Northrop Grumman RQ-180

The Northrop Grumman RQ- 180 is a stealth reconnaissance drone the U.S. Air Force. The RQ -180 is the potential successor to the RQ -170 Sentinel and was unveiled in early December 2013 " Aviation Week ".


The development of the RQ -180 can be up to the "Joint Unmanned Combat Air System" trace program, which was canceled in 2005, as the requirements of the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force were contradictory. The Navy wanted a trägergestüztes model and started the UCAS - D program, from which the X -47B Pegasus emerged. The Air Force had more interest in a larger model, with global reach and therefore launched a " Classified Program". Northrop Grumman continued in the subsequent bidding against Boeing and Lockheed Martin, and by 2008 received the development contract for the RQ 180. Delivery of the first prototype was thereby set to 2013.


The RQ- 180 has approximately the size of the RQ -4 Global Hawk ( 40 m span ) and should also provide similar flight performance, particularly in relation to the duration of use, which compared to the RQ -170 is a great advantage. In order to perform ISR missions in heavily defended airspace, the airframe of the RQ -180 stealth heavily optimized. But in order to meet the requirements in range and altitude, Northrop Grumman resorted to the so-called " Cranked - kite " design.


So far, no technical data are officially known. All previous information are estimates.