SPOTTED: RQ-170′s (almost) fact-less fact sheet

The US Air Force has quietly posted an online fact sheet for the RQ-170 Sentinel (aka Beast of Kandahar), but it is disappointing: no specifications, few facts and, alas, no picture.

The full text:


Fact Sheet Tool
 Printable Fact Sheet


The RQ-170 is a low observable unmanned aircraft system (UAS) beingdeveloped, tested and fielded by the Air Force. It will providereconnaissance and surveillance in support of the joint forcescommander.


The Air Force’s RQ-170 program leverages the Lockheed MartinAdvanced Development Programs (ADP) and government efforts to rapidlydevelop and produce a low observable UAS. The RQ-170 will directlysupport combatant commander needs for intelligence, surveillance andreconnaissance to locate targets.

The RQ-170 is flown by Air Combat Command (ACC), 432nd Wing at CreechAir Force Base, Nev., 30th Reconnaissance Squadron at Tonopah TestRange, Nev.

Point of Contact

Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, Directorate of PublicAffairs, 1690 Air Force Pentagon, Washington, D.C. 20030-1690; 703-695-0640.

December 2009


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4 Responses to SPOTTED: RQ-170′s (almost) fact-less fact sheet

  1. Drop Bear 19 December, 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    Steve – please look at the attached three images. They are all aircraft patches, and if I am right, I can completely 100% understand why Lockheed and the DoD refuse to furnish any more data on the airframe.

    First the images. “Alone and on the prowl” – look carefully at the ‘eye’ in the centre of the image.

    Now look at the 30th Sqdn. patch who fly the Sentinel out of TTR.

    Now why have I linked these? because for a while now its been nagging me where I have seen similar symbology on another patch. It took me a while but I finally found what I was looking for.

    Cobra Ball. Notice the eye in the pyramid and the star just like the above two patches – and I quote; “In war, Cobra Ball could provide rapid recognition of TBM launches following cloud-break and horizon clearance. Within seconds of launch detection, estimates of launch point, intercept point, and impact point are available for transmission over a data link to theater C4I elements like AWACS, JSTARS, and the AOC”.

    The over wing sensors would make perfect sense for a tactical ballistic missile launch detection system inside a stealthy airframe, and couple it with a stealthy strike platform make an effective hunter / killer unit. What better way to assure israel that they won’t get struck by Iranian systems than flying the latest Cobra Ball type stealth up over countries of concern even if it is an early test variant?

  2. jack carroll 25 December, 2009 at 9:01 pm #

    Google Hitler’s Stealth Fighter, which was shown on National Geo; many similarities….JC

  3. puppethead 29 December, 2009 at 3:18 am #

    How did they get to Q-170? I thought the Q sequence was still in the teens. It fits more in the missile M sequence (ie the Standard SM-3 ABM/ASATM is the RIM-161), but even that’s gone past 170 already. Another F-117 red herring designator? Or just plain weird like the return to the old cargo sequence (C-143, C-144) even while the current sequence continues (KC-45)?

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