One of America’s most secretive and yet also highly publicized research facilities sure knows how to stay in the headlines. As the hype surrounding the controversial and misguided “Storm Area 51” event continues to grow, the off-limits and extremely classified Air Force testing ground appears to have held a massive test of some kind this past weekend.
While there are no details coming from the Armed Forces themselves, several Notices to Airman (NOTAMs) which were published publicly seem to indicate that the skies over the Nevada Test and Training Range were occupied by something spooky this past weekend. NOTAMs are documents filed with aviation authorities like America’s FAA which notify pilots of potential hazards or off-limit airspace.
Beginning on August 8, several aviation enthusiasts and observers began noticing curious NOTAMs and posting them to Twitter. The notices indicated several massive blocks of airspace surrounding Groom Lake and Tonopah Test Range, some of America’s most secretive locations where the most cutting-edge and classified aerospace technologies are developed and tested. The airspace above those areas were restricted from August 10 until the early morning on August 12.
The NOTAMs all specified an unlimited ceiling for these areas, meaning the airspace above these ranges was off limits essentially all the way up to outer space. Aviation journalists around the internet speculated that this likely indicates a test of some type of space-to-surface or surface-to-space technology, although it could simply be a way of ensuring that nobody without the proper security clearances got to see whatever shiny new toys the Air Force was testing over the weekend.
While there’s no telling what may have been tested over the weekend, some aerospace experts have suggested it was likely a classified drone exercise, a rocket launch of some kind, a test of an exotic directed energy weapon, or perhaps even an early flight of the B-21 Raider, the Air Force’s upcoming next-generation stealth bomber.
Whatever it was, this weekend proves why we won’t get anywhere close to the secretive test range next month when we try to storm Area 51. That entire complex is one of the most heavily-guarded and restricted places on Earth and the site of some of the world’s most sophisticated weapons development. Are a bunch of Naruto-running millennials really going to be able to storm the barriers and evade armed guards?