posted on Apr, 6 2008 @ 11:43 PM
Actually most lights turn off for a test, but other lights may turn on. In the case of what you observed, my guess is they brought out work lights in
order to prep the plane, but that is just a guess.
I can't find this on the net because I probably don't know the right keyword, but when they activate ground based radar, a warning light is
operated. This is to warn those on the ground not to get too close. It's not like the radar is in a hard to reach location. If you are near the radar
at the "back gate" when it is operational, you will see a flashing light. In fact, you can detect this light at some distance given the desolation
of the area and the darkness.
The radar on the base at Groom Lake has similar warning lights. I've seen lighting turn on for the radar on the north side. However, for a particular
test, they may roll out some ground based radar. It could be some "enemy" radar, or perhaps some tracking equipment for the test. In any event, they
turn on the warning light.
Regarding lights on the planes, I forgot to mention that military aircraft have lights that are generally used in exercises, but I suppose could be
used in a test. If you read "Technical Order 00-105E-9", the location of these lights is shown. There are white lights that could be solid or
flashing, as well as IR beacons.
This document no longer appears on the internet (at least from the DoD), though it is not classified. You could probably get a current one via FOIA.
For an example of such lighting, go to page 27 of
cargo plane documents
Some of the lighting is IR counter measures, but the top mounted strobe is indicated there.