posted on Jan, 5 2006 @ 04:24 PM
During the 1960s, a simple 5,000-foot airstrip was constructed at Tonopah Test Range, mainly for delivery of supplies. Sandia Strip, as it was known,
wasn't even equipped with runway lights until 1969. The following year, the airstrip was extended to 6,600 feet, with a 1,500-foot overrun. In 1971,
a visual omnirange localizer and nondirectional radio beacon were installed for instrument approach requirements. The runway was completely repaved in
1976 with a strengthened all-weather surface.
In the late 1970s, the Air Force began using TTR for aircraft testing and evaluation. In October 1979, the 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron "Red
Eagles" sponsored Phase I development of new airfield and support facilities including construction of a maintenance hangar, concrete parking apron,
taxiway, propane tank, a few permanent outbuildings, and 16 mobile homes. The original 6,600-foot runway was extended to 10,000 feet with a 1,000-foot
overrun on each end.
Phase II began in October 1980 and included expansion of the apron area, construction of a taxiway, fuel tanks, dining hall, water tank, warehouse,
support utilities, and a 42,000-square-foot hangar.
Phase III construction, sponsored by the 4450th Tactical Group, began in March 1981 in preparation for operational test and evaluation of the F-117A.