Conspiracy theorists think they have spotted secret Lockheed Martin aircraft in Florida

A sleek new shape has allegedly appeared at a South Florida Lockheed-Martin facility- and conspiracy theorists are going wild

The unidentified object was spotted on Google Earth at a radar cross-section test site near Indiantown, Florida- conveniently down the road from military/industrial airport, the Palm Beach International Raceway, Pratt & Whitney, Aerojet Rocketdyne and of course, Sikorsky.

While YouTube conspiracy theorist Tyler Glockner -and by extension, the Daily Mail- claim it is a super-stealthy replacement to the SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance craft. However, the item (and the one strikingly similar to it that sits mere yards away) have been at the facility for some time and are most likely mock-ups for radar cross-section testing for engines.

A Lockheed Martin mock-up of the SR-72 in 2013. (Lockheed Martin)

A Lockheed Martin mockup of the of the SR-72 aircraft and its propulsion system show (an engine that uses forward motion to compress incoming air which requires forward assistance for take off to occur) looks very different than the “aircraft” spotted.

(Lockheed Martin)

Contrary to the claims, items of this shape are nothing new. Radar Cross Section (RCS) models are frequently used to test how external surfaces appear on radar.

When designing an aircraft (especially one that needs a small RCS in order to better perform in missions) every tiny detail -from surface coatings to antennas and external engine components- have to be taken into account, lest the RCS become larger on radar screens, making the aircraft in question a larger target.

While the Daily Mail and their “source” claim the aircraft “kinda-sorta” resembles the sleek SR-72 concept art (I mean, I guess it has a pointy nose and straight lines), closer inspection reveals that it more resembles the backside of the F-35 Lighting II.

The Pratt & Whitney facility based in Palm Beach County, Florida – a short six-mile drive from where the “secret aircraft” was spotted- is one of two sites contracted in 2016 to produce F-35 fighter-jet engines.

Pratt & Whitney makes the engines for pretty much everything that the airpower branches of the United States like to throw money at, from the F-22 to the sleek X-47 Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV) demonstrators that resulted from the Joint Unmanned Combat System (J-UCAS) projects. Come to think of it, an X-47B looks awful similar when its wings and engine are removed.

Anyway, since engines are kind of important for aircraft, it would be important to be able to ensure that any powerplant changes (especially external ones) don’t negatively impact an aircraft’s RCS. As such, it’s beneficial to have a stealthier test bed to use for RCS/jet propulsion tests, even if it isn’t the entire aircraft.

In short, the only thing to come out of the sensationalism behind this Google Maps discovery-turned sensationalist article is a brief education on aircraft powerplant development and how radar affects aircraft design. The mockups -be they for testing the RCS of a small part or the entire aircraft) have been there for some time, and even appear to have their own parking spots just north of where the “mystery plane was spotted.

Not everything pointy and angular in shape is a super-secret UFO or “alien craft,” and conspiracy theorists make terrible news sources.

In an age where classified equipment is scrubbed from satellite imagery and we can’t even see what the next Ford F-150 will look like without camouflage wrapping placed over it, it is astounding how people continue to insist that relatively easy-to-explain objects are something they are not.

Puts a whole new meaning to the phrase, “I want to believe.”

YouTube video

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