List of Top 15 Secret Military Aircraft projects in history

Here is the List of Top Secret Military Aircraft projects

Related link: Abandoned And Declassified Black Projects

1) Lockheed Have Blue project 

Lockheed Have Blue was the code name for Lockheed’s proof of concept demonstrator that preceded the production F-117 Nighthawk stealth aircraft. Have Blue was designed by Lockheed’s Skunk Works division, and tested at Groom Lake, Nevada. The Have Blue was the first fixed-wing aircraft whose external shape was defined by radar engineering rather than by aerospace engineering. The aircraft’s plate-like, faceted shape was designed to deflect electromagnetic waves in directions other than that of the originating radar emitter, greatly reducing its radar cross-section. Two flyable vehicles were constructed, but both crashed during the flight-test program

2) Northrop Tacit Blue project

The Northrop Tacit Blue was a technology demonstrator aircraft created to demonstrate that a low-observable stealth surveillance aircraft with a low probability of intercept radar and other sensors could operate close to the forward line of battle with a high degree of survivability.

3) Lockheed Hopeless Diamond

In the mid-1970s, the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) began investigating how an aircraft’s radar signature might be minimized by faceting its exterior.  One of the Lockheed Skunkworks’ contributions to this effort was the “Hopeless Diamond,” a proposed tail-less stealth fighter with a fuselage composed of sharply angular panels.  Radar tests on a 10-foot model resulted in a radar signature “as small as an eagle’s eyeball.”  Although an operational Hopeless Diamond was never built, lessons learned in its development were eventually incorporated into the F-117 Stealth Fighter.

4) Sr-91 Aurora

Aurora was a rumored mid-1980s American reconnaissance aircraft. There is no substantial evidence that it was ever built or flown and it has been termed a myth.By the late 1980s many aerospace industry observers who believed that the U.S. had the technological capability to build a Mach 5 (hypersonic speed) replacement for the aging Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Detailed examinations of the U.S. defense budget claimed to have found money missing or channeled into black projects. By the mid-1990s reports surfaced of sightings of unidentified aircraft flying over California and the United Kingdom involving odd-shaped contrails, sonic booms, and related phenomena that suggested the US had developed such an aircraft. Nothing ever linked any of these observations to any program or aircraft type, but the name Aurora was often tagged on these as a way of explaining the observations.

5) Boeing Bird of Prey Project

The Boeing Bird of Prey was a black project aircraft, intended to demonstrate stealth technology. It was developed by McDonnell Douglas and Boeing in the 1990s. The company provided $67 million of funding for the project. Furthermore,  it was a low-cost program compared to many other programs of similar scale. It developed technology and materials which would later be used on Boeing’s X-45 unmanned combat air vehicle. As an internal project. In addition, this aircraft was not given an X-plane designation. There are no public plans to make this a production aircraft. It is characterized as a technology demonstrator.


6) Xian H-20

The Xian H-20  is a subsonic stealth bomber design of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, due to enter service in the future. Referred to as a “strategic project” by the People’s Liberation Army, the aircraft will feature a wing design similar to that of the Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit, with components already being manufactured. Analysts noted that the new type bomber may enter service by 2025.

7) Lockheed Martin RQ-3 DarkStar

The RQ-3 DarkStar (known as Tier III- or “Tier three minus” during development) is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Its first flight was on March 29, 1996. The Department of Defense terminated DarkStar in January 1999, after determining the UAV was not aerodynamically stable and was not meeting cost and performance objectives

8) Lockheed Martin Polecat

The Lockheed Martin Polecat (company designation P-175) was an unmanned aerial vehicle by Lockheed Martin. It was developed by the company’s Advanced Development Programs division in Palmdale, California. “Polecat” is a colloquialism for a skunk, in an apparent reference to the popular “Skunk Works” nickname for the Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs division.

9) B-2 Spirit Or New B21 Project

The Northrop  B-2 Spirit, also known as the Stealth Bomber, is an American heavy penetration strategic bomber, featuring low observable stealth technology designed for penetrating dense anti-aircraft defenses; it is a flying wing design with a crew of two. Furthermore, The bomber can deploy both conventional and thermonuclear weapons, such as eighty 500 lb -class (Mk 82) JDAM Global Positioning System-guided bombs, or sixteen 2,400 lb (1,100 kg) B83 nuclear bombs. In addition, The B-2 is the only acknowledged aircraft that can carry large air-to-surface standoff weapons in a stealth configuration.

10) Lockheed U-2

The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed “Dragon Lady”, is an American single-jet engine, ultra-high altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It provides day and night, high-altitude (70,000 feet; 21,000 m), all-weather intelligence gathering

11) Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk

The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk is an American single-seat, twin-engine stealth attack aircraft that was developed by Lockheed’s secretive Skunk Works division and operated by the United States Air Force (USAF). The F-117 was based on the Have Blue technology demonstrator.

12) Lockheed A-12

The Lockheed A-12 was a reconnaissance aircraft built for the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by Lockheed’s Skunk Works, based on the designs of Clarence “Kelly” Johnson. Furthermore, The aircraft was designated A-12, the 12th in a series of internal design efforts for “Archangel”, the aircraft’s internal code name.

13) SR-71  The Blackbird

The Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” is a long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the United States Air Force. It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by Lockheed and its Skunk Works division. American aerospace engineer Clarence “Kelly” Johnson was responsible for many of the design’s innovative concepts. Furthermore, During aerial reconnaissance missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes to allow it to outrace threats. If a surface-to-air missile launch were detected, the standard evasive action was simply to accelerate and outfly the missile.In addition, The SR-71 was designed with a reduced radar cross-section.

14) RQ-180

The Northrop Grumman RQ-180 is an American stealth unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) surveillance aircraft intended for contested airspace which has been described in several news articles and confirmed by the U.S. Air Force. The RQ-180 appears to be a follow-on to the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems project which was cancelled in late 2005 when the United States Navy (USN) wanted a carrier-based aircraft (which led to the UCAS-D) while the United States Air Force (USAF) wanted a larger, long-range global strike platform. In December 2005, the program was split in two, with the USN starting the UCAS-D program which created the Northrop Grumman X-47B, and the USAF starting a “classified program.” The program was unmasked in Aviation Week & Space Technology in a December 9, 2013 cover story following several months of research

15) Blackstar (spacecraft) Project

Blackstar is the codename of a secret United States orbital spaceplane system. The purpose of Blackstar was to allow the United States government to retain orbital reconnaissance capabilities jeopardized following the 1986 Challenger disaster. Aviation Week magazine speculated that such a spacecraft could also have offensive military capabilities, a concept colloquially known as “The Space Bomber”. The magazine also stated that it was likely that Blackstar would be mothballed, although it is unclear whether this is due to cost or failure of the program.

Aviation Week describes Blackstar as a two stage to orbit system, the first stage of which is a delta-winged supersonic jet. Its description of SR-3 is similar to the North American B-70 Valkyrie Mach 3 strategic bomber, and to patents filed in the 1980s by Boeing.

The SR-3 would carry a second, smaller airframe, codenamed the XOVunderneath, between its two laterally separated engine-banks, containing every 2 or 3 engines.

This rocket-powered spaceplane, with similarities to the X-20 Dyna-Soar project, would be released by its mothership at an altitude of around 100,000 feet.

The XOV would then light its rocket motor (aerospike engines, similar to those used by the Lockheed Martin X-33), and could achieve both suborbital and orbital flight; one source quoted by Aviation Week estimates the XOV could reach an orbit of 300 miles (480 km) above the Earth, depending on payload and mission profile. The XOV would then reenter the atmosphere and glide back to any landing site where it would land horizontally on a conventional runway. This combination of the jet-powered mothership and a smaller rocket-powered spaceplane resembles the civilian Tier One spaceplane system as well as NASA’s X-15, but capable of much higher velocities and thus of attaining orbit. Readers are cautioned to examine the challenges involved in supersonic separation of vehicles as opposed to the more common subsonic separation of ordnance from aircraft, but this separation from the belly might be easier than from the top, which proved to be problematic on the Lockheed D-21/M-21

Check Also

U.S. Air Force Removes Initial Height Requirement For Pilot Applicants

U.S. Air Force Removes Initial Height Requirement For Pilot Applicants

Female pilots of the 121st Air Refueling wing. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *