Special report from Joerg Arnu of Dreamland Resort, July 30, 2019:
“Last night between 12 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., I recorded a test flight in the Dreamland MOA on 377.250 MHz.
The test aircraft used call sign “ROMEO“, talking to Dreamland Test controller “RAMROD“.
Romeo flew a number of test runs testing on-board systems referred to only as Tango 1, 2, etc.
Code phrases were used for the test results of each run.
ROMEO was accompanied by chase aircraft “Juliet 41“, which also identified as N99NG.
That aircraft is a known Northrop Grumman test bed equipped with a JSTARS radome under its belly.
I record nightly test flights in the Dreamland MOA quite frequently.
But several things got my attention:
ROMEO did not refuel upon arrival, departure or for the entire 2+ hour duration of the test, so it is not a fighter jet but an aircraft designed for longer range. Use of code words for systems and test results is common, but I had never before heard the code words used in this particular test flight.
The chase aircraft is a Northrop test bed, which would seem to indicate that the test aircraft is a Northrop project as well.
Both aircraft checked into the ranges coming fro the direction of Edwards AFB.
Most flight of N99NG can be tracked on ADS-B Exchange, but not this flight.
N99NG currently flies out of Edwards AFB.
What does all this mean?
A systems integration test of the new Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider (which is not officially supposed to fly until 2021)?
A system test of B-21 sub-systems?
Something entirely different?
Who knows, but quite interesting, nevertheless.
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