posted on Jun, 21 2004 @ 08:18 AM
There's a lot of history to the base, from its original construction to support flight testing of the U-2, (a couple of the original hangars are
still there, just south of the 4 big ones up by the lakebed, they're T shaped). Some of the bases contruction history is open source, its
interesting reading. the large runway with the overrun stip going onto the lakebed was done for the A-12 program, which was the CIA's single seat
predecessor to the SR-71, the 4 duplex hangars at the far south ramp were built for the A-12, the 4 large engineering hangars at the north end are
used for MiG testing and support for testing. There is ongoing contruction at this facility to improve engineering support and they've recently
repaved the south ramp. The old fuel tank farm has largely been demolished and replaced with 2 modern very large tanks. The old runway was
deactivated in the 90's and replaced with the current one, 32R/12L, current satellite pics show black and yellow x's on the runway prohibiting
traffic landing on it now. There are several other hangars, 2 duplex models on the east side of the south ramp which were probably dedicated to F-117
development, and the large hangar, is probably a maintanance and delivery building, a C-5 can probably stick its nose in that and disgorge whatever
airframe or pieces are needed, its probably a final assembly shop for experimental prototypes.
At the very south of the base are 2 engine test cells and a fenced in area which contains weapons storage igloos.
I don't know about the oxygen tanks though, most aircraft i know have built in generation of both nitrogen to inert the fuel tanks with and oxygen
for pilots use.
At least the F/A-22 does, its called OBOGS and OBIGS, On Board Oxygen/Intert Gas generation System
The south base contruction is merely the asphalt plant, contruction and demolition equipment is kept there as needed.
[edit on 21-6-2004 by MPJay]