A Computer Generated Image of the RQ-180 stealthy unmanned reconnaissance aircraft.
The RQ-170 is a unmanned reconnaissance aircraft of the U.S. military, operated by the USAF and CIA, while the RQ-180 UAV is a strategic-level unmanned reconnaissance aircraft of the U.S. military.
The RQ-180 is a very secretive drone, the U.S. Air Force is very secretive about this very advanced reconnaissance drone, and has never disclosed the true shape of the drone. This drone is said to be the best stealth drone in the world.
The RQ-180 is designed to be able to operate in contested airspace. After the retirement of the SR-71 Blackbird in 1999, the US Air Force lacked an intelligence platform capable of penetrating airspace guarded by advanced air defense systems. The RQ-180 was designed to fulfill the mission previously accomplished by the high-speed SR-71.
The RQ-180 is believed to have a cranked-kite layout like the X-47B, but with a much longer wingspan, perhaps as much as 130 ft (40 m). Northrop Grumman claims the wing is more scalable and adaptable than the B-2 Spirit’s flying wing shape. Aviation Week constructed concept images, including one on the cover of the magazine, of the stealthy unmanned aircraft that can penetrate an adversary’s state-of-the-art air defenses to conduct intelligence, surveillance or reconnaissance missions. Edwards Air Force Base personnel have reportedly nicknamed the RQ-180 the “Great White Bat” and “Shikaka”.
Some military experts believe the RQ-180 can function as an advanced communications relay node, integrating a suite of next-generation datalink technologies including those of the B-2, B-21, F-22, and F-35.
Nuclear Submarines of the United States Navy
The second lesser-known weapon system is the large fleet of the United States Navy Nuclear-powered Cruise and Ballistic Missiles Submarines. The nuclear submarines of the U. S. Navy cannot be compared to the aircraft carriers as the subs has devastating and enormous firepower, although aircraft carriers of the United States Navy has their own benifits but the subs have their own special role.
The fans of the United States Navy normally pays attention towards the fleet of 11 Nuclear-powered Aircraft Carriers. But do you know how many Nuclear Submarines does the U. S. Navy has?
Ohio-class nuclear submarine USS Michigan (SSBN-727) at a dry-dock in November 2002, before its conversion to an SSGN.
The United States had a total of 68 nuclear submarines, including 50 attack nuclear submarines, 14 strategic missile nuclear submarines, and 4 cruise missile nuclear submarines capable of launching 192 cruise missiles each.
We can make a comparison here. The current number of destroyers in the US Navy is about 70.
The size of the US nuclear submarine force has caught up with the number of destroyers, and even the current rate of new additions is faster than that of destroyers .
Such a large-scale and advanced nuclear submarine force is a very threatening underwater combat force.
All submarines in the U.S. Navy are nuclear-powered. Ballistic missile submarines have a single strategic mission of carrying nuclear submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Attack submarines have several tactical missions, including sinking ships and subs, launching cruise missiles, and gathering intelligence.
Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker Aerial refueling and transport aircraft of the United States Air Force
Third lesser-known weapon system of the United States Armed Forces is the KC-135 aerial refueling tanker aircraft.
In the U.S. Air Force, the number of KC-135s is close to 400, and the tankers of other air forces in the world cannot match the KC-135 in terms of quality and quantity both.
The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is an American military aerial refueling aircraft that was developed from the Boeing 367-80 prototype, alongside the Boeing 707 airliner. It is the predominant variant of the C-135 Stratolifter family of transport aircraft.
F-15C Eagles from the 67th Fighter Squadron at Kadena Air Base, Japan, are refueled by a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 909th Air Refueling Squadron during joint bilateral training with other U.S. forces and the Japan Air Self Defense Force Feb 25, 2010. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Angelique Perez)
The KC-135 was the United States Air Force’s first jet-powered refueling tanker and replaced the KC-97 Stratofreighter. The KC-135 was initially tasked with refueling strategic bombers, but it was used extensively in the Vietnam War and later conflicts such as Operation Desert Storm to extend the range and endurance of US tactical fighters and bombers.
The KC-135 entered service with the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1957; it is one of nine military fixed-wing aircraft with over 60 years of continuous service with its original operator.
The KC-135 is supplemented by the larger McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender. Studies have concluded that many of the aircraft could be flown until 2030, although maintenance costs have greatly increased. The KC-135 is to be partially replaced by the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus.