posted on Sep, 5 2013 @ 04:05 PM
An interesting post at the Aviationintel blog that made its way to the Aviationist blog. Last year a pilot flying into Palmdale took a picture of an
open shelter sitting well off from the other hangars. Interestingly, while away from the other hangars, and covered to keep satellites from seeing
it, it was a standard aircraft shelter with both ends wide open.
Inside the shelter lies a mystery aircraft. The shape is similar to the RQ-170, but it appears to be larger than the Sentinel. According to analysis
it's sitting in an 80 foot wide shelter, which would give it a wingspan of 70-75 feet most likely, up to 10 feet longer than the RQ-170.
Taken from a pilot passing through Palmdale airfield last year, the photo in this post was published by Tyler Rogoway on his Aviationintel.com
It shows what appears to be a flying wing type of drone, inside of an aircraft shelter located north of the Northrop Grumman facilities at Air Force
Even if the aircraft, most probably an unmanned one, has a shape seemingly similar to that of the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel, it’s actually
quite larger than the “Beast of Kandahar” type of unmanned aerial systems, an example of those was captured by Iran in Dec. 2011.
Interestingly it's been speculated that Northrop Grumman had developed a new UAV, and had been (at least) testing it since about 2009. In 2011, an
unnamed photographer reported to Bill Sweetman that he had been at Tonopah with the Air Force, and saw what he thought at first was a Sentinel. But
upon closer inspection realized that it was larger, had a different intake, and the skin looked different. He said the Air Force escort got
uncomfortable and asked him not to photograph it, and he complied.
This shelter happens to be just north of the Northrop Grumman facilities at Palmdale, and very close to the engine test cells where engine runs are