US Air Force developing stealth drone the size of fighter jet to take out enemy missile systems
14th December 2018

The state-of-the-art weapon will be powered by two General Electric J85 turbojet engines, the same ones found in the service’s T-38 jet trainer.

Now the stealth craft – which will be 40 feet long with a 24-foot wingspan – is tipped to make its maiden flight in 2019 to see if it is ready for active service.

If successful, the drone design could then be purchased by the Department of Defense or enter the prototype phase, reports Popular Mechanics.

“As far as we know, this is the first large ‘stealthy’ target drone,” said Thomas McLaughlin, director of the Air Force Academy’s Aeronautic Research Center (ARC).

In addition to Air Force cadets, the ARC's project team includes faculty, government, and industry specialists.

They are currently testing the drone's unique design in the Academy’s wind tunnel, trying to make it backflip and crash.

Once the team knows what circumstances will make the drone back flip, it can prevent it from happening when it is in a combat situation,

Earlier this month, a top Taliban commander was reportedly killed in Afghanistan by a US drone strike.

Mullah Abdul Manan Akhund died alongside 29 otherswhile he was greeting fighters in the Nawzad district, officials said.

Joint US and Afghan Special Forces launched the attack, and classed his death as a major success.

Akhund was the Taliban's "governor" and military chief for the southern Helmand province.

One security official in Kabul said: "He was the most senior Taliban commander in the south and his death will have an overall impact on security."

The Taliban said it was a "big loss" for they group, but it would not stop them from tying to regain control of Afghanistan.

In a statement, the Taliban said: "Abdul Manan Akhand, was a powerful and brave military commander who cleared 95 per cent of Helmand from invader Americans and their slaves."

His death comes as Western-backed security forces have ramped up the pressure to push the Taliban to engage in peace talks.

Both sides are trying to find a peaceful settlement to end the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

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