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New Top Secret Construction At Area 51

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  • William Hamilton
    Source: KLAS-TV 8 - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA http://www.lasvegasnow.com/Global/story.asp?S=6810117 July 19, 2007 I-Team: New Top Secret Construction At Area 51
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 21, 2007
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      Source: KLAS-TV 8 - Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

      http://www.lasvegasnow.com/Global/story.asp?S=6810117

      July 19, 2007


      I-Team: New Top Secret Construction At Area 51

      George Knapp
      Chief Investigative Reporter


      Something big is in the works at Nevada's legendary Area 51
      military base. A massive new building is under construction at
      the top secret location. Aviation experts say there's a good
      chance that a new, highly classified aircraft might soon be
      zipping around the Nevada skies.

      What kind of aircraft? One possibility is a successor to the SR-
      71 spy plane, the SR-72.

      The SR-71 Blackbird is widely regarded as the greatest airplane
      ever built. It sliced through the sky at Mach 3 and still
      reigns, officially anyway, as the fastest plane in history.
      Groom Lake, also known as Area 51, was home for the Blackbird
      during its early days. The question is -- will Area 51 also be
      the location of choice for the development of a successor, and
      maybe more than one?

      A photo of a new building under construction at Area 51 has
      raised tantalizing possibilities for the civilian researchers
      who dabble in such topics. No one can say for certain what the
      building will be used for, but aviation historian Peter Merlin
      says the one thing we can say is that it's one big hangar.

      "It probably measures 275 feet by 600 feet. It's no larger than
      hangars at other bases, but it certainly is the largest at Area
      51," Peter Merlin said.

      Satellite photos confirm Area 51 already has two dozen hangars,
      including some less than two years old. So what's going on out
      there?

      The hangar could be a central maintenance facility, machine shop
      and or simulator training center. But aviation writers are
      thinking more exotic thoughts. For months, there's been
      speculation in aviation circles about a successor to the SR-71,
      call it the SR-72. Model airplane companies already have their
      version of the so called "dark bird," which theoretically could
      fly twice as fast as the Blackbird.

      Peter Merlin says he's been told by engineers at Lockheed that
      the SR-72 project was canceled, but new reports in aviation
      media note the Air Force has just awarded a new contract to
      Lockheed for a plane that sounds exactly like the SR-72, a Mach
      6 reconnaissance plane that could also carry weapons, and unlike
      the SR-71, this one would be unmanned.

      It would make for a comfy fit inside that new hangar. But Merlin
      thinks there are other possibilities also in the works at Groom
      Lake.

      "There are at least seven and maybe as many as eleven manned
      classified air craft that have not yet been unveiled that have
      been flying since 1985 and countless unmanned programs as well.
      Most of these things have been tested there. I know some of the
      guys that have flown these airplanes," Merlin continued.

      Among the suspects is something called the Black Manta, a
      stealthy hypersonic craft that might explain the wispy images
      captured in a few photos around the world. Various black
      triangle-type craft have been spotted over American military
      bases and cities for years, some of them huge in size, big
      enough to require a big hangar.

      Aviation journalist Bill Sweetman has long argued for the
      existence of the Aurora, another plane rumored to have been
      flown at Groom Lake. Sweetman says black budget figures hint at
      the existence of the plane, which some have dubbed the SR-75
      penetrator. Whichever of these ambitious projects ends up in
      full development, it's abundantly clear that the testing
      location of choice for top secret planes is still Area 51.

      The Lockheed Company, whose so-called Skunkworks plant developed
      the U-2, SR-71, and stealth fighter -- all of which were test
      flown out at Area 51 -- says it will not comment on its new Air
      Force contract.

      The Air Force is also not talking.


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