Why Now?

The Air Force on Monday declined to provide any answers on its new RQ-170 Sentinel unmanned aerial vehicle beyond its initial bare-bones press release (see USAF Reveals New Stealth Drone), but Pentagon officials told Daily Report that USAF had officially acknowledged its existence to make it easier to integrate the vehicle into operations in Southwest Asia. Since the UAV will soon be operating openly from forward airfields, more photos are bound to emerge. (This same explanation was offered when the F-117 was brought out of the “black.”) The service was getting a lot of questions not only from the press but also other nations about the aircraft. Word of the new drone first appeared in an April 2009 blog of the British magazine Unmanned Vehicles, but USAF refrained from comment until a French blog Secret Defense of Liberation newspaper published an actual—though grainy—photo on Dec. 1. Continue