December 12th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

U.S. seeks spy edge with stealth drone

CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr

It looks like a bat, sweeping, turning. But it’s actually the new super-secret Air Force stealth drone.

CNN has learned this unmanned spy plane is designed to fly for up to 24 hours behind enemy lines in countries like North Korea, Iran, and Syria.

Military sources tell CNN it will give the United States a critical stealth advantage to spy on countries that have strong air defense systems able to shoot down more conventional aircraft.

The drone, believed to be called the RQ-180, was first revealed by the magazine Aviation Week and Space Technology in a lengthy article co-authored by Amy Butler and Bill Sweetman, both long time experts in classified military stealth technology.

The program is so classified the Air Force would not confirm its existence to CNN or Aviation Week.

But several U.S. officials told CNN its capabilities are a top intelligence gathering priority– especially after a less sophisticated stealth drone went down in Iran in 2012.

The key, Butler said, is the drone’s ability to fly long distance and stay aloft for 24 hours in a stealthy manner.

"This aircraft will be able to penetrate that border and conduct operations in and around an enemy airspace without being targeted," Butler told CNN.

It’s so secret the drone is believed to be at a hangar at Area 51 - the Air Force's highly secure flight test center in Nevada.

The drone may be able to fly as high as 11 miles. The requirement for an asset that is stealthy, can fly at high altitude and conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance is a crucial priority for the military and the intelligence community.

Plan for a new spy plan unveiled

In several countries, air defenses have improved significantly in recent years making it difficult if not impossible for U.S. assets to gather information.

The drone’s ability to stay up for 24 hours will also give it a key advantage over satellites which often pass by a target intermittently and are subject to be being detected.

Butler said the shape of the drone means enemy radars can't easily see the drone as heat it throws off is shielded so radars can’t pick it up.

“This aircraft is designed to evade both those thermal sensor, those radar sensors, and other sensors that look for aircraft.  So it might not be invisible to radar, but you might not be able to target it and shoot it down.”

Butler suggested the drone may even be able to carry sensors that can listen to cell phone calls and any “activities on enemy frequency, radar activities, that sort of thing.”

Although it’s not confirmed, the magazine suggested the drone could be operating as soon as 2015.

Navy launches stealth destroyer

soundoff (1,154 Responses)
  1. jimmy johns near me

    Good blog you've got here.. Itís difficult to find excellent writing like yours these days. I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

    June 16, 2021 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  2. funeral homes near me

    Iím impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog thatís equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I stumbled across this in my search for something concerning this.|el-3|es-2|cy-1|pt-0&ind1=9897&lang=1&p=pt-43|cy-51|es-44|el-58|ie-60&url=https://www.ocrvcenter.comcoronavirus-updates-live

    June 16, 2021 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  3. electrician near me

    This is the right web site for anybody who really wants to understand this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I personally would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject which has been written about for a long time. Great stuff, just great!

    June 16, 2021 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  4. RV Repair Mission Viejo

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this info.

    June 16, 2021 at 10:51 am | Reply
  5. Sprinter Repair Costa Mesa

    I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in penning this blog. I'm hoping to check out the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own site now 😉

    June 16, 2021 at 10:10 am | Reply
  6. Camper Repair Near Me

    June 16, 2021 at 10:08 am | Reply
  7. Sprinter Repair Shops Near Me

    June 16, 2021 at 7:51 am | Reply
  8. RV Repair Shop

    June 16, 2021 at 2:24 am | Reply
  9. Camper Repairs Near Me

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me lunch because I stumbled upon it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to discuss this topic here on your internet site.

    June 15, 2021 at 11:46 pm | Reply
  10. w88 club casino

    It's very straightforward to find out any topic on web as compared to
    textbooks, as I found this post at this web site.

    June 15, 2021 at 9:27 pm | Reply
  11. slot deposit

    Hello, i believe that i noticed you visited my weblog
    so i got here to go back the prefer?.I'm trying to to
    find issues to enhance my website!I suppose its
    adequate to use a few of your ideas!!

    June 15, 2021 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  12. Camper Repair Near Me

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always exciting to read articles from other writers and use something from their sites.

    June 15, 2021 at 8:18 pm | Reply
  13. RV Repair Orange County California

    Howdy! I could have sworn Iíve been to this blog before but after looking at some of the posts I realized itís new to me. Anyhow, Iím certainly happy I discovered it and Iíll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

    June 15, 2021 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  14. RV Repair Orange County California

    June 15, 2021 at 3:32 pm | Reply
  15. RV Repair Huntington Beach

    June 15, 2021 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  16. RV Repair Shops Near My Location;sort=MSN;start=36000

    June 15, 2021 at 1:36 pm | Reply
  17. Sprinter Repair Shop Near Me

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me lunch simply because I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this topic here on your web page.

    June 15, 2021 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  18. RV Repairs Near My Location

    That is a good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Simple but very accurate informationÖ Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!

    June 15, 2021 at 10:00 am | Reply
  19. RV Repair Near Me

    Hello, I do think your website could be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other than that, wonderful blog!

    June 15, 2021 at 7:48 am | Reply
  20. RV Repair California

    June 15, 2021 at 6:16 am | Reply
  21. RV Repair Places Near Me

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I am hoping to view the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own blog now 😉

    June 15, 2021 at 5:39 am | Reply
  22. Camper Repair Shops Near Me

    This page certainly has all of the information I wanted about this subject and didnít know who to ask.

    June 15, 2021 at 4:48 am | Reply
  23. Rudy Souders

    Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a video game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you would like to see more you can see these Second Life websites and blogs

    June 15, 2021 at 4:10 am | Reply
  24. live22 apk

    For many, it is be the ideal choice for creating and then cleans youthful planned arrival.
    What is good and righteous for you is good and righteous for my routine.
    You want them to efficiently obtain your point to.

    June 15, 2021 at 3:32 am | Reply
  25. wineries near me

    Right here is the right site for anyone who wishes to understand this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want toÖHaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject which has been written about for decades. Excellent stuff, just excellent!

    June 14, 2021 at 8:22 pm | Reply
  26. chinese food delivery near me

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It is the little changes that make the most significant changes. Thanks for sharing!

    June 14, 2021 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  27. daftar game slot

    Stunning quest there. What occurred after? Thanks!

    June 14, 2021 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  28. cupcakes near me

    June 14, 2021 at 11:50 am | Reply
  29. hardee's near me

    June 14, 2021 at 11:48 am | Reply
  30. price of common auto repairs

    Appreciating the commitment you put into your blog and in depth information you present.
    It's great to come across a blog every once in a while
    that isn't the same unwanted rehashed information. Excellent read!
    I've saved your site and I'm including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

    June 14, 2021 at 10:03 am | Reply
  31. vons near me

    June 14, 2021 at 9:57 am | Reply
  32. gastroenterologist near me

    This is a topic that's close to my heart... Thank you! Exactly where are your contact details though?

    June 14, 2021 at 9:49 am | Reply
  33. renewable resources malaysia

    Just wish to say your article is as astonishing. The
    clarity in your post is just great and i could assume you are an expert on this subject.

    Well with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming
    post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

    June 14, 2021 at 9:17 am | Reply
  34. drive in theater near me

    Good info. Lucky me I found your site by chance (stumbleupon). I have book marked it for later!

    June 14, 2021 at 8:26 am | Reply
  35. bath and body works near me

    June 14, 2021 at 7:39 am | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Leave a Reply to


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.