Satellite footage captures a dozen mystery objects on the runway of clandestine Tonopah Test Range Airport near Area 51 in Nevada
- Dozens of mystery objects appeared at the Tonopah Test Range Airport, located on the northern edge of the Nevada Test and Training Range, on December 6
- The base is known to take in aircraft that are experimented at the nearby Area 51 and make them operational
- Satellite footage shows two lines of white objects that could be fighter jets, unmanned combat air vehicles, or stealth helicopters
- Today the shadowy, high-security Tonopah base supports a number of clandestine programs and aircraft testing operations
Dozens of mysterious objects have suddenly appeared at a shadowy high-security Nevada test range airport.
Two lines of large white objects have appeared at the Tonopah Test Range Airport located on the northern edge of the Nevada Test and Training Range, not so far form the secretive Area 51 base, on December 6 according to photos obtained by The Drive.
The objects were snapped by a Planet Labs’ PlanetScope satellite at 10.15am local time, revealing a small fleet of unidentified aircraft in the southern ‘canyon’ of hangers.
Dozens of mystery objects appeared at the Tonopah Test Range Airport located on the northern edge of the Nevada Test and Training Range on December 6. GV of the base pictured above in 1990
The base pictured above in this satellite image from 1990
The Tonopah Test Range was first created in a program where American fighter pilots secretly flied captured Russian MiGs against their fellow aviators.
Since then the remote airport and range, which boasts over fifty hangars, has become home to a fleet of retired F-117 Nighthawk aircraft.
Today Tonopah and the range support a number of clandestine programs as well as testing, however recently unusual activity has been spotted around a dozen hangers, which has been caught on satellite footage.
But the December 6 satellite image is unique because it revealed some program was active in the hangars that day and roughly fighter-sized jets were pictured outdoors.
However, it’s not clear what type of aircraft those small white blobs in the satellite images actually are.
They could be unmanned combat air vehicles, RQ-179 Sentinel derivative aircraft, stealth helicopters or manned spy aircraft.
As for now it’s still a mystery as to what these objects are and what they will be used for.
One reason they could be out is to troubleshoot any satellite data-link issues before departing. Another theory is that the aircraft may have been out to be fueled.
In the end, some speculate that aircraft are going out on a mission together.
A Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk F-117 flying over mountains in Nevada in 2002. The F-117 was officially retired on April 22, 2008 and has since been housed at the Tonopah base
It’s not likely that the spotted objects are F-117 jets has there are only four to six max in size – not nearly a dozen – at the base. Furthermore the F-117s are not based in the ‘Red Hangar’, they’re located more north at the base at the ‘White Hangar’.
The base has been pretty busy in the second half of 2019. Much of the visible daytime activity picked up by satellite occurs on the northern end of the ramp by the Blue and White clusters.
The base is also an established testing station for USSOCOM aviation-related initiatives.
According to The Drive, Tonopah is a place where secret aircraft end up after being used in experimentation and development states at Area 51. Once at Tonopah the aircraft become semi-operational or even fully operational – but often remain a secret as with the F-117 and RQ-179 aircraft.