posted on Feb, 26 2006 @ 01:16 PM
Actually, the Tonopah Test Range airfield (TTR or Area 52) has been well known since long before the F-117A was decalssified.
Speculative news reports about the rumored "Lockheed Stealth Fighter" in the mid 1980s sugested that at least one squadron of the secret airplanes
was operating from TTR. This was not confirmed officially until sometime after the airplane was revelealed by the Department of Defense in November
A 5,000-foot airstrip was constructed at TTR in the 1960s for delivery of supplies to the Sandia National laboratories ballistics test range. Sandia
Strip, as it was known, wasn't even equipped with runway lights until 1969. It was improved over the next few years with a visual omnirange (VOR)
radio beacon and extended to 6,600 feet, with a 1,500-foot overrun.
In October 1979, the 4477th Test and Evaluation Squadron "Red Eagles" sponsored Phase I development of new airfield and support facilities . The
original 6,600-foot runway was extended to 10,000 feet.
Phase II construction began in October 1980 and included expansion of the aircraft parking apron, construction of a taxiway, additional support
facilities and infrastructure, 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
The 4450th TG became the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing. Following Operation Desert Storm, the 37th TFW departed TTR for Hollloman AFB, New Mexico. The
B-2 and Bird of Prey were never tested at TTR. The newest unit at TTR is the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron, activated in 2005.