6. Projects

Information acquired from HowStuffWorks

The Aurora is another project that has been associated with Area 51. Now believed to be a canceled project, the Aurora was supposedly a replacement for the SR-71. It was supposed to be a hypersonic reconnaissance jet capable of attaining speeds up to mach 6 (4,600 miles per hour). The project may have failed completely, or it may turn out that the Aurora is another kind of UAV and not a jet at all.

The Brilliant Buzzard or Mothership is another rumored project at Area 51. This large jet would carry a smaller vehicle, perhaps a UAV. The smaller vehicle is designed to launch from the larger jet while in midair.

Soviet aircraft also played a large role at Area 51. These planes came from the Soviet Union and were either captured or otherwise acquired. The Air Force and CIA used these aircraft in training exercises and war games. The use of Soviet aircraft in Area 51’s airspace inspired its nickname of the Red Square.

What new projects could be underway at Area 51 today? Apart from the continued focus on UAV technology, secret project theorists suggest a few possibilities. One is a transport aircraft with stealth technology designed to move troops in and out of conflict areas without being detected. Many see a need for a vehicle with effective and stealthy vertical take off and lift (VTOL) capabilities. (The V-22 Osprey has this capability, but critics say the vehicle is not effective at meeting military objectives.) Another likely research project is a stealth helicopter. Though some people say stealth helicopters already exist and are in use, they haven’t been revealed to the public. Some theorists see a need for a stealth plane that is designed specifically to neutralize ground targets. To date, most stealth aircraft are either surveillance vehicles or designed for air-to-air combat. There is also a need for aircraft that can rapidly deploy to any location worldwide in as short a time as possible. Projects like the rumored Aurora plane and other hypersonic vehicles fall into this category. Other rumored research projects range from cloaking technology to proton beams to anti-gravity devices.

Of course, these projects are only the tip of the rumored iceberg. Area 51 is arguably better known for its connection with aliens and UFOs than with any of these aircraft. In the next section, we’ll take a look at the rumors and theories linking Area 51 with visitors from outer space.

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