Page 6 - The 'X' Chronicles Newspaper - May/June 2022 Edition
P. 6

6            Area 51’s Top Secret Outrageous Projects





                  Area 51's Most


            Outrageous Top Secret
               Spy Plane Projects




                 Continued from Page 5



        F-117 Nighthawk


        In the 1970s, Area 51 saw the development of
        the nation’s first stealth bomber, the F-117
        Nighthawk, designed by Lockheed’s Skunk
        Works and developed under the code name Have
        Blue.  With a faceted, diamond-like surface
        designed to reflect and disrupt radar beams, the
        F-117 could almost be mistaken for the
        boomerang-shaped UFOs that had been a fixture       SR-71 Blackbird
        in the public imagination as far back as the
        1940s.


        Though the futuristic, alien-looking aircraft first
        flew over  Area 51 in June 1981, it wasn’t
        publicly unveiled until late 1988, spending
        seven years under wraps as one of the
        Pentagon’s highest-value black projects.  After
        bombing high-value targets across Baghdad to
        open Operation Desert Storm in early 1991, the
        F-117 served U.S. forces in  Afghanistan and
        again in Iraq before it was retired in 2008. Still,
        an unknown number are still flying.


        Boeing YF-118G Bird of Prey


        In the 1990s, Boeing developed its own top-
        secret aircraft, the Bird of Prey, in a project
        managed by the  Air Force at  Area 51.  A
        research-and-development aircraft that was
        never intended for production, the hawk-like
        YF-118G was named for its resemblance to the
        battlecruiser used by the Klingons in the 1984
        movie Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Its
        purpose was to test different aircraft              F-117 Nighthawk
        technologies and ways to make planes less
        visible to the eye and detectable by radar.

        The Bird of Prey first flew from  Area 51 in
        1996; it made 38 flights before the program was
        completed in 1999. It was declassified several
        years later, and Boeing donated the aircraft to
        the National Museum of the U.S.  Air Force,
        though it continued to keep many of the plane’s
        most mysterious aspects under wraps.[]



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