It has been the source for all kinds of conspiracy theories and even the stuff of Hollywood legend, but the government has officially denied its very existence, however, newly declassified documents finally reveal the mystery of Area 51.
Even the name sounds mysterious, and for years questions and speculation has abounded about the government base in the Nevada desert. Documentaries have been made showing the ominous and threatening signs placed by the government warning trespassers of the dire consequences if they were to enter the property, while numerous books and films have been made suggesting that UFO’s and aliens were being kept under wraps at the secretive facility.
However, according to a 355 page declassified report titled “The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954 – 1974,” the reality is the facility was nothing more than an attempt to prevent the Russians from accessing top secret information on the U-2 and other top secret aircraft being designed at the base.
In 1955, when the U-2 spy planes first began flying over the Nevada desert they soared at altitudes greater than any other plane before them, nearly 12 miles up at 60,000 feet. For years the very existence of the plane during both the development and production phase of the project was classified top secret and kept from the American people and foreign governments.
While there have been few details released about Area 51 over the years, the new document could help shed some light on the facility and perhaps debunk long held conspiracy theories surrounding the base.
It now turns out the base was primarily created to test and develop a series of spy planes in the 50s, 60s and 70s, including the famous U-2 spy plane. The U-2 was developed as a single-engine lightweight plane with incredibly long wings in proportion to its body. In fact, the wings were so long they had small landing gear and wheels along the wingtips to prevent them from touching the ground. The plane carried a series of spy cameras and was designed strictly for aerial reconnaissance over foreign territories such as the Soviet Union. It was a U-2 that confirmed the existence of Soviet missiles in Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis.
Because of the plane’s mission it was vital to develop the project in complete secrecy. Even the name of the aircraft was intended to obscure its true mission. The “U” stands for utility aircraft as opposed to the standard “R” for reconnaissance aircraft.
While the document is the most revealing information yet about the base, it still contains several redacted sections which means the conspiracy theories may not be ready to die off just yet.
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