When countries develop new military technology it is best to undergo the project in secret. After all, they don’t want other nations finding out, lest the rival steal the tech, or perhaps develop a technological counter of their own. That’s why there is a long, extensive history of war planes being covertly developed. Many of the projects are never revealed to the public, while others eventually leak out one way or another.

Here are secretly developed war planes that really exist.

Bell P-59 Airacomet

World War 2 was a time of frantic military development. Every warring nation was looking for some sort of an advantage, and the United States was no different. The now legendary Bell Airacomet was America’s first official jet fighter, able to fly without a propeller. But, so terrified was the US that news of the jet would get out that they went so far as to disguise the aircraft. In a move still talked about today the planes were shipped fitted with fake propellers.

Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider

So much speculation surrounds the B-21 Raider that it is almost impossible to know what is or isn’t true. 2016 saw the first official photo of the B-21 released, and the aircraft certainly looks like pure science fiction. But make no mistake, its real. Resembling the now legendary B-2, otherwise known as the Stealth Bomber, the B-21 is still almost completely shrouded in secrecy.

Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk

Looking at the bizarre, near fantastical F-117 Nighthawk, it’s difficult to believe it was developed in a time when a person couldn’t manage Australian Open betting on their phone. Probably because mobile phones wouldn’t be a reality for a few more decades.

Yes, the F-117 was in development in 1977, looking to be straight out of a science fiction novel. Perhaps most interesting is that the F-117 crashed during a test flight in 1986, forcing the United States military to tentatively confirm its existence. It wasn’t until 1990, however, that the project was finally de-classified.

Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon

As far as bizarre, futuristic looking aircrafts go, let’s also take a moment for the Mighty Dragon. In 2011 the world got its first look at the aircraft, with multiple leaks suddenly hitting the internet at once. The Chinese government made no attempt to stop the leaks, leading most to believe the information was not so much a leak as an announcement. Word is that the once top secret aircraft has been upgraded since 2011, though there is no word yet on what those upgrades might include.

Blackhawk Stealth

Last we have a myth that is still not officially de-classified to this day. Rumours have long circulated that the US military has a stealth version of the Blackhawk helicopter. This has never been confirmed, but in 2011 it is known that a helicopter crashed in the line of duty. Special forces were quick to destroy the wreckage, but not before a photo of the aircraft’s tail was taken. Unlike anything seen before, most assumed the tail belonged to the long rumoured stealth Blackhawk helicopter.

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