Airbus has revealed for the first time a secret unmanned aircraft it has developed as a stealth-testbed for the German government.
The Low Observable UAV Testbed (LOUT), as the airframe is called, has been built for the German Low Observable (LO) Demonstrator programme. Shown to reporters for the first time on 5 November, the diamond-shaped vehicle has been in secret development for more than a decade.
"Nobody is aware of what we have been doing here - this is a classified project that was started as long ago as 2007. The development contract was awarded in 2010, and the LOUT has been developed in Manching and Bremen in a Skunk Works approach," Mario Hertzog, German LO Demonstrator Head, said.
The 12 ×12 m non-flying (presently) LOUT was shown to reporters in an anechoic chamber that has been used to develop and test the latest in very-low observable (VLO) technologies. These include radar-absorbing materials, low-radar cross section (RCS) engine inlets, structural cooling technologies, minimised gaps between surfaces, and unspecified LO coatings.
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