posted on Nov, 7 2015 @ 10:04 AM
a reply to: Bfirez
Lets take a look at some of the events and their placement on the timeline in regards to a LO HALE platform:
Darkstar (RQ-3) first flight was in 1996 and it's last flight was in 1999 before being cancelled due to "budgetary" reasons. Despite the one crash on
the original article's second flight in 1996, the second aircraft seamed to be progressing and expanding it's flight envelope nicely over the course
of less than a year before the program was shut down. A third aircraft was built but supposedly never flew.
The contract for the RQ-180 as believed to have been awarded to Northrop Grumman in 2008 and that aircraft is likely still in development today.
This leaves a gap of more than 10 years that the DoD could
have had but publicly didn't have a high altitude long endurance LO ISR UAS.
I believe that the Darkstar program continued and that the cut in the original program was the point at which it went black. I think the DoD
have a LO HALE platform since the early 2000's whose forerunner was the Darkstar as evidenced by the U-2 pilots spotting a craft at or
above their altitude during that time frame. I think it is also still flying to this day.
An interesting side note that I noticed while at Palmdale last summer. Inside the gift shop at the Blackbird Park museum there is a cool plaque that
has a small US flag and some mission patches from the U-2, SR-71 and Tier III- (Darkstar) so I know Lockheed was pretty proud of that
edit on 7-11-2015 by Sammamishman because: (no reason given)