A high-tech surveillance aircraft was recently seen flying over Area 51, one of the world’s most mysterious and infamous military research sites. While aliens are the usual suspect whenever the words “aircraft” and “Area 51” are uttered, a much more frightening boogeyman is behind this latest flyover: the Russians.
On March 28th, 2019, Russia flew several Tupolev Tu-154M aircraft over many of America’s most sensitive military installations in the deserts of Nevada and California. The Tu-154 was designed in the 1960s by the Soviet Union and is still used today for passenger flights, cosmonaut training, and can be fitted with state-of-the-art electronic or optical surveillance equipment. The Tu-154M, the variant used in these flights, is used exclusively for surveillance and imagery collection.
According to radar data tracked by FlightRadar24 and reported by The Drive, the Tu-154M left Travis AFB near San Francisco before flying over Edwards Air Force Base, Fort Irwin, and Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake before making a turn to survey the holy grail of military aerospace secrecy: the Nevada Test and Training Range near Area 51. The aircraft mostly stayed between 14,000 and 15,000 feet while it was conducting surveillance, plenty low enough for panoramic cameras to capture every detail of whatever was happening on the ground below. Good thing the really good stuff is in bunkers deep below the ground or inside Robert Bigelow’s hangars.
While it’s unnerving to thing about Russian spy planes flying over America’s most sensitive research facilities, it turns out this flight was a completely routine part of the Open Skies Treaty, an agreement between the U.S., Russia, and 32 other nations which allows each state to conduct “short-notice, unarmed, reconnaissance flights over the others’ entire territories to collect data on military forces and activities.” These flights are conducted periodically in order to allow nations to keep tabs on each other’s activities – or at least let each other see what they want each other to see. Over the years since the Open Skies Treaty was ratified, Russia and the U.S. have both accused one another of breaking the terms of the treaty time and time again. American intelligence agencies recently conducted Open Skies flights over Russia in February 2019 just when it looked like the agreement would fall apart due to rising tensions between the two superpowers.
If we allow Russia to fly over our most sensitive airspace and research installations, it makes you wonder what types of flights aren’t being sanctioned by treaties. How many anomalous aerial phenomena or sightings of unidentified flying vehicles over the years can be attributed to non-sanctioned surveillance flights? Could the recent “disclosures” of government UFO programs have anything to do with incursions into American airspace by advanced surveillance drones or other aircraft flown by rival superpowers or even non-state actors? While those questions remain unanswered, this incident shows above all else that there is much more spooky activity going on overhead than we know. Could the entire extraterrestrial angle be a psy-op to keep the public from freaking out about the Russians or anyone else flying aircraft or weapons over our heads?