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  • Another Beast Picture
    Posted by Bill Sweetman 2:45 PM on Dec 11, 2009

    A new image of the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 stealth drone has surfaced - clearly the basis of the artists impression that was published earlier this year.

    However, some generous soul decided to park his or her truck on the far side of the runway from the photographer, and moreover was considerate enough to own an easily recognized model - a Honda Ridgeline, just over 17 feet long.

    blog post photo

    It's difficult to scale the RQ-170 accurately without knowing how far both the UAV and the truck were from the photographer, but given the clear fore-shortening in the shot I would guess that the distance from the UAV from the truck is rather less than the distance between the UAV and the camera.

    That in turn would tend to make the wingspan a bit bigger than one eyewitness estimated - rather than the 66-foot span of the Reaper, it looks like 75 feet plus, maybe as much as 90 feet. That would also make sense of the sturdy-looking landing gear, which does look a bit beefy for a Reaper-sized aircraft.

    By the way, this picture also deals a blow to the hypothesis that the overwing bumps are engine inlets - since they are right above the landing gear bays. Also, the bulge under the centerline is smaller than the over-wing hump - and in the earlier side-view you could almost see the outline of a window in front of it.

    Tags: ar99, beast of kandahar, RQ-170

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