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 (1,334 Responses)
  1. allenwoll

    Were I a prominent and controversial figure, I would worry much, MUCH more about the missions of PRIVATE drones.than government ones ! ! ! . I can see you begging for government Interceptor Drones !

    December 12, 2013 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  2. KEVIN

    These drones truly are impossible to detect. I live right next to an army and air force base and I know they must be test flying them right over my house but I have never seen or heard them flying. If they are impossible to detect via any kind of radar or satellite then they truly are invincible.

    December 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Reply
    • tim

      if you have never heard them, and you've never seen them, why the hell do you think they are there?

      December 13, 2013 at 4:36 am | Reply
  3. strangways

    I believe in freedom of the press, but stuff like this SHOULD be off limits. Like when the media reported the US was tracking Bin Laden's cell phone signal. So he stopped using a cell phone and evaded justice for 10 years. C'mon!

    December 12, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Reply
    • joeyi

      well it was a Pakistani man who gave the us a tipoff not drones..this is just to support your point.

      December 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Reply
    • jarhead4life


      December 12, 2013 at 3:26 pm | Reply
    • CapcityAdam

      And you wonder why some countries censor the internet... Ridiculous. Hey world, the US has a new super secret way to spy on you to make sure you're not doing anything bad. "The public has a right to know!!!" Here's a picture of what it looks like, it's capabilities and oh, just for fun, here are the countries it's specifically targeting. Now that this version is outdated, the government needs to spend a few billion dollars on making another one that can't be detected, that is until Teen Bop or Tiger Beat publishes new pictures. Thanks media.

      December 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      That's up to those charged with keeping such information secret. If they can't keep their mouths shut, the information is fair game for the press and anyone else.

      December 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  4. JT

    Well then....It ain't too Super Secret is it!

    December 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Reply
    • jonathanL

      I think this night be a ruse to cover more advanced stuff. On Long Island we saw an anti gravity boomerang and a triangluar craft with lights with 2 lights underneath (defintely well engineered stuff) flying, hovering and gliding silently at various times. I don't really believe this is our most advanced. Either that or we have some big national security issues.

      December 12, 2013 at 2:31 pm | Reply
      • allenwoll

        Take two aspirins and call your NSA Rep in the morning !

        December 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
  5. Jimmy

    It's very smart to keep our enemy guessing as to what we are up to.
    It costs us knothing and cost them a lot.
    This tactic is nothing new

    December 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Reply
  6. Phil

    "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."

    I think you misunderstood Butler. Radar doesn't see heat, it sees reflections of radio pulses. Infrared cameras (thermal sensors, if you prefer) are what see heat. But the shape of an aircraft affects both of these.

    December 12, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Reply
    • HangDiver

      Actually certain types of radar do see heat (changes in density), which is why so much work has gone into shielding and diluting jet engine plume.

      December 12, 2013 at 2:07 pm | Reply
      • tim

        wrong. no radar can detect heat. read a freaking book.

        December 13, 2013 at 4:40 am |
  7. blinky

    The drone is already in the wrong hands.

    We are the bad guys it can kill.

    It will be used against the enemy and ourselves, the Pentagon makes no distinction.

    December 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm | Reply
    • Locutis2112

      You may now return to your Alex Jones TV

      December 12, 2013 at 2:15 pm | Reply
      • Kenny Kiklar

        You may now return to being a good little sheep.

        December 12, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • El Guapo

      Just wait till it becomes self-aware and takes over the world!

      December 12, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Reply
  8. Wraith

    SSShhhhh, don't tell anyone it's a super secret secret... well this explains all the recent Black Triangle UFO reports... DEBUNKED!

    December 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Reply
    • jonathanL

      So you read my previous post?

      December 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm | Reply
    • Tyler Durden

      So this thing is 1 mile wide wingtip to wingtip? Odd they failed to mention that in the article.

      December 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm | Reply
  9. bob

    It's so secret that there is an article on CNN about it! SECRET!!!

    December 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  10. JMorcan

    Let's hope it doesn't rely on GPS, or at least has a self-destruct.

    December 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  11. OName*larry Atchley

    Unnamed sources are upsetting to me . The choices we make in electing our officials put the responsibility of our security as a whole on them. this includes need to know ! Do we need to know or advertise our latest tech to the general public or enemy's .i think not!

    December 12, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  12. sven

    hopefully we add a self destructing bomb in it to blow it up, so it doesn't fall in the wrong hands

    December 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply
  13. bmsvds

    The media outlets responsible for exposing these "classified" programs should be charged with treason. Now everybody knows about the "classified" program.

    December 12, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • ridgeroamer

      If this new technology is so stealthy then those in worry won't even know it's there. You must suffer limited educational ability's.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      Yeah! Treat these media folk just like Assange, or Manning, or Snowden, or....

      December 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Reply
    • Jemez Monkey

      Before you all get your buns in a twist over CNN reporting on this great secret, check out the WIKI page on the aircraft.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Reply
  14. ridgeroamer

    How can you be sure if you spot any type of drone it's not something Osama’s boys didn’t cook up and is loaded with high explosives? Keep you and your neighbors safe and shoot it down.

    December 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      Use caution when shooting at drones, your shotgun will be no match for a Hellfire missile...

      December 12, 2013 at 1:49 pm | Reply
    • Jemez Monkey

      Before you all get your buns in a twist over CNN reporting on this great secret, check out the WIKI page on the aircraft.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:50 pm | Reply
  15. Kyle

    “Every time anyone says that Israel is our only friend in the Middle East, I can’t help but think that before Israel, we had no enemies in the Middle East.”

    December 12, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Reply
    • Judas Priest

      Every time someone says before Israel we had no enemies in the Middle East, I can't help but think about how our association with the British made everyone in the Middle East our enemies well before Israel came about.

      December 12, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Reply
      • Kyle

        How is that true?

        December 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  16. dave

    its so secret.... that we have press releases about it.... talking about its design and its location !

    December 12, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  17. CitizenKK

    How many bad guys (Chinese, Soviets, radical Islamists) can it kill?

    December 12, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  18. michele c.

    Seems to me that if this information is secret, there is no reason to for the civilians of the US to know about it! Why does CNN, or any other news cast for that matter, need to report on something which may help instead of hurt? If the citizens knew the "super secrets" of WWI or WWII, we may have lost the wars. We are still overseas afterall. How do you know that CNN's breaking of supersecrets doesn't hurt our military?!

    December 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply
  19. Duh

    Way to go's not so super secret anymore. Shouldn't the author of this article be charged with treason now?

    December 12, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  20. cynicalferret

    Super Secret Stealth Drone....Lets talk about it on a national news site so that everyone knows about it!

    December 12, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  21. Zippy

    The best way to test these are to fly them over residential and commercial areas here first and see how many UFO spottings are reported. If they are effective they will be used for more than just spying on other countries, they will be used on drug dens, etc., and just maybe to find out what grandma's secret cherry pie recipe is all about.

    December 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  22. jon

    Horribly written, treasonous article

    December 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • socaldodgerfan

      I totally agree. Makes you wonder which team the media plays for. I could understand Al Jazeera running an article but not a so called American news channel.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm | Reply
    • Judas Priest

      Treasonous? For spreading government disinformation? You should applaud their patriotism.
      Aviation Leak and Space Mythology has been happily disseminating any wild speculation or outrageous claims that the Air Force, the CIA, UFO nuts, and pretty much anybody who walks in off the street feeds to them, for decades now.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:43 pm | Reply
    • John D

      I agree with you. Terribly written, multiple grammatical errors.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  23. vr13

    How is that super secret if its existence and capabilities have already been revealed? Are we no longer able to preserve military secrets within the military organization itself? Amazing.

    December 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      More likely AW put together a bunch of small, seemingly unrelated facts to come to their conclusions. They have some really smart people working there, and this wouldn't be the first time they've correctly identified and even worked up designs of classified aircraft, based on some of the most ephemeral information.

      December 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  24. Mopery

    Coming soon to a neighborhood near you!

    December 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  25. Teriander

    Why does CNN use a much useful comment system to post comments on their main article, but use this outdated garbage for "Security Clearance" Articles? This board design is stupid.

    December 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  26. Larry Anglin

    The statement: "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." is incorrect. Radars do not see heat. Radars receive back reflections from radio waves they throw at an object. Thermal sensors see heat.

    December 12, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Reply
    • Mopery

      What new devilry is this? Are reporters supposed to actually investigate their claims before knee-jerk reporting them now? This is America, we don't care about facts, we only care about sensationalism nowadays....

      December 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm | Reply
  27. Ed L

    Radar detects heat?

    December 12, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Reply

    Why not use google earth to spy on people?

    December 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Reply
  29. idiots

    Remember the good old days of warware, when we had sayings like "loose lips sink ships?" What is with all this dramatic anger over NSA, spies, bugging world leaders phones? Our enemies do not need spies, our journalistic craze for the "next big story" and "protecting sources" has given the enemy all the information they need, they just need a computer or a TV...oh look, USA has a new stealth drone, oh look, USA has a new destroyer that is like the old battleships, oh look, USA can spy on us in this way and that....and we wonder how people in caves cannot be stopped...WE TELL THEM HOW WE COME AFTER THEM.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      I agree. I'm generally disgusted by "super top secret" stuff being exposed by the media. I guess readership and ratings is more important than security to them. I sometimes wish someone would get locked up for this. I take consolation in the fact that there are probably things out there FAR more secret than what we hear about. My father and brother both work in the defense industry and they generally laugh when "top secret" stuff is revealed. They generally say "that's old news" and just smile. Remember, the F-117 was flying in 1981, in service in 83, and "leaked" 5 years later

      December 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Reply
    • John Deere

      We say "Loose tweets sink fleets." now.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm | Reply
      • Judas Priest

        +1 internets for you.

        December 12, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      It's up to the military to keep secrets secret. Not the press.

      It isn't even clear that AW obtained any classified information. In the past, they've nailed detailed designs based on hearsay and seemingly unrelated reports and observations. It wouldn't be the first time they've scooped a military project based on educated guesswork.

      December 12, 2013 at 3:42 pm | Reply
  30. JK

    If anyone gets ahold of one... let us know, we will clone it and sell it at HobbyCIAClones for $1mil per. Should be done in a couple of weeks.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Reply
  31. jonathanL

    Do they test these things in residential areas? On Long Island we saw a couple incredibly stealthy and mystifying aircraft, one near our house alond rte 231 in West Islip in 1998, and one in Melville off Wilmington (near an Airport) in 2007. This first was about 40 feet across and looked exactlly like a black Australian boomerang. I was touching the tree tops moving steadily north at about 5 miles hour (yes 5). It then stopped and hovered still and silent about 50 feet from ourr house so my wife ran in to get the video and it then rose at high speed to several thousand feet passing nerby an airliner. It looked very stealthy with a velcro like surface and balck, and with evident solid angles on the wings. The other was just a black triangle with 2 lights underneath that hovered above out house in the evening in Melville. When my son took out his phone and started taking pictured it went straight up and disappeared into the sky. I called the nearby Farmingdale Airport and sent the the pictures and they did not see it on radar or know what it was. Were they ufos or stealth craft belonging to us or someone else? Don't know.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Reply
    • Neil Smith

      I have had a similar experience and have wondered the same things as you. Last year, I saw three in Indiana much higher in the night sky than what you saw. They seemed to be traveling at a cruising speed for several minutes before forming up and taking off at a much higher speed. I still think about it a lot. Pretty crazy stuff.

      December 12, 2013 at 2:32 pm | Reply
  32. Bob Dealin'


    December 12, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  33. GnatB

    Hmm... last I checked, CNN is an American company. Isn't it still treason to knowingly disseminate classified military secrets, even for the press?

    December 12, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Reply
    • Caroline

      Yeah and I guess it isn't "super secret" anymore, how ridiculous!

      December 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Reply
    • I AM

      In the article it said it was reported by a magazine Aviation Week and Space Programs. So, CNN is just following up on the article.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • GarageBind

      Shhh - we'll tell everyone who saw the drone flying that their sightings did not happen.

      Considering how long it takes to produce a final product - concept, design, mock-up, wind-tunnel test the mockup, re-design based upon results of the wind-tunnel testing, designing the production line including tooling, methods, staffing and oh by the way the materials with which the drone will be made may need to change,......
      To make a long fact short - so much time that it HAD to have started during Bush admin.
      The 100% supported description of this is just another Bush admin thing where they "classify so people don't know how much of their tax payments were wasted"
      We know who the spendthrift anti-americans and criminals are in this - the Bush admin.
      Undoubtedly, the left wingers were kept out of the loop, and the right wingers who knew this was going on did not tell Obama or anyone else about it until it was a fait accompli.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      You people do realize that the Air Force and other government agencies actually leak these things on purpose, complete with false capabilities and undisclosed actual abilities right? It's called Counter-intel.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      No, and it never has been.

      December 12, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  34. JT

    Awesome, they invented Laserbeak –

    December 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Reply
  35. Fur Ball

    I recently caught one of these in my dream with nets of wonder!

    December 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • Bob Dealin'

      I caught one but mine turned out to be the Elusive Butterfly of Love... I released it in Wal-Mart, much to the chagrin of fellow shoppers

      December 12, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Reply
  36. John Smith

    Why Barbara Starr is so ugly looking. She looks like a horse.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Reply
    • Bob Dealin'

      A horse is a horse
      of course, of course
      but is Barbara Starr
      as big as a Car

      December 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Reply
    • Kristal mAC LEOD


      December 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Reply
  37. XanJester

    Did anyone really think they didn't have stealth drones? I bet you also thought they weren't spying on you. The American people get dumber every year.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Reply
    • nallegam

      Amen to that!

      December 12, 2013 at 12:33 pm | Reply
    • djkruse

      Who is saying anything about being surprised or not thinking we had stealth drones? It's just interesting when there are new advancements and/or secret programs revealed.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Reply
      • Unlo4

        Not really interesting. It's the same stuff as before, it's just quieter, lasts longer behind enemy lines, takes better pictures, etc etc. In a few years, this will be old, common-knowledge stuff and the next article will again be "interesting" as a quieter, longer lasting, better picture taking drone is leaked to the press, and the cycle will continue.

        December 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  38. nik green

    This is NOT designed solely for venturing across "enemy" borders. The main purpose will be to assist the authorities in their ongoing and escalating subtle war against the ordinary American people.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:30 pm | Reply
    • gordyb

      dude, there are cameras on every corner, in every store, in every school, there have been satellites overhead for fifty years and this is something to worry about? That ship sailed years ago. George Orwells 1984 is reality.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Reply
    • HA25

      Not too bright.
      If someone IS the authorities, then they don't need stealth. The US gov't isn't going to shoot down their own drones. Unless YOU have a radar and anti-aircraft installation I'm not aware of.
      Stealth is for working in other countries.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Reply
  39. Teriander

    Hey CNN. You wouldn't happen to have the Super Secret Launch codes for our ICBMs by any chance? I need to send a personal message to my friend in China and I need it there in 30 mins or less.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:25 pm | Reply
    • nallegam

      The N.S.A. will love it for watching us.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Reply
      • are122

        I think they only watch what porn you watch.

        December 12, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Valkyrie

      This is no secret; the public has been aware of steal drones since the highly publicized shoot-down over Iran in 2012.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • joel

      I think youre joking but just to clarify that you dont think these are comparable secrets. Or that you think this is something the enemy learns from CNN first (or even AWAST). It would be hard to keep something secret if thousands of people know about it, unlike launch codes.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  40. manyote

    We have made contact with the aliens and they are us...

    December 12, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  41. Todd Milsap

    A true feat in secure technologies. Consumers must be wary of this news.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  42. traitors print secrets

    why are we reading about this stuff?

    December 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Reply
    • Shierl

      Aviation Weekly has been printing stories on classified programs for decades.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      You really think we didn't already have this technology? You think our enemies didn't realize it too? Remember the stealth helicopter that went down in Pakistan on the bin Laden mission? SMH

      December 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Reply
    • Bob Dealin'

      sounded so interesting
      I couldn't resist
      beats the heck out of playing
      another round of 'Risk'

      December 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Reply
    • manyote

      Be-cause it's there!

      December 12, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Reply
  43. Donkey

    I think Sarah Palin can see it from her house!

    December 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm | Reply
    • CosmicC

      If so, I'm sure she'll try to shoot it down.

      December 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  44. Richard

    Somehow, the defense industry has made these drones cost as much as manned aircraft, $160M in one case, as much as the F-22 Raptor, which they no longer build because IT was deemed too expensive!!

    December 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm | Reply
    • Teriander

      They stopped building the F-22 so they can build the super secret drone. Shh, don't tell anyone. It's super secret!

      December 12, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • nallegam

      An exellent point!

      December 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • worldlypatriotusaveteran

      Sorry, you are misinformed.

      These platforms are expensive because they are state-of-the-art intelligence-collection platforms, not air-dominance fighters.

      Very few are manufactured, and they possess technologies and capabilities not available when the F-22 was designed and manufactured. NOTE: the F-22 was developed in the 1990's.

      The new platform is likely a NEW GENERATION of low-observable technology, among other things.

      Expensive, yes, and probably over-priced, like nearly all defense programs.

      Reforms are required to lower costs. In the interim, would you rather the USA have older platforms and capabilities, or state-of-the-art capabilities which will keep our adversaries guessing, for decades to come?

      December 12, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Reply
      • Richard

        When aircraft were primarily built by "The Skunkworks" at Lockheed, nothing was overpriced, they tried absolutely to keep costs as low as possible while still doing the job. Unlike some other contractors.

        December 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  45. Teriander

    The public is allowed to know "Super Secret" technology. It's the "Super Duper Secret" technology that we're not allowed to know about.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  46. dike

    The old drones will show up o ebay starting next year, sources say....

    December 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  47. me

    It's super secret, that' why we are telling you all about it.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Reply
  48. David

    How stupid can you be to publish this top secret information? Is common sense gone in "journalism". Now our enemies know. Thanks for putting America at risk for another attack CNN

    December 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Reply
    • almac64

      C'mon, if Aviation Week and Space Technology Magazine know about it, it's either a fake story, or already obsolete, replaced by something superior.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Reply
    • Tmaus......

      You think you learned something useful? You didn't.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • djjimi

      It's all part of the propaganda my friend. Look over here while we do something else really important over there.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • nallegam

      The IS our enemy wether you know it or not, wake up sheeple.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  49. Say What?

    So let me get this straight, 2 people from a mag came out with a story that is so super secret that nobody knows anything about it, but yet, they found out.....

    Hey, theres this super secret about the US is making a steath dog....its able to go long range and bite someone without barking.....

    December 12, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Reply
  50. Aaron

    Psh...they just turned a manta ray upside down, then animated the result. a:P

    December 12, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Reply
  51. KennyEee

    If we know about this drone now the chances are there is already something to replace this drone that we don't know about!!

    December 12, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Reply
    • Riz

      If we know about this now, chances are it's been in operation for more than 5 years already.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  52. SOl

    Well not so secrete anymore. This reminds me of the new movies trailers, they give you so much of the movie when you see them that it seems that you just watched it, rediculouse.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Reply
  53. Bob

    I hate the Media, call it freedom of the press I call them a bunch of bozos.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Reply
    • nallegam

      They report that which they want you to know.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Reply
    • Bob Dealin'

      Bozos is a word we use to describe
      Politicians who Lie And accept felonious Bribes....
      and so it goes we cannot condone
      condemning the Medis; leave them alone
      Because a Free Press should write as they feel
      Truth sometimes takes a Back Seat but at least it's real

      December 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  54. Pete

    It does not seem so secret if everyone knows its code (RQ-180) and general description plus range and performance data. Is this intended to be some kind pre-teenager article?

    December 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Reply
  55. marco roxas

    it's not a secret anymore since you showed it to us... super secret but you spoiled it...

    December 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  56. Inciteful

    Irresponsible reporting by CNN. You don't HAVE to publish everything you learn, especially if it adversely impacts U.S. national security. CNN reported first. The devil with the consequences.

    December 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Reply
    • Bob Dealin'

      Call them irresponsible
      Call them Reprehensible
      Call them the Elite lower or the Upper
      Just don't call them late for supper

      December 12, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Reply
  57. Idfhjk Jdgjlhk


    December 12, 2013 at 11:58 am | Reply
    • andrewploessl

      And you apparently don't have 1 dictionary...

      December 12, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Reply
  58. Joel

    This unnamed military source also "accidently" dropped a Magum trojan on his date's lap during dinner. Whoops!

    December 12, 2013 at 11:57 am | Reply
  59. Idfhjk Jdgjlhk


    December 12, 2013 at 11:56 am | Reply
    • Bob Dealin'

      You are not allowed to tell anyone about this article, it's an open secret, shared by Americans for America only on CNN. Quick recite the Pledge of Allegiance out loud and it'll be OK

      December 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Reply
  60. Idfhjk Jdgjlhk

    Anyone in the military who may or may not have PTSD (most) will not be allowed too work in any right to work states as Civilian..."Jobs Jobs Jobs..."

    December 12, 2013 at 11:53 am | Reply
  61. jim

    I hope Iran and North Korea don't start flying their drones over Boston!

    December 12, 2013 at 11:50 am | Reply
    • Bobpitt

      They are secret drones.. may be they already are flying them... Shhhhh....

      December 12, 2013 at 11:54 am | Reply
    • andrewploessl

      How is that gonna happen? The Iranians gonna float a barge across the Atlantic and have 100 soldiers toss it up in the air?

      December 12, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Reply
  62. Whombatt

    Hmmmm. Well, now it isn't super secret, is it?

    December 12, 2013 at 11:49 am | Reply
  63. Idfhjk Jdgjlhk


    December 12, 2013 at 11:48 am | Reply
  64. eymardcm

    If they've revealed the super-secret spy drone, you know for sure their hiding a super-duper secret spy drone.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • Judge Jean Boyd of Texas

      Let's just hope so, eymardcm. I like the ides!

      December 12, 2013 at 11:50 am | Reply
      • JRM

        But beware the ides of March!

        December 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  65. Andy

    Maybe a popular aviation magazine published this information, but from my perspective, this article as fake. Anyone knowing anything about aircraft and radar knows that radar doesn't pick up heat from an aircraft. Radar is radio waves (usually in the gigahertz range) that bounces off aircraft (or ships at sea or vehicles on land or anything that may reflect electromagnetic radiation) and is received at or near the transmitting point in order to locate an object. To detect heat, that would be infrared detectors. Usually this is done in a passive manner, and it has a much shorter range than radar.

    This information coupled with the crap reported above tells me that someone is just trying to put out some sensationalism rather than reporting truly.

    BTW, aircraft that are "stealth" can still be seen by radar. The difference is the RCS (Radar Cross Section) presented to ground or air equipment that may be looking for anything. RCS is effected by surfaces that reflect or re-radiate EM. If the surfaces can be made to do this reflection/re-radiation in a different direction than the source looking for them than it does not appear to be there, or appears to have a size or shape that doesn't match anything the adversary recognizes.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • CKBLKR

      nice Wikipedia copy and paste. Shows how much you know!

      December 12, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Reply
    • cjccja

      I would not saw the article is fake. I just figured the CNN reporter was clueless about airplanes and radar. ALL of the information came from Aviation Week which would NEVER make such an error. This article is like a 9th grade "book report" in the real reporter's work and the 9th graders who wrote this report messed up with an obvious technical error. That does not make it fake.

      Root Cause is that CNN is free to read and has a budget only enough to hire this book report writers who cut and paste from other sources. AW is subscription based and they have budget to hire experts. We get what we pay for.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • almac64

      affected, not effected.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm | Reply
    • drone operator

      There are multiple variations of radar devices which can track aircraft by thermal signatures. A stealth plane isn't just invisible. It will come across radar in flashes due to its ability to conceal its sensory signatures. You will likely know there is something in your air space but you will not have the ability to get a radar lock on it and get a shot off.

      When they do spot something on radar if they can't lock onto it the next option is for the surface to air missile to lock onto a heat signature which the drone also conceals hence its "stealth" capability. look at Iraq the Iraqis knew the B2 was in the air space but they were firing aimlessly into the sky with AA artillery. Its there but its not there.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Reply
      • Andy

        Again, this is not true. Heat signatures are used, but only when the drone/missile has already used radar to get close enough to it for the IR to work. Radar will work in places where heat is obscured by cold clouds or general cold weather and even other objects that would block IR which makes IR rather iffy at any real distance.

        Radar EW/jammers don't hide a plane from radar, it just misdirects it, by taking the incoming signal and transmitting one just a bit off from the timing of the one received (not as easy as it sounds, but that's the basic principle). The toughest to guard against is passive radar. That's why most planes will go in with EM radiation cut the minimum, this includes of course radio silence.

        As for the grammar Nazi, effect is the correct term. An effect is the result of some action, in this case the reflection of EM. Affect is something that is basically something or someone trying to seem what they're not, like a person who smiles a lot when they're really unhappy. That is an affection.

        And the one who thinks it was a copy/paste from wikipedia obviously didn't check there, and I don't know what they have there since I've not had a reason to go there for this subject, nor would I contribute to it if I had information regarding it.

        As it is, I have some experience with EW in the form of the ALQ-161 system. While there is some unclassified information about this system on the internet, there are some details (still unclassified) that I could mention, but for those who wish to claim I know nothing, mentioning them would be meaningless since they are those with "invincible ignorance" (feel free to look that one up on wikipedia).

        For those who know anything regarding how the AF is set up, I could mention the designations we know the LRUs by, or I could say there's 135 ALQ-161 LRUs on the B1-B bomber (although that's not unique LRUs since there are duplicates for left and right sides). Between the antennas and LRUs, there's approximately 55 different pieces to the system (not including the operator console).

        So, some know I have knowledge, some will choose to remain convinced I don't and of those who don't, I couldn't care less.

        December 12, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  66. Idfhjk Jdgjlhk


    December 12, 2013 at 11:47 am | Reply
    • God Stays Crispy In Milk

      So your parents weren't true Americans. Traitor-Baby!!!

      December 12, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Reply
  67. Brian

    "The program is so classified the Air Force would not confirm its existence to CNN or Aviation Week." – Isn't that kind of the definition of classified? If they confirmed it's existence to the news it wouldn't be classified anymore. It's "so" classified. Give me a break CNN.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:46 am | Reply
    • Andy

      Actually it would still be classified, just like the information Snowden leaked is still classified. Just because it gets out to the public doesn't change it's classification level. However, anyone releasing said information is then likely to be prosecuted for it's release. By either confirming or denying the existence, that in itself could be considered releasing classified information.

      December 12, 2013 at 11:52 am | Reply
    • Bobpitt

      I wonder if Amazon is buying a few secret drones?

      December 12, 2013 at 11:56 am | Reply
      • technologicalInsanity

        actually they may employ drones to deliver packages. they have already done many of the steps to do so. The drones they use however will be more like quadro-copters for multi-directional movement. Only thing im worried about is how hackers have more access to our daily lives and possible weapons through modifications

        December 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
  68. john

    Is everything encrypted this time?

    December 12, 2013 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • Bobpitt

      this drone is so secret we are telling everybody about... shhhh is a very secret drone..!!!

      December 12, 2013 at 11:53 am | Reply
      • mr obvious

        Just like our government's publicly announced secret attack on Iraq. Shhh everyone in the world... its a secret. They're about as clandestine as the Man in the Yellow Hat from Curious George. "Nobody can see me I'm wearing camoflage" It would be funny if it wasn't true.

        December 12, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
  69. Idfhjk Jdgjlhk


    December 12, 2013 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • Pepinium

      Some quick advise. Slowly remove the tin hat, then go buy yourself a couple of vowels, :).

      December 12, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Reply
    • Kstar

      This is why legalizing marijuana is a bad idea. Idfhjk Jdgjlhk is slightly over baked.....

      December 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  70. Freelancer

    The hillbillies in Deer Trail, Colorado will try to shoot it down...


    December 12, 2013 at 11:44 am | Reply
    • CKBLKR


      December 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Reply
  71. Seyedibar

    Ooo impressive!!
    I mean the technology, not their ability to keep a secret.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:42 am | Reply
    • Joel

      I won't tell if you guys don't.

      December 12, 2013 at 11:49 am | Reply
    • alan s

      Seyedibar: Yes. The U.S. Government has lost the ability to keep a secret. As an American I would prefer that people not know about all America's military technical secrets.

      December 12, 2013 at 11:50 am | Reply
      • technologicalInsanity

        it's basic info they gave. every country tries to make planes that can't be detected. They didn't give any actual specs or useful info! did they say how they work EXACTLY or what was used to make them? No they didn't.

        December 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
  72. eddieb

    gee all this negativity its a good thing we need to fight our battles different or maybe you would like your son or daughter to fly over a battle zone to collect info. God forbid should they get shot down,

    December 12, 2013 at 11:41 am | Reply
  73. tonyl

    So maybe we can now target Snowden with the new drone.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:41 am | Reply
  74. caw

    It would be funny if it really doesn't exist, but a planted story to force N. Korea, Iran..etc to spend billions trying to create technology to find it.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:37 am | Reply
    • Bobpitt

      That may be the reason for the announcement.. but remember they are no dummies...

      December 12, 2013 at 11:57 am | Reply
  75. the_dude

    Cool they can use it to spy on tea party

    December 12, 2013 at 11:37 am | Reply
  76. Idfhjk Jdgjlhk

    the U.S. Military CANNOT DO THE HARD THINGS & REFUSES TO DO THE EASY THINGS AND ALL THATS LEFT IS LIES AND THEFT AND INPRISIONMENT...just ask the Congresional hotline and ask your designated TOOL (if anyone knows where they are) too explain how they plan too hurt you next...

    December 12, 2013 at 11:37 am | Reply
  77. Racemunki

    Hey folks! The idea behind "secret" is to not have everyone know about it!

    December 12, 2013 at 11:35 am | Reply
    • Ethan Couch

      This piece of news makes me happy to no end. Now that I literally got away with murder in Texas, thanks to my good friend, Judge Jean Boyd, I say that Texas is the best state in the Union. Now let's get on with the arms race or should I say, stay far ahead of everybody else?

      December 12, 2013 at 11:48 am | Reply
  78. Idfhjk Jdgjlhk

    The prophet (-N-S-A-) wrote: "The Eye in the Sky does not lie but its Master does.".

    December 12, 2013 at 11:29 am | Reply
  79. RJ

    As long as Aviation Week and CNN are the only ones reporting it, I'd say it still qualifies as secret. Anyone seen the ratings lately?

    December 12, 2013 at 11:28 am | Reply
  80. Idfhjk Jdgjlhk

    You backstabing military (-A-S-S-H-O-L-E-S-) planning on spending the money you stole from unemployment benifits & WOMANS HEALTHCARE to build this model airplane...thats not a question...CUT THE MILITARY AND CUT IT NOW TOO MANY MUSLIUMS ARE KILLING THEMSELFS...

    December 12, 2013 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • darknesscrown


      December 12, 2013 at 11:31 am | Reply
    • Natrldiver

      Last time I checked, the military employed more people than Mcdonalds and Walmart. They provide more income to the people than you can imagine through contracts and subcontracts which stimulate the economy more so than all the Democrat stimulus ever could. Quit your whining.

      December 12, 2013 at 11:37 am | Reply
      • Bobpitt

        Military doesn't produce anything, is a useless organization.. the only by products' are misery death and destruction..!!

        December 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
      • CosmicC

        So what you're saying is that it's okay to kill people because it's good for the US economy.

        December 12, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
      • technologicalInsanity

        you're right! plus military innovations end up becoming available for public use like GPS, microwaves, hummers, ect.

        December 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • water

      You are such an idiot!

      December 12, 2013 at 11:40 am | Reply
  81. Evenstar

    Oh yea! Now there are stealth drones spying on everyone! Just what we need.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:26 am | Reply
    • Garrett from Texas

      Does this mean that the tin foil hat wearing loonies who say they government has secret invisible flying robots spying on them have been right all along?

      Or does it mean the tin foil hat wearing loonies who say there are alien space craft in Area 51 have been right all along?

      I have always found it strangely convenient that the United States invented the Transistor less than a year after the supposed Roswell crash.

      Now this thing out of Area 51?

      I'm not saying it's Aliens. But, ALIENS... *Ancient Alien Hair*

      December 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  82. Evenstar

    Oh yea! Now there are stealth drones spying everyone! Just what we need.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:25 am | Reply
  83. Another redneck

    To y'all that think this is being "leaked" think again, these have more than likely been l
    flying in our skies for the last 10 yrs already. Its been replaced with something better.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:18 am | Reply
  84. darknesscrown

    It's so secret, the Air Force spent millions producing a promo video for it. I assure you, the Air Force has very secret stuff going on...but none of it looks like things they've already unveiled. Ridiculous. An asset being "classified" doesn't necessarily mean it's SUPER SECRET. Finance and comptroller data from deployed locations is classified, too. Does that mean it's super secret? Nope. Just means the only information anyone can get is stuff that they are allowed to get. If this was as secret as this article is saying it is, Barbara Starr would be in a torture chamber at Gitmo already.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:18 am | Reply
    • Oldsoldier

      The military doesn't spend millions to produce promos: contractors do. The military spends billions for defense through contracts with companies who actually bend metal. The military merely provides requirements, R&D funds, then Production funds of hardware proves acceptable. This stealth UAV is merely a follow-on to the RQ-180 UAV "Global Hawk" which has been in service for a few years. It reportedly saw its first use by NASA in 2010 for scientific purposes. As for the article....a stealth UAV using an active sensor such as radar negates its utility for a stealth spying platform. Yes, it can use radar in specific areas or threat conditions, but radar would pinpoint its location for anti-aircraft fire. As for flying at 11 miles, that's high and tough because of limited oxygen for combustion. Most of the article points were realistic, but there were some sticking points. UAVs ("drones" to the uninitiated) are a great tool and concept. But they are very expensive and can be lost too easily (like the UAV that went down in 2010). I worked indirectly on the Pioneer program and must say it was a good UAV after it was fixed. We flew it fir years after SECDEF Cheney "killed" it. As its PM stated, it was the best funded dead program in our inventory (Dick Cheney never could do anything right, even before becoming the VP). This evolved from Global Hawk, so there is likely a next generation version under wraps as others here wrote. You can thank the military and NASA for R&D that develops into fielded technology for advanced engineering models. Tchuss!

      December 12, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Reply
    • Oldsoldier

      Addendum: the video in this article says it us a CNN video product. And the UAV doesn't look like a "stealth fighter", it looks like the B-2 bomber that flies out of Whiteman AFB. This might well be a cut and paste by a Photoshop geek using B-2 footage superimposed with backgrounds from other sources. Tchuss!

      December 12, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Reply
  85. Balls of Steel

    Looks like a stealth fighter. And we all thought UFOs were flying near Area 51.Oh wait a super duper secret drone is a UFO.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:18 am | Reply
  86. Ed

    I really have to laugh at all the people who are outraged at CNN for exposing a national secret in this story. There isn't enough substance in the story to be of any intelligence use. Everything in the story is something that could be guessed by pretty much anyone with a background in aviation or weaponry or stealth technology. Let me tell you a secret...every nation with reasonably advanced technology is trying to develop a stealth drone that will fly very high, be invisible to radar and thermal sensors and carry advanced sensing equipment.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:14 am | Reply
  87. Joe The Boss

    People that reported seeing UFO sightings were really these new drones being tested.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:13 am | Reply
  88. jackcandobutwont

    I guess CNN never thought about N Korea watching US TV channels…So it is no longer super secret…dang!! Thanks CNN

    December 12, 2013 at 11:12 am | Reply
  89. Peter Q Wolfe

    Does anyone really think that the media puts this information without the U.S Government knowing of it? Seriously get a clue this is all planned PR to americans. Its another form of soft power to intemedate foreign forces and boster support for military budgets to contractors is all.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:11 am | Reply
  90. tx210

    God damn it the stupid video isn't working on android. Fkin idiots

    December 12, 2013 at 11:10 am | Reply
    • darknesscrown

      CNN uses Flash to power their videos I think. That would explain why. No mobile devices except BlackBerry still supports Flash.

      December 12, 2013 at 11:23 am | Reply
  91. John

    Super secret "things" aren't usually covered in magazines and online news articles.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:07 am | Reply
    • adman1

      The supersecret things that are published is only to generate interest with the reader so he would be inquisitive enough to read about it. Here again comes the US press to reveal.. that spying is going up a notch higher folks.
      Whereas the same technology should be put to the use for the people's livelihood. How about a drone taxi service that would carry passengers from point A to point B.... called the "flying sofa"... all paid for by the Govt.?
      I mean... gosh.. CNN... help the people out with better stuff than putting fear about them being spied on or other nations being spied on, all the time.

      December 12, 2013 at 11:37 am | Reply
    • andrewploessl

      That's because it's a cover story...

      December 12, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Reply
  92. Snowwhite

    Maybe this is for the benefit of these countries. You do not know all the facts, some of which might be just secrets.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:04 am | Reply
  93. evoluionayry revolutionary

    .So Barbara are you ready to go to jail for exposing government secrets. Are you ready to reveal your sources? Is this Butler guy going to be persecuted like Snowden. The hypocrisy of the government and the complicity of the media reeks. When you need a PR job to bump your budget it's ok to do a fluff piece on your gadget. When somebody points out wrongdoing by the NSA they are a traitor and you promote the government agenda. Hypocrites. Nice model airplane though.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:02 am | Reply
    • worldlypatriotusaveteran


      Our enemies are sophisticated enough to know we have developed such platforms.

      What the enemy, or Aviation Week, does NOT know is the true capability and the state-of-the-art sensors carried by this platform.

      Nevertheless, our adversaries are crapping in their uniforms, as I write this, because it's likely they will not know if the platform is in their airspace, or has previously been in their airspace.

      December 12, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Reply
      • andrewploessl

        You sure about the crapping? Didn't the Iranians shoot down an earlier version of one of these with a trebuchet or whatever 'modern technology' they're currently working on?

        December 12, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • God Stays Crispy In Milk

      She did reveal her source. "Aviation Week & Space Technology", aka "Whatever BS we can make up to sell magazines." Happy now?

      December 12, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  94. Jo Se

    We look forward to its flying over our neighberhoods soon, though reslly not needed as government spys on us now thtow video games, phones, computers, cameras, etc.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:02 am | Reply
    • Marcel

      Yeah....the government is very interested in what YOU do every day. You have such an interesting life that they have a Predator assigned specifically to watch you watching porn.

      December 12, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Reply
      • idiotdetector

        Someone is too stupid to understand what dragnet spying is. Hahaha.

        December 12, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • allenwoll

      Jo - WoW ! . What an inflated ego YOU have ! ! !

      December 12, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  95. evoluionayry revolutionary

    So Barbara are you ready to go to jail for exposing government secrets. Are you ready to reveal your sources? Is this Butler guy going to be persecuted like Snowden. The hypocrisy of the government and the complicity of the media reeks. When you need a PR job to bump your budget it's ok to do a fluff piece on your gadget. When somebody points out wrongdoing by the NSA they are a traitor and you promote the government agenda. Hypocrites. Nice model airplane though.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:01 am | Reply
  96. NNN

    This piece of gar bage has to be coming in at half billion per copy minimum, and it looks like the Global Hawk repackaged as flying wing. Big deal. It's just another gold plated boondoggle from an era when the US had infinite bucks to burn.

    December 12, 2013 at 11:01 am | Reply
  97. ChinaThanks

    Again we Peoples Republic of China thanks you America for nice research on super secret drone spy.

    December 12, 2013 at 10:59 am | Reply
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