Mysterious Aircraft Spotted At Area 51

In_A_Dream

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Q-nimbus

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I think Trimble is vastly over-interpreting a very vaguely innocuous statement.
I agree. This doesn’t really tell us anything. I reckon the general was talking about these kind of things in general (sorry ;)) rather than this specific incident.
 

xstatic3000

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If I'm reading between the lines correctly, it's not the aircraft that was the sensitive item, but the translucent canvas for the shelter.
It was meant to send a signal to our adversaries: "We can't cover up anything" ;)
I'll refer you to several earlier posts in this thread instead of explaining again why this isn't a translucent or transparent cover over the metal ribbing of the ClearSpan structure in the images. Over the past months, I've asked a few of my suppliers - who are leaders in the industry - if they have ever heard of a transparent ClearSpan-type aircraft shelter. The consensus is that no such thing exists.

However, although the aircraft itself may not itself be some sort of new,exotic airframe (as many seem to want it to be), It's role and presence at Groom Lake certainly are sensitive. For example, if one of Draken International's F4s or L-139s were being used to test a new sensor or electronic warfare system, a savvy hostile analyst might be able to figure out what was being done based on what aircraft was being used. The aircraft may have been carrying systems or modifications that need to be concealed. Most of what happens at all test ranges would seem extremely mundane to most enthusiasts, and the skies over Groom Lake aren't constantly filled with exotic aircraft (especially in this age of advanced computational modeling).

I could be wrong, but I still suspect that this is N543J, which has an airworthiness certificate valid until August 2022. It's currently owned by a holding company that may be leasing it back to a contractor, or it may be a Small Business contractor dealing directly with DOD. If so, it's ADS-B transponder certainly wouldn't be active during flight ops within NTTR.
 
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Sundog

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I don't think Mr. Trimble got anything wrong. Did any of you bother to read the entire discussion?

Marcus Weisgerber
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My question: “There's been some attention given to a satellite picture of one of your bases that you don't talk about, and it's got an aircraft that's apparently sitting there on the runway in pure view. Was that done intentionally and can you tell us what that is?”

Marcus Weisgerber
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Apr 7
Brown's answer: “No, I can't. What I will tell you is that many moons ago when … capability in space was less proliferated, we had times we could actually do things and not be seen. It is harder to do things and not be seen.”

If it was a Draken he would have said so. It's obvious from his statement that what was seen was something that wasn't supposed to be exposed to the public.
 

Hood

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It is a vague statement to a vague question (it wasn't a runway, it was a taxiway). Groom Lake has had scoot shelters for many decades and by the early 80s the US was having a field day spotting new Soviet fighters (all those groovy RAM- designations), so the times of operating freely and not being seen by satellite was rather a long time ago.

Given they don't officially acknowledge the base's activities it is not likely he would confirm if it was a XEF-36, Draken or a Sopwith Camel. "Doing things" refer to almost anything. He isn't admitting anything other than satellites photograph the site they don't like to talk about and that satellite cameras see things not parked away.
 

TomS

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If it was a Draken he would have said so. It's obvious from his statement that what was seen was something that wasn't supposed to be exposed to the public.

No. They would give the exact same type of non-answer reply to any questions about activities at Groom Lake.

Q: "Is it true that a pickup truck at Groom Lake broke down and was photographed by a satellite?"

A: "Well, lots of things happen there and it's getting harder for those things not to be seen."
 

In_A_Dream

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If I'm reading between the lines correctly, it's not the aircraft that was the sensitive item, but the translucent canvas for the shelter.
It was meant to send a signal to our adversaries: "We can't cover up anything" ;)
I'll refer you to several earlier posts in this thread instead of explaining again why this isn't a translucent or transparent cover over the metal ribbing of the ClearSpan structure in the images. Over the past months, I've asked a few of my suppliers - who are leaders in the industry - if they have ever heard of a transparent ClearSpan-type aircraft shelter. The consensus is that no such thing exists.

However, although the aircraft itself may not itself be some sort of new,exotic airframe (as many seem to want it to be), It's role and presence at Groom Lake certainly are sensitive. For example, if one of Draken International's F4s or L-139s were being used to test a new sensor or electronic warfare system, a savvy hostile analyst might be able to figure out what was being done based on what aircraft was being used. The aircraft may have been carrying systems or modifications that need to be concealed. Most of what happens at all test ranges would seem extremely mundane to most enthusiasts, and the skies over Groom Lake aren't constantly filled with exotic aircraft (especially in this age of advanced computational modeling).

I could be wrong, but I still suspect that this is N543J, which has an airworthiness certificate valid until August 2022. It's currently owned by a holding company that may be leasing it back to a contractor, or it may be a Small Business contractor dealing directly with DOD. If so, it's ADS-B transponder certainly wouldn't be active during flight ops within NTTR.
This thread is too serious for humor.
 

Q-nimbus

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It would
If it was a Draken he would have said so. It's obvious from his statement that what was seen was something that wasn't supposed to be exposed to the public.

No. They would give the exact same type of non-answer reply to any questions about activities at Groom Lake.

Q: "Is it true that a pickup truck at Groom Lake broke down and was photographed by a satellite?"

A: "Well, lots of things happen there and it's getting harder for those things not to be seen."
I agree. However, if they had said it was a Draken that would have been the end of the matter, at least for me. Occam’s razor dictates that the most simple solution is the most likely one, and in this case that would be that we’re looking at a Draken. The fact that they didn’t comment on that, not even off the record is very telling in my opinion.

The Wichita (B2?), Texas (F117?) and North Sea (F111?) sightings also come to mind where it would have been easy to proof we were looking at something much more mundane rather than an exotic secret aircraft. Even if one of these sightings really was a secret airframe it would be very easy to misdirect us with some misinformation. Why not do so?
 

Hood

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The Wichita (B2?), Texas (F117?) and North Sea (F111?) sightings also come to mind where it would have been easy to proof we were looking at something much more mundane rather than an exotic secret aircraft.
They tried that, the North Sea sighting was meant to be a Vulcan, so they helpfully suggested. Ignoring they had been retired about 2-3 years previously. About as convincing to an informed aviation geek as saying it was Louis Bleriot lost in a fogbank...

So now they just clam up, better to say nowt than get caught out with another faux pax.

Even if it is a Draken, it's not a state owned airframe admitting it was there then ensures the operator gets sniffy about the USAF breaching "commercial in confidence". Then the snoopers start trying to pry into contracts and that leads to another molehill. Plus everyone then automatically jump to conclusions like "they must be evaluating sensors for XF-XXX or training XB-XXX pilots" which may or may not be true. Still gets us nowhere.
 

sublight_

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Because its a portable shelter with a plane, and its shadow, painted on it.
 

sublight_

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Because its a portable shelter with a plane, and its shadow, painted on it.
This has been disproven, unless they have some very spooky paint that adjusts the shadows according to the time of day.
Or a miracle portable shelter that cast a shadow, but is some how magically translucent to the equipment inside because DoD WANTS satellites to see the contents? Which sounds more plausible?
 

X-39

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Hey guys, while trying to draw possible outlines (not using the "enhanced" version from TWZ with artifacts and false details) i noticed a suspicious similarity with something i saw back then. While it is difficult to determine a definitive planform due to the low res, there is something else that can help with that. The shape of the shadow. Using this, what at first was assumed to be upward (or downward turning) wingtips simply becomes the wings, the pointy thing might be a small, blended vertical stabilizer, like seen in past ESAV renders, which would be obscured by the angle at the "photo" was taken. Sorry, i couldn't resist bringing up one of my old comments (yes, referencing a post from Abovetopsecret, what a hypocrite) Basically this:
Screenshot 2022-06-24 at 21-39-18 6th Generation Fighter Meta Thread page 33.png

Could the the aircraft glimpsed by Steve Douglas be a depiction of the very same thing sitting in the taxiway? They kinda match, no?
pi6188ec79)2).jpg Mystery-Plane-Area-51-hangar.png
 

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