At Area 51, Nevada, the real testing of the U.S. military’s sixth-generation fighter aircraft appears to have begun, which will replace the F-22.
The secret squirrels of Area 51 appear to have slipped up. A passing commercial satellite seems to have snapped its top-secret next-generation combat aircraft on the tarmac.
Tyler Rogoway of The War Zone was reviewing Planet Labs satellite photos of the high-profile secret site last month when he spotted something out of the ordinary.
The highly classified United States Air Force (USAF) Nevada testing facility is usually especially careful. Air operations are timed during the gaps between Earth observation and surveillance satellite overpasses.
This time, it appears to have been caught wrong-footed.
On the taxiway leading through a massive new hangar was a strange shadow.
It appears to be a translucent ‘tent’.
Inside it is the outline of what appears to be an unknown new type of fighter aircraft.
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“Area 51 is always a popular spot when it comes to publicly available satellite imagery,” Rogoway wrote. “When glancing at daily three-meter resolution images of the base, we noticed the appearance of a roughly delta-shaped blob on the north apron of the large southern hangar.”
It stayed there between January 26 and 29, 2022.
Google Earth’s most recent uploaded image is from August 2019. And while it shows nothing of interest on the ground, it does offer a crisp view of the mysterious new hangar situated by itself on the southern edge of the facility.