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Skunkworks working on ISR/Strike capable UAS

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posted on Sep, 6 2005 @ 11:49 PM
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In the first quarter of 2006, Lockheed is supposed to announce that it is building an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) at it's famous Skunkworks.

The DOD has been closely studying the capabilities needed for a penetrating, air-breathing unmanned reconnaissance aircraft to survive sophisticated air defenses.

In the past UAS developments have been funded mainly by DARPA, but this case is unique in that it is being funded by the USAF. This new UAS is supposed to be a survivable penetrator for use primarily in high-threat environments and it is purported that this system will take the place of the high flying SR-71 which was retired several years back. DARPA in recent history has funded systems such as the DarkStar UAS and it is expected that this new USAF funded system will fly higher and carry more payload than the DarkStar system did.

This new Skunkworks baby is also rumored to be designed for ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) functions utilizing AESA radar.
However, to go along with the enhanced "Kill Chain" doctrine it is being made to employ both kinetic and/or nonkinetic weapons.
The kinetic program apparently involves the 250-lb. Small-Diameter Bomb.
The non-kinetic program involves AESA radar being upgraded to electronic weapons status. These AESA weapon systems are capable of both cracking into network systems and crashing network systems leaving no telltale fingerprint.

*** At present I have no links to attribute this information to as it came to me in a company email, however that should all change in the next few days or weeks as the trades get ahold of this information.




posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 12:09 AM
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Great find


No specs as of yet, but Im assuming its high and slow with a long loiter time?

Intelgurl, could this be the Dark Star followon that was rumored to have been used in DSII?

www.abovetopsecret.com...

[edit on 9/7/05 by FredT]



posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 03:12 AM
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I always look forward to threads by you Intelgurl. You find the coolest toys for us to drool over.
great find! Looking forward to more infrmation about this.



posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 03:18 AM
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Very interesting stuff. Thanks for that.

Dallas



posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 04:53 AM
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Skunk Works Developing Secret Intel UAV (Note I took this out of order in the article adn if you do not have a subscription the link will not work)




This new system is said to be designed initially to collect intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance with advanced active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars. However, it also is being constructed with an eye toward employing both kinetic and/or nonkinetic weapons in some future phase of spiral development. The kinetic program--which would likely involve the 250-lb. Small-Diameter Bomb--is drawing less interest from defense and intelligence planners than nonexplosive weapons.

OF MORE INTEREST are new AESA arrays with the potential to be upgraded into weapons (see p. 50). Nonkinetic activities can be masked more easily by producing an effect that leaves an enemy unaware he's been attacked. The combination of sensor and weapon will give substance to a longtime Pentagon goal of producing "weapons effects" such as computer disruptions. It can also jam or allow penetration of computer and communications networks. Once inside enemy networks, U.S. operators can conduct intelligence-gathering or take control of networks for critical seconds or minutes during an air strike, for example. All of this would be done with no fingerprints such as bomb fragments or craters.

This new vehicle could become an unofficial competitor for the J-UCAS program. The Air Force and Navy are designing the stealthy J-UCAS system to collect intelligence, although USAF has also expressed interest in the ability to strike air defense radars and execute electronic attack missions. However, these aircraft are designed for some low-altitude and high-speed flight, which would hamper long-endurance missions.
New Lockheed UAV



posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 04:54 AM
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Thanks for the heads-up, Intelgurl. I wasnt able to find an article about this yet, so I'll keep my eyes and ears open.


So, what you're saying is, that this is a project not funded & supported by DARPA at all? Thats interesting.



posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 05:07 AM
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makes you wonder why they announce some porjects while others are hush hush, curious to know what projects are waiting to announced and what level of this project has reached to come out of the black



posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 02:10 PM
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I got it @ AWST:

Skunk Works Developing Secret Intel UAV (subscription)

Description
Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works is secretly developing a stealthy, long-endurance unmanned aircraft for penetrating deep inside hostile airspace to collect intelligence.


Unfortunately, you have to be a paid subscriber to read the entire article.


They call it an Intel UAV, so is this another secret skunk works UAS, or is it the same program?



posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 02:28 PM
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It seems a bit odd to be developing this kind of capability when the obvious opposition is rather low-tech and not big on radar. I would have though that visual and acoustic stealth would be the priority, with low-speed precision-strike capability for minimising collateral damage and making sure the right person gets it. But perhaps this one will be able to do that too.



posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 10:24 PM
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Coming from Skunkworks, i'm sure it will look good and work good and all, but...Could the Global Hawk not do those tasks? As for weapons it wouldn't be hard to moddify it for various weapons...unless a crucial "selling" point is also stealth. But the X-45C can bomb and it will be stealth.

Is this plane going to be public knowledge from the beginning...or will it be reminiscent of the Darkstar?



posted on Sep, 9 2005 @ 01:33 AM
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you're avaatar is from there too right murcielago?



posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 08:48 AM
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Originally posted by FredT
Intelgurl, could this be the Dark Star followon that was rumored to have been used in DSII?

www.abovetopsecret.com...


I believe this is the one insiders are calling "son of Dark Star"...
Chances are it is the one that was reported to have been used in Iraq.
Supposedly it is a large version of the Dark Star airframe.


Originally posted by Zion Mainframe
They call it an Intel UAV, so is this another secret skunk works UAS, or is it the same program?

They may refer to it as an "intel" UAS but it is most definitely weaponized for ground attack.
I think that may be mentioned in the AW&ST article, it was in my email.

[edit on 12-9-2005 by intelgurl]



posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 02:06 PM
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I'm a bit puzzled about the weapon system. I can see AESA being used as a directed EMP device to burn out electronics including missile seekers, radar, comms and computers, but I don't see how you would use it for hacking networks. Taking them down by brute force, sure, but why would you need something so powerful just for hacking?



posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 12:05 AM
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Originally posted by Wembley

I'm a bit puzzled about the weapon system. I can see AESA being used as a directed EMP device to burn out electronics including missile seekers, radar, comms and computers, but I don't see how you would use it for hacking networks. Taking them down by brute force, sure, but why would you need something so powerful just for hacking?

I'm not sure how much info there is online regarding the AESA and it's weaponization... I will look into it and get back to you.
Its not my area of influence at Raytheon and quite frankly there is not much available information on this system even through RayCo internal sources - which says a lot...



posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 12:22 AM
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It seems only natural that UAVs would be developed like this. UAVs Like the Global hawk wouldnt stand much of a chance against a advanced air defense I think. The Global hawk also turned out to be a tad bit more expensive then its original estimate of $15 million apiece. More like 50 million I believe now. So losing a few global hawks hits you in the wallet alot harder.

I would like to see this new UAV go the high and fast route like the SR-71. The blackbird without "true stealth" was shot at thousands of times and never hit. Im not sure of the max temps modern stealth can take but It would seem to me stealth and speed would be a winning combination.



posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 01:45 AM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
It seems only natural that UAVs would be developed like this. UAVs Like the Global hawk wouldnt stand much of a chance against a advanced air defense I think.
.........

I would like to see this new UAV go the high and fast route like the SR-71.

I believe the Global Hawk is not to be weaponized - this is because it is intended to be like the U2, a benign observation platform, non-threatening to friends or potential foes.

As for the "Son of DarkStar", I think when all is revealed about it - you'll find it is a very stealthy high flyer with not much speed but a lot of loiter time...


[edit on 13-9-2005 by intelgurl]



posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 01:56 AM
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intelgurl Do you know if modern R.A.M can even take temperatures at Mach 3+ speeds? I always wondered if there was major issues with R.A.M at higher temps.



posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 10:37 AM
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The SR-71 had some RAM paint on it, to make radar detection more difficult. (but not to make it impossible).
At those speeds and altitudes, stealth becomes almost irrelevant.
Anyway, i dont think the extreme temps were a problem to the RAM.

A few weeks ago, I found this interesting article about stealth technology, its well worth reading


CRACKS IN THE BLACK DIKE SECRECY, THE MEDIA, AND THE F-117A



posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 12:47 PM
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Originally posted by ShadowXIX
Do you know if modern R.A.M can even take temperatures at Mach 3+ speeds? I always wondered if there was major issues with R.A.M at higher temps.

What is RAM actually made out of? or are its contents classified as well?

I would think that they can survive through very intense heat, why have an airframe capable of going mach 6, and have your stealth be the one thing to limit its capabilities.

I assume its made out of some sort epoxy, paint like compostite. ?



posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 12:57 PM
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As for the "Son of DarkStar", I think when all is revealed about it - you'll find it is a very stealthy high flyer with not much speed but a lot of loiter time...


I'd tend to agree there...i.e. it can stay around longer if nobody knows it's even there....
Loiter time is much more important these days, especially with a different mandate than what necessitated the Blackbird. What is it with Lockheed and the "Star" name, anyhoo???




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