Today’s SOFREP Pic of the Day is not a B2 Bomber but an RQ-170 Sentinel UAV, developed by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works and operated by the United States Air Force for the CIA.


About the Sentinel

The RQ-170 Sentinel, also known as the “Beast of Kandahar,” is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) developed by Lockheed Martin for the United States Air Force (USAF). Here are some key details about the RQ-170:

  1. Role and Purpose:
    • Role: Primarily designed for reconnaissance missions.
    • Primary User: United States Air Force.
    • Purpose: Provides intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
  2. Design Features:
    • Stealth Technology: Incorporates stealth features to minimize radar cross-section, enhancing its survivability in contested airspaces.
    • Flying Wing Design: Uses a flying wing design that helps reduce its radar visibility.
  3. Deployment and Operations:
    • Deployment: First publicly known deployment was in Afghanistan in 2007. It has also been reportedly deployed in other regions, including Iran and Pakistan.
    • Capabilities: Equipped with advanced sensors for collecting intelligence data, possibly including synthetic-aperture radar and electro-optical/infrared cameras.
  4. Notable Incidents:
    • In December 2011, Iran captured an RQ-170 Sentinel, claiming to have taken control of the UAV through electronic warfare. Iran later claimed to have reverse-engineered the technology.
  5. Manufacturer:
    • Developed by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works division, known for advanced research and development projects.

Overall, the RQ-170 Sentinel is known for its role in gathering intelligence while maintaining a low profile due to its stealth characteristics.