REPORT: RQ-170 spied over Osama bin Laden’s bed last night

RQ-170 2 magnify 560.JPGThe killing of Osama bin Laden reportedly included a starring role for the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel — the stealth unmanned aircraft system (UAS) acknowledged to exist by the US Air Force on 16 months ago.

The National Journal’s Marc Ambinder got the scoop about 1am this morning, when he tweeted: “US Joint Special Operations Command SMU — from DEVGRU (Navy SEALs), did the shooting. RQ-170 drone overhead. JSOC spotters on ground.”

In confirmed, this would be the first operation directly linked to the secretive RQ-170. Although the USAF has acknowledged its existence, it has never released an official photo. The UAS has been glimpsed only through a series of photos released by spotters around the US airfield at Kandahar, Afghanistan.

Ambinder’s tweet also may shed light on the RQ-170′s mission, which has never been clarified. It is clearly used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, but its role in the Abbottabad raid suggests it can transmit full motion video in real-time. It also may be the source of the hyper-spectral sensor cited in Ambinder’s other reporting.


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6 Responses to REPORT: RQ-170 spied over Osama bin Laden’s bed last night

  1. John S. 2 May, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Now it makes sense why you would want a stealthy UAV operating out of a “friendly” country. It is so you can conduct surveillance withing that friendly country without having your location ‘leaked’ to the intended target.

  2. mrmalaya 2 May, 2011 at 9:14 pm #

    oh i got this one right! Not so much spying on Iran but flying over Pakistan without their knowing.

    I wonder if the Iranians are breathing a bit easier now they know where this thing has been since it appeared…

  3. asdf 2 May, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

    what are those hyperspectral sensors? care to shed some light on it?

  4. nico 3 May, 2011 at 5:09 am #

    I think many of us wondered why the US was using such a top secret project to overfly the Taliban?

    I figured it was more Iran that was the target but it appears from disclosed reports that the mansion in Pakistan was under 24/7 surveillance for months if not a year. The mansion was a “target of interest” even when US intel community didn’t know who was there but the site peeked their interest anyways. We know US flies drones over Pakistan to do “targeted kills” but was Pakistan told about RQ170? I doubt it, we had something they couldn’t detect and used it to keep the mansion under surveillance.

    It does appear that civilian leadership had very good images almost live feed of what was happening around the mansion during the attack.

    If I were Iran, I would be a bit preoccupied about where RQ170 will be flying next.

  5. Lucy Zanotti 6 May, 2011 at 3:52 am #

    Omg wow they found osamas body

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