- The Washington Times - Friday, December 6, 2013

The Air Force is developing an unmanned stealth aircraft geared for entering hostile airspace, according to Aviation Week.

The new drone, dubbed the RQ-180, will be key in shifting Air Force’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets away from “permissive” environments such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and toward operations in “contested” or “denied” airspace.

“The mix is not where it needs to be,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Robert Otto, deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), said in September. “We are over-invested in permissive ISR, and we have to transform the force to fight and win in contested environments. We will seek a more balanced fleet of both manned and unmanned platforms that are able to penetrate denied airspace and provide unprecedented levels of persistence.”

Air Force officials told Aviation Week they do not discuss the secret program.

The RQ-180, being developed by Northrop Grumman, could become operational by 2015. It is not clear whether it will conduct strike missions.

For more, read Aviation Week’s story here: http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_12_06_2013_p0-643783.xml&p=1



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