reply to post by firepilot
You're exactly right.
First of all, these are training "assault" strips designed for practice takeoffs and landings. At least that's what the military sais. There are
many different landing strips and runways in the vicinity that are used occasionally for UAV's and exercises.
That's why I was confused when I saw this image in google earth.
Keep in mind, this is an area across the highway from Fort Greely called "Donnelly Training Area". It is part of an immense tract of government
land and it's primary purpose is training. What is strange is how all those aircraft are parked at that airstrip with no support facilities, support
vehicles, no nothing whatsoever other than the aircraft. We know that it is an active airstrip based on the information I provided earlier on in the
This particular landing strip is designed to reflect the design of an active combat airstrip. Perhaps one that is already in use overseas.
If you measure the length of the landing strip in google earth you will find that it is approximately the minimum takeoff length of an F-15 and that
makes complete sense (see my earlier post on this). The issue is that the aircraft in the image are so extremely small that it couldn't possibly be
an F-22 or F-15. At least based on the data gathered on this so far.
Also, keep in mind this satellite image is from 2005. Elmendorf didn't have a full squadron of F-22 raptors until 2007...
Elmendorf welcomes F-22 Raptor
Plus, an F-22 wingspan is 44'-6". The wingspan of an F-15 is 42'-10". The wingspan of these aircraft is approximately 28'...
That's a pretty huge margin of error for the dimensions of the runway to be just about exactly the minimum takeoff distance of an F-15. Why would
the runway length be nearly perfectly accurate but the aircraft dimensions are 12' off?
Plus, the characteristics of the aircraft differ from an F-15 or an F-22. F-15 vertical stabilizers on the rear of the plane are near vertical. The
vertical stabilizers on these aircraft are canted similar to an F-22 but much too small in size to match. The intakes resemble those of an F-15 but
are also way too small.
Those are the only two aircraft in the inventory that even remotely resemble what we're seeing but they in no way match the characteristics or
This area of Alaska is expanding it's infrastructure and ability to provide training for UAV/UAS related activities. All that information is
publicly available and I posted it earlier. Interior Alaska has an immense volume of military airspace that is unmatched anywhere else in the U.S.
That is why Eielson AFB is used for Red Flag exercises.
That also means that this specific kind of training can be conducted in total secrecy. I think the company took the photo with the satellite not
knowing anything was wrong. There are military aircraft in this area but it is no known for being a testbed or anything like that. The aircraft
could've been caught out in the open by complete accident.
There are many other airstrips nearby built specifically for handling UAV's. Perhaps they used that airstrip for the purpose of gathering them up
like this and preparing for an exercise utilizing an entire squadron. It's not like you could land them at Fort Wainwright or Eielson AFB because
everyone would see them for crying out loud!