 December 2013 11: 06 New
    +1
    Well, since it leaked to the press, it means disinformation.
    1. Kir
      Kir 10 December 2013 18: 58 New
      0
      Or reality disguised as diso.
  3. uhu189
    uhu189 10 December 2013 11: 14 New
    +4
    But I still hardly believe that an airplane with a wingspan of 40m (slightly less than TU-95ms) and weighing 14,6 tons can be hardly noticeable. All the same, the nozzles will shine in the infrared range, and I'm not talking about the fact that it will be visible during the day to the perfectly naked eye, even at high altitudes, not to mention the aiming systems of the optical range. Or are they going to use it like B-2, only at night?
    1. Basileus
      Basileus 10 December 2013 11: 52 New
      +4
      Well, this, in fact, is almost B-2. Stealth is achieved precisely due to the fact that supersonic is not needed and you can use the flying wing.

      But yes, "stealth" is only for radars. Such a colossus from the ground will be visible from afar))
      1. carbofo
        carbofo 10 December 2013 14: 00 New
        0
        from 20 km, you can’t even see Belaz.
        1. Basileus
          Basileus 10 December 2013 14: 29 New
          +3
          As soon as you show me the forty-meter Belaz, I agree))

          In addition, the task is not to make out with the naked eye, but to bring down)
          1. carbofo
            carbofo 12 December 2013 15: 40 New
            0
            Quote: Basileus
            As soon as you show me the forty-meter Belaz, I agree))

            In addition, the task is not to make out with the naked eye, but to bring down)


            I won’t show because they are only 15 meters high, but there are cars in length but lower
            Rocket tractor for the "Celina-2" project (ICBM "Scalpel", unpaved version) 24 drive wheels with electric motors, 28.19 mx 4,1 mx 4,41 m
            But I only talked about that with his land at 20km in height, you will not see with the naked eye.
            And I always cite Belaz as an example, as something big, as a synonym, of course, abstractly.
  4. Cruorvult
    Cruorvult 10 December 2013 12: 20 New
    +1
    I'm a cloud a cloud a cloud, I'm not a bear at all!

    But essentially well done. There in Abkhazia they shot down our TUshka, and there would have been such garbage, even if they had shot down, then no one was hurt.

    ps they will draw the sky below!
  5. fzr1000
    fzr1000 10 December 2013 12: 39 New
    +3
    Yes, all this is shitty ... PAK YES need to be designed as a UAV.
    1. Basileus
      Basileus 10 December 2013 14: 29 New
      +1
      What for? Americans do not refuse strategists, and this drone is also not a strategist.
  6. Cruorvult
    Cruorvult 10 December 2013 13: 23 New
    0
    Meaning, the UAV has a lot of minuses. The first results from the fact that the operator controls it, it is a signal delay, the possibility of jamming and interception, otherwise it flies like a bot on a program, then it is stupid and predictable. You can bomb the banana republics with their help, but how intelligence is promising. And by the way CT will describe what it is visible, you google the height of reconnaissance drones, there are ceilings under 25k meters.
    1. tchoni
      tchoni 10 December 2013 15: 53 New
      +4
      Regarding dumb and predictable program flights. a bomber pilot is not a ground attack aircraft or a fighter. He flies according to the program. And that’s all. I turned off there, could not stand the speed or altitude - all the gift was not addressed. And he does it alone, or at best, when there are no 2 air defense missions, and even then they are being worked out on the ground. You do it differently - most likely a corpse.
      This attack aircraft near the ground hustles about, so that the MZA would not take it. And for a bomber, the program is the basis.
  7. saturn.mmm
    saturn.mmm 10 December 2013 13: 36 New
    +2
    According to the assumptions, the new secret reconnaissance drone will receive turbojet engines that have an average bypass ratio, similar to the CF34 engines with which the X-47B deck UAVs are already equipped.
    It was rumored that after "successful tests" the X-47B UAV program was closed and a new tender was announced in which 4 US airlines are participating.
    In terms of size, it can be assumed that the Americans are developing an unmanned bomber at subsonic speed, possibly barrage
    1. Andriuha077
      Andriuha077 10 December 2013 17: 13 New
      +1
      "possibly loitering" - and he is also a carrier of missile defense
      alternathistory.org.ua/usa-skrytno-sozdayut-samoletnyi-kompleks-kotoryi-budet-zn
      achitelno-effektivnee-evropro
      oborona.ru/includes/periodics/geopolitics/2013/1029/134611826/print.shtml
  8. poccinin
    poccinin 10 December 2013 14: 05 New
    +1
    again that the aliens pulled DEMONS
    1. Andriuha077
      Andriuha077 10 December 2013 17: 19 New
      0
      http://topwar.ru/788-horten-ho-229.html
      laughing

      Go.229
    2. The comment was deleted.
  9. sasharos
    sasharos 10 December 2013 14: 20 New
    +2
    We read this, remember about the X-37 (which, by the way, is in orbit with unknown, but understandable to us tasks) and we understand that the improved Soviet project PAK DA is the last century, characterizes the lack of modern scientific advanced thought and the race for cutting money under the roof one office SU- without any competition!
    1. Basileus
      Basileus 10 December 2013 14: 38 New
      +1
      PAK YES is developing Tupolev. This is the first.
      Do you have any examples of abandoning classic bombers? Even the United States is choosing a subsonic manned, inconspicuous vehicle according to the "flying wing" scheme as a promising bomber. That is the same as PAK DA.
      1. postman
        postman 10 December 2013 17: 21 New
        +3
        Quote: Basileus
        the United States, however, is choosing a subsonic manned, inconspicuous vehicle according to the "flying wing" scheme as a promising bomber.

        still have not decided.
        NGB (Next Generation Bomber) and “2018 Bomber” are CLOSED, therefore:
        in addition to subsonic speed:
        - stealth;
        - the ability to be long above a certain point of the earth;
        - to be the carrier of cruise missiles and nuclear bombs;
        - to be in the airspace of the enemy for a long time.
        ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS:
        - flight range of 9500 kilometers;
        - the ability to remotely control the aircraft;
        - the duration of stay in the air during unmanned flight, equal to 50-100 hours;
        - use of existing engines;
        - the ability to carry weapons with a total mass of 6-12 tons.

        CANCELED
        LATEST REQUIREMENTS:
        - the ability to strike anywhere in the world;
        - performance of tasks of electronic warfare (EW) and electronic suppression;
        - integration into a single Pentagon information network;
        - reconnaissance, surveillance and reconnaissance.
        Long Range Strike ─ Bomber mb and such and such





        such:

        exactly will not be smile
        1. Kir
          Kir 10 December 2013 19: 05 New
          +1
          The second is a good mix of b-1 and a black widow, by the way are the air intakes poorly read, and the nozzle is not of rectangular cross section?
          1. postman
            postman 10 December 2013 19: 15 New
            +1
            Quote: Kir
            By the way, the air intakes are poorly read

            presumably they were from below, frontally, sorry, they didn't "send" winked
            Quote: Kir
            and a nozzle of which is not of rectangular cross section?

            But why is it with such a layout?
            / they will most likely refuse rectangular ... well, until they come up with a "rectangular" turbine ... /
            only lower efficiency
            1. Kir
              Kir 10 December 2013 19: 19 New
              +1
              Yes, it’s not visible that they are located below, but some are slit-like.
        2. Basileus
          Basileus 10 December 2013 19: 45 New
          +1
          PACK YES, it seems, too, will come out somehow like this:

          Under the requirements of LRS-B fits))
  10. tchoni
    tchoni 10 December 2013 15: 55 New
    0
    Yes, the Mikoyanites at one time announced the same thing that looked similar.
    But with amers stanets. Put on the conveyor.
    And all .... once ... a long time ago ... in one very distant America .....
  11. Cruorvult
    Cruorvult 10 December 2013 17: 17 New
    +3
    Quote: tchoni
    Regarding dumb and predictable program flights. a bomber pilot is not a ground attack aircraft or a fighter. He flies according to the program. And that’s all. I turned off there, could not stand the speed or altitude - all the gift was not addressed. And he does it alone, or at best, when there are no 2 air defense missions, and even then they are being worked out on the ground. You do it differently - most likely a corpse.
    This attack aircraft near the ground hustles about, so that the MZA would not take it. And for a bomber, the program is the basis.


    Nobody argues, drones can and should strike, but nobody is going to make them the main bomber yet. It’s one thing to bomb the banana republics, another is a war, if you remove the glanas / gps from the chain, you either fly a computer or use a compass or plan to read a map, it's hard to deceive it all. In WWII, like a capital, it was decorated and the buildings were hidden.
  12. psiho117
    psiho117 11 December 2013 08: 21 New
    +1
    Quote: Postman

    - to be the carrier of cruise missiles and nuclear bombs;
    - the ability to strike anywhere in the world;
    - integration into a single Pentagon information network;

    And then Skynet launched nuclear attacks on Russia and China ...
    Quote: Postman

    - the ability to remotely control the aircraft;

    Or hack)))