How Can We Find Out What's On Those Secret Bases?
UFO's and America's new aircraft technology are the most closely guarded government and military secrets in history. The X-30 (Aurora) project has as its goal an aircraft that can take off from the ground, fly to the upper atmosphere, enter the edge of space and accelerate to 17,500 miles per hour as it begins an intercontinental flight lasting only a few minutes.
The X-30 is a noisy, highly visible aircraft until it reaches the upper limits of its flight, or until it turns on its ECM gear. One of its present missions is to divert attention away from more spectacular aircraft development, particularly that which is being conducted at Groom Dry Lake in Nevada.
Government officials and intelligence agencies claim there is nothing at Groom Lake, that it doesn't exist. At the same time, gun-toting security guards protecting a runway almost seven miles long will threaten you with charges of espionage if you get too close to their facility.
Actually, I don't think they would charge you with espionage. Consider for a minute: How could anyone be charged with spying on a facility that officially doesn't exist? Believe me, trying to prove you were spying at Groom Lake would be more difficult and more embarrassing than denying the government is hiding UFO's in the first place.
It would be a lot easier for them to simply kill you and bury you in the desert because they wouldn't be required to open their non-existent base to public prying during the subsequent investigation.
Let's play a mind game. It's called "King of The Hill," or "Blue Flag, Red Flag." You have a secret base sequestered in the high desert just north of Las Vegas and you're doing things up there that have piqued my interest. I'm determined to have a look at your facility. How do I go about it?
What I would not do is organize a caravan of a dozen or more people to go parading into town to announce our intentions. I would go alone or with one or two other people. I would not tell anyone I was leaving and I would not stop anywhere near the base to herald my arrival. I would stay out of town and particularly would I stay out of the local gathering place.
If no one knows you arrived, no one can call the secret phone number to let the spooks know they should keep their plane on the ground, see?
Officially, two billion dollars were allotted to the X-30 Project and if you don't believe some of that money was set aside to pay informants in the villages surrounding Groom Lake, you're not seeing the big picture.
While planning your clandestine mission, bear in mind that the only person you can really trust is you.
But this is only half the strategy. The desert around that base is littered with the same kind of motion sensors we used in Vietnam to detect enemy troop movements. Walk through the desert, day or night, and a panel on the base lights up like a Christmas tree. Pretty soon, here come the security police a hundred miles an hour to threaten you with extinction.
These motion sensors are only the most immediate indication that you are treading on forbidden ground. Every few hours of every day satellites pass over the base taking pictures that can reveal items as small as this 8x11" sheet of paper with astonishing clarity. Sensors can see right through your tent or automobile or motorhome. The people to whom these images are presented can tell the year and model of your vehicle, can tell if a person is male or female, adult or child, and what they are carrying in their hands at any given moment. They know when you go pottie and where.
How do you get around this problem? Here are some suggestions:
First let's outline the mission. We don't want to set fires or blow up airplanes. We're not saboteurs, merely overly curious taxpayers. We don't really want to go on the base. We don't have to; we can find out everything we need to know from about 30 miles away on civilian territory.
The mission here, if it really makes any difference, is to find out what kind of aircraft are being tested at Groom Dry Lake and what other odd goings-on are occurring there. We must remember that we are going to penetrate a secret facility and discover information not intended for our eyes. With a little questioning, you can discover the schedule of most of the satellite fly-overs and plan your activities when they are over the horizon.
What will we do with the information once we have it? (because we are going to get it if we plan our mission as semi-professional spies and not as a roving band of zealots who have great purpose without great plan).
All we need are pictures. Still pictures, motion pictures, video pictures. One or all. Since the base is fairly well hidden on a dry lake surrounded by formidable mountains, we must find a way, short of walking, to get above the mountains in any direction from the base.
Idea #1). A radio controlled model airplane designed specifically to house a camera that can take still or motion pictures of the desired area. Our own little U2, so to speak. Engines can be muffled to be nearly silent. The wood and plastic model will not return a radar profile so it could, if required, fly right over the base without being detected.
The camera should be mounted vertically, be of suitable format (70 mm or larger) and be capable of being programmed to fire at predetermined intervals after the plane reaches altitude and desired heading.
The radio signals should be capable of reaching the plane over a fairly long distance, probably farther than a normal RC transmitter. If the lens on the camera is of sufficient focal length, we can stand off a safe distance and still get our pictures.
The camera and plane must be recoverable after the sortie is completed. Infra red film should be loaded for night flights, black and white Shellburst for day flights. A navigation light should be affixed to the plane and be visible for a mile or more so we can keep track of it.
Idea #2). An unmanned tethered balloon rigged with a suspended platform capable of holding a still or video camera. The platform should be constructed to rotate similar to a television antenna. The balloon should be tethered at four points to minimize pitching and yawing. The control cables should run from the platform or basket to the ground where batteries and monitors are located, perhaps in a van or motorhome.
The tethers should be of sufficient length to allow the balloon to ascend to 3000 to 5000 feet (you'll be violating sacrosanct airspace, so be prepared to haul it in or cut it loose). To reduce weight, tethers might be of mylar monofilament. The balloon will have to be of a size sufficient to lift the weight of the platform, the camera, the motor and rotating assembly and the tethers and control cables.
The camera must carry a lens capable of recording clear, sharp large scale images over a distance of 25 to 30 miles. Any photo supply house will sell or lease the proper gear and film to you for the right price.
Idea #3). This would be my choice. An ultra light aircraft. No license required. Can be trailered and assembled in minutes by anyone with a screwdriver and a couple of wrenches. Carries one or two fully grown adults. One qualified pilot and one cameraperson. Plenty of fuel. No problems with directional control of the vehicle. Shoot what you see, change lenses, change film, stay as long as required and land. Again, the camera should be fitted with a telephoto lens similar to a Questar. Try to get something with an effective focal length of 250 to 500 inches.
The disadvantage to the ultra light is that it is large, noisy and highly visible, increasing the chance someone will drive over to see what the heck you're up to before you complete the mission.
A rifleman on the ground could easily shoot you down if he wanted to and that will definitely ruin your plane, to say nothing of what it will do to you.
With some rigorous practice assembling and launching before you go to the desert, you should be able to get your mission off the ground in about 30 minutes after you park the truck.
What we are going to do to obtain our intelligence data is to use the same tricks they use to gather their intelligence information--day and night aerial photography. We are going to take aerial photos early in the morning, around noon, and just before sunset. We need the early morning and evening shots to establish the length of shadows. This, coupled with our altitude, focal length of the lens and sun angle, will tell us how tall structures are. The shadows lend a third dimension to the images on the film. If we calculate the height of the average man as six feet, we can use those shadows to determine about how tall other nearby objects are.
We need the noon shots to eliminate shadows so we can put each object in relation to all others and determine the sizes and placement of the objects we see on the film. Ideally, we need some vertical shots with approximately 60% overlap so we can construct stereoscopic models.
We also need some horizontals (obliques) so we can see into hangar bays and between buildings during morning and afternoon shots when the sun will project light where we need it.
It is possible we might use all three aerial recon methods to obtain our data. The RC model plane can get our verticals, particularly during the day so we can establish the locations of buildings, aircraft, revetments, etc., and we can plan our night missions more effectively. We'll know where to look for likely activity.
The balloon can be used to take the Infra Red night shots. Ideally, the camera would be fitted with a night scope so we can really see what's going on and rotate the camera more precisely. We might want two cameras; a video camera with a nightscope to use as a viewfinder/rangefinder boresighted to a 16mm cine camera like a Milliken, loaded with IR film and capable of shooting at 1000 to 5000 frames per second. You would be surprised what you can see on IR film! The heat of the vehicle and crew, for one thing. Lights and exhaust for another. Sensors, too.
The ultra light aircraft can be used to recon the area and look for security vehicles when not being used to take telephoto shots of the base during the day. Air observers and ground personnel must have short range FM radios.
Now, you're saying all this seems like a lot of trouble just to get some pictures of the most secret aircraft in the world. But you're going after pictures of the most secret aircraft in the world and if you really, really want to find out what's down there, plan on spending some time and money on the project. We didn't find out Russian missiles were in Cuba by asking the Cubans to release information; we sent some U2s and RF-101 Voodoos over to take pictures and we knew it for a lead pipe fact.
The point is: If we want to get the information we feel we must have, we can no longer treat this as a weekend holiday to the Alien Inn. We must sit down and plan an incursion into very unfriendly territory, which incursion might get someone killed. Period.
Those who decide to contribute funds for the equipment and materials should make their presence known in some manner. Those who take it upon themselves to plan and execute the mission must understand that they cannot expect to go for a weekend trip, but must be prepared to camp out in the desert for a week or more. That means most of the food, water and sanitary supplies must go right along with the balloons, helium, cameras, film and aircraft.
That means radio silence. That means completely avoiding other people for however long it takes to get results.
And don't forget to take a semi-automatic weapon and at least 100 rounds of ammunition per person. Just in case.
Espionage (for that is what it is) is serious business, folks. You aren't going to discover what's on the other side of the mountain by sitting around at the restaurant in groups of two dozen or more and expect CIA to launch a UFO on cue when you go roaring up to the viewpoint.
You toss your bottle of Canadian blend into the trash, kiss your wife goodbye, sneak in, tell no one you are there, unload all your gear, send your driver on his way, set up housekeeping, and stay as long as necessary or until the big bad wolf arrives to run you off. That's the only way we're going to get usable pictures of the top secret aircraft flying out of and into Groom Dry Lake.
Where would I set all this up if I were seriously entertaining the idea to execute the mission? Well, certainly not at the best-known and most convenient mountain in the area. The one mountain left from which people can see the base is only one facet of what the intelligence community calls "crowd control." As long as you know you can see the base from that mountain without being unreasonably harassed, that's where you will go, right?
And, of course, that's where they want you to go so they don't have to spread their security forces too thin to cover the several hundred thousand square miles of Groom Dry Lake looking for interlopers.
The idea, then, to beat them at their own game, would be to go to the least accessible and least likely area to begin your recon of the base. Most of the motion sensors are over on the easy side. Most of the PIs will be looking for activity over there. Begin somewhere else.
Of course, this will require a pre-assault expedition to locate the best area to set up your base camp away from the civilized villages that were established to attract you like moths to a flame so base intelligence personnel can keep track of your caravans.
As a diversion, you might schedule a weekend symposium at or near the Alien Inn to keep the PIs occupied while two or three courageous souls venture over to the other side of the base to launch their balloon and RC U2 recon plane.
If intelligence personnel locate your base camp, they will descend upon you like the wrath of God, shouting and shooting.
Expect, at best, to lose your equipment if you get caught. Expect to be detained indefinitely while someone reams you a new fanny and determines what will become of you. If you are apprehended, control of your destiny will be in the hands of people who really don't care too much about your health and welfare.
Expect, at worst, to become a statistic, a MIA. For this reason, you should complete a will and let friends know they should contact your relatives should you not return by a certain date. Don't tell them where you are going or they may become statistics, too.
On the other hand, as I have stated before, some things are better left alone. Secret weapons are secret because the average American and the rest of the world has no need to know what is parked behind those revetments or stored in underground caverns.
I have seen nothing concrete to convince me that the aircraft at Groom Lake (or anywhere else for that matter) are anything more than progressive developments of technology begun in Germany, England and America prior to and during the Second World War.
If a Spanloader (Flying Wing) exists that can rise vertically, hover and sail silently away, and if you think that is remarkable, remember that the prototypes of vertical lift aircraft were being developed before the Second World War, sixty years ago. Remember that VTOL and STOL aircraft have been constantly developed and vigorously refined since the end of the war. Remember that computers can produce counter-frequencies to mask any sound and produce complete silence, even to the loudest aircraft around, the AV8 Harrier, a V/STOL tactical ground support fighter that literally causes the earth to tremble when it lifts off vertically.
Be aware that if a computer can produce counter-frequencies to mask sound, cloaking devices-computers to mask images (make things invisible) may also be utilized on the next generation of military aircraft.
And remember, too, the VCASS helmet being developed at Wright Pat. The same idea (Virtual Reality) is so common on the commercial market that, for twenty dollars, you can go to an Arcade, strap on a helmet and play VR games for half an hour in three sensations: sight (color), sound (stereo) and touch.
What many people perceive as "new" technology is merely old technology and ideas refined and removed from the test bench to become usable hardware.
If you were astounded by laser and wire and TV guided bombs during the Gulf War, please remember that Germany had developed and was using those weapons on a regular basis by 1944. They had wire guided air to air, air to ground and ground to ground missiles. They had air to ground TV guided bombs. They had air to ground and ground to air radio guided missiles and bombs. They had remotely fired rockets. They had jet and rocket airplanes. They had solid and liquid fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles. They had developed and flown an advanced jet-powered saucer-shaped aircraft (which may or may not have been captured and refined by western powers after the war). Eugene Sanger had proposed and presented the "Suborbital Skip Bomber" that would have carried nuclear warheads from Germany to the North American continent and against which no deterrent had even been conceived!
This was fifty years ago when many aircraft were still being made of wood and covered with fabric in most of the rest of the world!
So remarkable were the inventions of German scientists that the victorious nations kidnapped the scientists and confiscated the weapons by the shiploads before the war was even over. Many of the German scientists smuggled to America were put to work on our space program. Their most notable achievement was getting American astronauts to the moon and back within a brief 20 years.
The most beneficial results as far as the rest of us are concerned were advances in cosmetics, synthetic fabrics and fuels and automobile products, and intercontinental air travel in planes with jet engines and swept-back wings and flying tails.
But behind all the glamor and clamor of the headline news, don't you imagine other people were quietly at work developing secret weapons and secret aircraft and secret computers to get us, not to the moon and Mars, but to the edges of the known universe? That was, after all, the real dream of the German scientists.
Don't you imagine someone somewhere has been working on the design of the starship with all its intricate and manifold parts that will carry the human seed to other worlds? Don't you imagine that hundreds of people have struggled for decades to create the perfect power source, some sort of Cascade Generator that would render a craft massless and drive it at light speed--if for no other reason than to sever our dependency on foreign oil?
Don't you imagine that we see a trickle-down benefit of such research on the commercial market in the form of automobile computers, aircraft designs, even children's toys (designed to give today's kids a hands-on feel of tomorrow's heads-up display in their starfighter).
And don't you imagine that most of this RDT&E must remain secret or top secret if we are to maintain superiority in the field?
Recently launched satellites can track the migratory habits of creatures as small as sea turtles in the Atlantic Ocean or pinpoint fires burning out of control in the rain forests. They could also keep track of humans implanted with small transmitters or creatures alien to our planet, or space craft, space debris and small planetoids approaching and entering Earth's atmosphere some not-so-future day.
Being an author, I'm as curious as the next person about the inventions and new developments that will carry us into the 21st Century and beyond, however, conspiracy or no conspiracy, I really believe we ought not go scrubbing about on secret RDT&E bases lest we find and expose exactly what we are looking for.
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What's $12 million between friends?
The New York Times, January 17, 1994
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