Mystery Flying Wing Drone spotted at Palmdale Air Force Plant 42

Sep 05 2013 - 8 Comments

Taken from a pilot passing through Palmdale airfield last year, the photo in this post was published by Tyler Rogoway on his Aviationintel.com website.

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 Plant 42.

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.

Based on Rogoway’s detailed photo-analysis, the drone sits in 80ft wide shelter. What’s weird is that, although shielded from satellites, and away from the curious eyes of aircraft spotters, the structure hosting the mysterious aircraft is unsealed, a fact that almost completely rules out any possibility the one depicted in the image is a new black project.

Still, it’s really hard to say whether the mysterious drone is a prop, an X-47 mock-up used for testing purposes, a technology demonstrator, a Global Hawk replacement, a small scale unmanned B-2 or a larger Sentinel (like the one exposed in satellite images we posted last year), or really a new black project (a larger Sentinel).

Image courtesy of Tyler Rogoway/Aviationintel.com

 

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  • LB

    That is interesting because even the sentinels are kept in sealed hangars and kept away from prying eyes. Even after all the publicity they have received from the Iran incident.

    You would think if they cared that much about aircraft that have been captured and relatively older in terms of Secret Squirrel UAVs, that this new one would be stored somewhere else.

  • Omega

    The “not existing” Aurora….?

  • Kocsis János

    Not a B-2?

  • David

    For what it’s worth, the X-47A lives at Plant 42

  • Jack
  • Observer

    That’s the X-47B. It’s been seen in that hangar before.

  • Robert Kurte

    Lockheed Martin put something up on their Facebook page earlier today. Wonder if it could be this.

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=733274653356509&set=a.137862012897779.26971.137792852904695&type=1

  • Mark

    I am thinking RQ-3 Dark Star