Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: Beast of Kandahar, RQ-170A Sentinel and Wraith
Origin: United States of America
Parent System: RQ-170 Sentinel
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2014
Maiden Flight: 2007
Total Production: 21
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Description: The RQ-170 Sentinel is a low observable unmanned aircraft system (UAS) being developed, tested and fielded by the United States Air Force (USAF). The Sentinel will provide intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) in support of the joint forces commander. Lockheed Martin is involved in this program supplying its expertise in advanced development programs. The flying-wing aircraft, which looks like the X-45C UCAV, was first spotted in Kandahar, Afghanistan in 2007. As of early 2010, the existing RQ-170 aircraft are being flown by the Air Combat Command (ACC) 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, and the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron at Tonopah Test Range, Nevada. The RQ-170 spy drone was used during the raid at Osama Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan May 2011.
In November 2011, a US Air Force RQ-170 Sentinel went missing in Iran or near Iran's border. Iran claimed that the unmanned aircraft was shoot down by its air defenses while NATO stated that the aircraft suffered a malfunction. The Sentinel was recovered by Iran with little damage to its airframe and its sensitive electronic surveillance package. Some sources especulated with the possibility of the aircraft being highjacked or jammed cutting the communications the aircraft's control station by the Russian-made Avtobaza electronic warfare system delivered to Iran that same year. On December 8, 2011, Iran released a video with the RQ-170 unscatched proving that the aircraft had been highjacked by electronic means.
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