The RQ-170 Sentinel of the U.S Air Force also knows as the “Beast of Kandahar” is perhaps one of the only stealth UAV or unmanned aerial vehicle and has now been officially confirmed by the air force authorities as an active participant in the U.S war efforts in Afghanistan. The sentinel was designed and developed by one of the principal defense contractors to the U.S Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin, as deep reconnaissance aircraft, that is to provide real time intelligence to the forward operating forces deep inside enemy territory.
The Sentinel’s name RQ that begins with the prefix “R” basically refers to an unarmed drone, as against its brothers, the Predator and Reaper who carry the name MQ, thus signifying them as armed unmanned drones, with a full compliment of missiles and precision guided bombs. RQ-130 Sentinel derived its nickname, The Beast of Kandahar after the drone was seen in a photograph conducting overflights over Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom in the year 2007. the Sentinel is known to be stealth capable and greatly resembles the world’s only high altitude stealth bomber, the B-2 Spirit, which is the crown jewel of the U.S Air Force.
However, the use of the stealth enabled Sentinel in a region where there are virtually no air to ground threats and zero radar capabilities has raised serious doubts over the necessity of the drone in Afghanistan. Furthermore, experts have now begun to think that the United States could be using the Sentinel as a surveillance drone to conduct recon missions in Pakistan and Iran.