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Surprising Science

Drone Identity

The US Air Force has confirmed for the first time that it is flying a stealth unmanned drone known as the “Beast of Kandahar” in Southern Afghanistan.

“The US Air Force on Tuesday confirmed for the first time that it is flying a stealth unmanned aircraft known as the ‘Beast of Kandahar,’ a drone spotted in photos and shrouded in secrecy. The RQ-170 Sentinel is being developed by Lockheed Martin and is designed ‘to provide reconnaissance and surveillance support to forward deployed combat forces,’ the air force said in a brief statement. The “RQ” prefix for the aircraft indicates an unarmed drone, unlike the ‘MQ’ designation used for Predator and Reaper aircraft equipped with missiles and precision-guided bombs. Aviation experts dubbed the drone the ‘Beast of Kandahar’ after photographs emerged earlier this year showing the mysterious aircraft in southern Afghanistan in 2007. The image suggested a drone with a radar-evading stealth-like design, resembling a smaller version of a B-2 bomber.”


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