The US Air Force Profession of Arms (PACE) Center of Excellence has released a Youtube video titled “Heritage Today – ISR and Innovation” which appears to feature top-secret US ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) projects. The short clip shows the evolution of the ISR mission since its inception. It first represents an RQ-4 Global Hawk in flight, then the RQ-180 aircraft. The RQ-180 has been dubbed the “Great White Bat” – and this model is believed to have been spotted over the Philippines in 2021.
After that, a sleek, stealthy aircraft in a hangar appears and appears to match the shape of the SR-71’s successor – dubbed “Son of Blackbird” – the Lockheed SR-72.
The SR-72 is an unmanned hypersonic intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and strike platform.
Although little is known about this aircraft other than rumors of occasional sightings, the estimated date for a first flight is 2025.
The video also shows the outline of the secret X-37B spaceplane in a display of what looks like a command center.
Again, while this model has been kept under wraps, there has been speculation that the X-37B is a space weapons platform that can be pre-deployed into orbit armed with an armed re-entry vehicle. Theories suggest it could be released above or near a specific target.
But most analysts have rejected this theory.
Others believe it could be used as an intelligence gathering platform.
This could include electromagnetic intelligence such as the activities of communications and surveillance satellites – both civilian and military.
Analysts believe this is the most realistic explanation.
But the disclosures come as U.S. tensions escalate with Russia and China in space and on the ground.
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Earlier this week, Russia sent a chilling threat to NATO after warning it could detonate 32 of its satellites.
Russian state television claimed that Moscow’s anti-satellite missiles (ASATs) could wipe out NATO satellites, “blind all their missiles, planes and ships, let alone ground forces.”
The warning was in response to Washington’s “serious concerns” over the build-up of 100,000 Russian troops on the Russian-Ukrainian border, with Joe Biden now considering providing military assistance to Ukraine.
Russia had already enraged the United States when it conducted an ASAT missile test last week that sent 1,500 space junk blasting past the International Space Station. This decision forced NASA astronauts to hide in their spaceships.
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And tensions between China and the United States are also escalating, after the United States said it would provide military support to Taiwan if Beijing decides to attack.
China has put into orbit two powerful Gaofen satellites that are said to have optical capabilities similar to those of America’s classified Keyhole-class spy satellites.
And, worryingly for the United States, the alliance of China and Russia in space appears to be growing stronger.
Tracey German, professor of conflict and security at King’s College London, told Express.co.uk: “They [Russia and China] have already made plans to work together in space, announcing plans to jointly build an international lunar research station earlier this year.
“Since 2014, China has become an increasingly important partner for Russia, and they have developed a strategic partnership, mainly driven by economic and military cooperation, especially arms sales and joint / multilateral military exercises. , and China is an important market for Russian gas. “