A mysterious unmanned aircraft was spotted flying over the Philippines, and there are those who believe that it was a secret U.S. stealth drone, the RQ-180.
Britain's Daily Mail newspaper reported that landscape photographer Michael Fugnit photographed the drone last weekend while taking pictures of the sunrise by the coast of Santa Magdalena, a resort town about 500 kilometers south of the Philippine capital Manila.
The aircraft with an unusual shape could be the drone that the U.S. is developing for long missions around the world, according to aviation expert Taylor Rogoway of The War Zone website.
The U.S. Air Force does not acknowledge the existence of the drone being developed by Northrup Grumman. The aircraft is nicknamed "the Great White Bat", and is rumored to be based at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The drone officially belongs to the 74th Reconnaissance squadron. The U.S. has not released details about the aircraft, except that it is designed to avoid detection by adversaries.
The latest incident was not the first time that someone claimed to have spotted the aircraft. In October 2020, it was photographed above Edwards Air Force Base by photographer Rob Kolinsky, who said that it was very similar to the B-21 bomber. Experts from the Aviation Week website identified the aircraft as the RQ-180 that first flew in 2010. The drone is believed to be the replacement for the long-range, high-altitude Lockheed Martin SR-71 spy plane that was retired by the U.S. Air Force in 1998.