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RQ-170 - Vandenburg - Some quality underside photos

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posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 06:47 AM
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Hi Guys,

Surprised this is not already up, I did search but didn't find anything.

RQ-170 Photographed at Vandenburg by a launch spotter - great photos and interesting data boom!

Sentinel playing with Seals?

RQ-170 at Vandenburg

Cheers
Robbie




posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 07:25 AM
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a reply to: stratsys-sws


Great find! S & F!
I wonder what that black panel is under the port wing.



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 07:26 AM
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a reply to: stratsys-sws

They have a Det at Vandenberg. They're home based at Creech, but fly a few at Vandenberg.



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 07:45 AM
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Pretty wild



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 08:06 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Cheers Zaph....I'm at Waddo so knew about Creech, didn't know Vandenburg was publicised.



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 08:12 AM
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a reply to: stratsys-sws

Nice!



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 08:36 AM
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originally posted by: Wizzz0001
a reply to: stratsys-sws


Great find! S & F!
I wonder what that black panel is under the port wing.


Thanks, I would speculate that this aircraft is a test rig, the air data boom and various other features are not standard and definitely not stealth. The black area could be a dielectric panel, perhaps painted black for testing something behind it.

Cheers
Robbie



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 08:45 AM
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a reply to: stratsys-sws

It's one of those quietly open secrets. They didn't go out of their way to publicize it or hide it.



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 08:46 AM
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a reply to: stratsys-sws

It has an AESA antenna too it looks like. Probably a new SAR system.



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 08:48 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

Perfect place to test something like that!!



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 08:51 AM
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a reply to: stratsys-sws

I'm betting it's related to the E-8 recapitalization program.



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 08:57 AM
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a reply to: stratsys-sws

It's speculation but they may be using Vandenburg as a testing ground for new sensor and/or datalink upgrades to the 170. It's a little more away from prying eyes than Creech and not as full/busy as TTR or Yucca. It might also suggest that the 170 has become something more than a stop gap measure for someone like it was originally thought if Lockheed and others are investing in it.



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 10:03 AM
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a reply to: Sammamishman

Could it be that it WAS a stop-gap for someone, but now that whatever replaced it is operational, they now have tons of RQ-170 airframes lying around and its cheap acquisition/flying costs and lack of super-sensitive technologies makes it the perfect "stealth truck" to test and field new sensor systems with in a relatively low-risk fashion?



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 10:06 AM
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a reply to: Barnalby

It proved more flexible and useful than expected, and filled a hole they didn't realize they had.



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 10:13 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

That makes sense.

The RQ-170 always seemed to me like it was thrown together in a workshop by the Skunk Works summer interns and was barely more complicated than a jet-powered Long-EZ (or a giant version of one of those Zagi RC flying wings), and I'm sure that its stupid levels of simplicity has contributed a ton to its versatility and easy adaptabilty.



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 10:16 AM
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a reply to: Barnalby

That's more or less what happened. They used a fairly simple architecture compared to most aircraft, which allows pretty quick and simple sensor changes, with minimal flight testing.



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 10:18 AM
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originally posted by: Barnalby
a reply to: Zaphod58

That makes sense.

The RQ-170 always seemed to me like it was thrown together in a workshop by the Skunk Works summer interns and was barely more complicated than a jet-powered Long-EZ (or a giant version of one of those Zagi RC flying wings), and I'm sure that its stupid levels of simplicity has contributed a ton to its versatility and easy adaptabilty.


It's not stupidly simple trust me, it's genius simple.



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 10:28 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

I'm sure that upgrading it/adding sensors involves drilling out tons of surfboard foam, I can totally see that being the hazing ritual for new hires at Palmdale.



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 10:34 AM
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a reply to: Barnalby

"Congratulations and welcome to Skunk Works! Here's your shaping tool, there's your Sentinel. Get cutting. "



posted on Mar, 14 2017 @ 10:44 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58

The fact that it survived its crash landing more or less intact and the Iranians (well versed in the art of laying fiberglass over slabs of sanded corning foam, witness all their missile-shaped parade floats and that "stealth fighter" of theirs) were able to so quickly build a replica was the dead giveaway to me of exactly what Lockheed meant when they talked about "advanced low-cost composite technology for rapid fabrication and deployment"


It also explains why Northrop bought scaled right after the -170 entered service. They knew that they needed to close the flying surfboard gap if they wanted to stay competitive in the 21st century.




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