Spotted: Skunk Works’ Mystery Drone

So the guys over at OSGEOINT appear to have found an old mystery drone sitting on a ramp at Lockheed Martin’s super secret Skunk Works facility in Palmdale, Calif. Why do I say old when we’re likely looking at a stealthy drone? Well, its highly unlikely that the drone sitting under the tarp shown above is one of Lockheed’s RQ-170 Sentinels that are currently used to spy on countries like Iran and Pakistan — even that design is a few years old. It’s just not a good idea to leave one of the Pentagon’s most secretive pieces of equipement sitting outside under a tarp (the aircraft shown above also appears to have a larger wingspan than the RQ-170). We’re likely looking at a mock up, or perhaps an actual airframe, of one the the Sentinal’s precursors, perhaps the P.420, as the DEW Line Points out.

Click through the jump to read Lockheed’s patent application for the stealthy drone design.

Feel free to write us or sound off in the comments if you know more about this mystery plane.

Lockheed Stealth Drone Patent

  • blight_

    Surprised they did it. Thought the Have Blue prototypes were kept indoors pretty much all the time to avoid Soviet spysats. If they left it outside, it was probably no longer interesting?

    • durin


      • blight_

        Have Blue was during the ’80s. Back when you kept your prototypes hidden from overhead recon. Then again, it might be disinformation or an old shape left out to confuse people.

        • dfor

          We still hide aircraft from satellites known to pass overhead. Take a look at Area 51 on Google.

  • Lance

    Looks like a RQ-170 on steroids. Bigger longer range.

  • Michael

    With that fat fuselage I’d say it even resembles the German Komet….a little. But what’s under the tarp is probably the aircraft documented in the patent app.

  • dingldorf

    probably just a decoy to get the russkies and chines all worked up

  • yankeefifth

    look at the tail in the photo and in the schematic - clearly different, the photo is more of a swallowtail configuration. also, the tarp is a little too rigid. someone is effin with the spysats.

  • Meph

    The top down picture looks just like a QF-16 to me. I read something that they started convtering old F-16’s into drones, probably for target practice.

    • Praetorian

      Might not be A QF-16, Boeing is doing the work on the QF’s.

  • @4FingrsOfBurbon

    Def and F-16 there. haha

  • JackBlack

    Higher rez image:…

    it was windy and the tarp has bubbly edges, so therefore the “sharpness” of both sides is inconsistent.

  • PolicyWonk

    They couldn’t afford a larger tarp to protect this thing from prying eyes?

  • Mark

    I say it’s a flying saucer with wings and a tarp added to camouflage it. ;)

  • Cthel

    From the shadow offset, it looks like the wing height is pretty close to the wing height of the F16 parked next to it, so it must be a pretty sizable airframe if it is real

  • SnowGator

    Maybe that’s not a tarp… maybe it’s a balloon. They’ve been playing with lighter-than-air craft… :)

  • Chuck

    Might be the second prototype of the one that they (CIA) crashed (on purpose) into Iran to mess with the Iranians.

  • Praetorian

    Polecat UAV ?? Although thier demo unit crashed in december 2006. Lockheed was working on contrial supression with the Polecat, which has been a problem with the U-2 for decades. Polecat demo. had a 90 ft. wingspan.

    • Beno

      Yep, think your right. Right shape, place and scale.…

  • Tribulation time

    I delete my self, to not overload the administrator, hello censure Man

    • Tribulationtime

      Thats can be anything. Looking the weird “reversed” F-16 at the side I put my money in Chunk to test Designs or Radars. By the way thats, in the corner is a wooden box.

    • Tribulationtime

      Chunk!!, Between the garbage and the F16 there is a fence

  • crazy

    Not uncommon for structural test articles to be shrink-wrapped and stored outside when their inside storage spot is needed for something more important.

  • Chris

    The “wings” aren’t symmetrical, and aren’t attached to the center at the same angle. Why is it assumed this is an aircraft at all? It looks like they set up a tent for the base picnic. Would you want to stand out in that sun?

  • Matt

    I do not think this is the drone that they are making if we look back to the sr-71 making they put out random shapes to fool the soviets and it might be the same case here but for China maybe?

  • Woody

    Of course its a decoy….stop playing like your all so darn smart….