Date:  12-28-89  00:40 

PROBING THE SECRETS OF NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE 
By Steve Douglass 

    If you are ever on Highway 6, just outside of the little town of
Tonopah, Nevada, and you can brave the heat, the rattlesnakes, and the
isolation of the desert, get out of your car and wait.  If you are
patient enough you just might be amazed by what you'll see.

    At first you'll only hear it, a high-pitched whining sound in the
distance.  Risking eye damage, you squint into the desert glare trying
to locate the source of the sound.  Suddenly you'll see it.  It's an
ominous-looking aircraft, perfectly flat on the bottom, pyramidal on
the top.

    Roaring across the high desert with its twin tail and swept back
wings, it looks like a large black swallow.  As it gets closer, you'll
feel the urge to duck down among the lizards and the cacti.  Such
action is meaningless, though, for if you can see it, it can see you.
So just stand and watch the Nighthawk go through its paces.

    Since the beginning of the year, the F-117A Nighthawk stealth
fighter has been engaged in daylight training missions from its secret
base in Nevada.  Still considered off limits to the press and public,
the security forces at the base take a dim view of prying eyes.
However, once in a while the Nighthawk must leave its protective nest.

    It is on these rare occasions, when the Nighthawk is not
surrounded by razor wire, patrolling dogs or security teams, that is
when you might catch the F-117A strutting its stuff.

    The secret Tonopah base is part of the Nellis Air Force Base
military operations area.  This secret range, which covers a large
portion of south central Nevada, is the home of the Air Force's top
secret proving grounds.  Edwards Air Force Base was once the premier
testing center but now is considered too public to test top secret
stealth aircraft.  The F-117 base on the northwest corner of Nellis is
remote and removed from all but the most determined.

    The F-117A Nighthawk is the official name of the stealth fighter
bu those who fly it have nicknamed it "The Wobbly Goblin." At slow
speeds, the fighter is apparently hard to handle, hence, the odd
title.  Another term for the aircraft is "the sacred airplane" because
when people see it for the first time they usually remark "Oh my God!"

    A total of 49 are thought to be based on the Tonopah range, also
known as Mellon Strip.  The secret base, located in Area 30 on the
Nellis range, consists of 72 nuclear hardened, specially built hangers
for these secret aircraft.

    The pilots who fly the F-117 are members of a new elite unit, the
445th Tactical Group.  

{That should have been the 4450th TG.
                           ====
 - JJA
}

Most of the pilots first flew F-111 Aardvarks or have Wild Weasel
experience.  The special unit, known as "Team One-Furtim Vigilans"
(vigilant by stealth) became operational in 1983.

    Becuase of the secret nature of their missions, the pilots are not
allowed to acknowledge to civilian air traffic controllers what type
of craft they are flying.  If asked, they are to say they are an A-7
Corsair.

    Team One squadron is not the only squadron flying strange-looking
aircraft on the Tonopah range.  The 447th test and evaluation
squadron, the Red Eagles, is based there as well.  

{That should have been the 4477th TES.
                           ====
 - JJA
}

The Red Eagles fly authentic Soviet fighters.  Captured in Afghanistan
and turned over to the U.S., Mig 17s, 19s, 21s, 23s, 25s, 27s and
Sukhoi Su20 Fighters are flown regularly in Nellis' Red Flag war
games.

    Occuring almost every eight weeks, the Red Flag exercises are
conducted in much the same way as the Navy's Top Gun school is used to
train USAF pilots in dissimilar air combat tactics.  What better way
to train than against real Soviet fighters? To add to the realism, the
Nellis range even is dotted with real Soviet air defense radars and
SAMS (surface to air missiles) to give training pilots the feel of the
real thing.

    There is yet another secret base located in the middle of Nellis.
Groom Lake, in an area called Dreamland, is known to be the test base
of the mysterious Aurora and the F-19 stealth fighter.  The Aurora,
the stealth replacement for the SR-71 Blackbird and the F-19, the
stealth replacement for the F-15 Eagle, is said to be flying from the
Watertown Strip.

    The Air Force has reportedly been testing the two top secret
aircraft in Dreamland, Area 51, since 1980.  (The SR-71 Blackbird was
test flown in complete secrecy.) Other aircraft likely to be test
flown from Dreamland in the near future are prototypes for the ATF
(Advanced Tactical Fighter), the Phalanx Dragon, a stealth helicopter
killer, and the A-12 (Navy Advanced Tactical Aircraft), a replacement
for the A-6 intruder.

    Although the bulk of stealth aircraft operations seem to be
centered around Nevada, it is said that stealth aircraft have been
seen at other bases as well.  Last April the USAF said the F-117A
would be used at bases nationwide to help integrate thge stealth
technology within the rest of the Air Force inventory.  The F-117A has
been seen flying near Yuma, Arizona; Edwards AFB in Calfiornia, and
Kadena AFB in Okinawa.

    Recently it was rumored that F-117s are being stationed at the
recently opened Roswell Air Force Base in New Mexico.  

{They ended up at Holloman AFB, NM.

 - JJA
}

The Roswell strip was constructed originally for heavy bombers during
WWII and Vietnam but closed in the late sixties.  Residents of th area
report that strange aircraft are once again slying out of the base.
The White Sands missile range is not far from Roswell and the F-117A
may be using the range to test the stealth cruise missile, General
Dynamics AGM-129.

    Another black aircraft program by General Dynamics known only as
Project 100 is even more secret than all other stealth programs.
Little is known about the project except that it is thought to be test
flying out of Holliman AFB near Alamagordo, New Mexico, and only at
night.  A military radio net has been heard on various frequencies in
the Holloman area (see frequency list) and it may be the testing of
the Project 100 aircraft.


MONITORING

    Trying to monitor the secret air force is nearly as hard as
catching a glimpse of them.  Best bets are the HF and UHF frequencies
of the flight test bases and aircraft manufacturers.  Also, a good
place to monitor would be SAC and TAC frequencies.  Another good place
to listen is air traffic control centers near test areas.

    So get cracking, heat up your set, and maybe you'll be the first
to monitor the top secret Aurora and F-19!


                            FREQUENCIES 

              HOLLOMAN AFB, ALAMAGORDO, NEW MEXICO 

Approach                 324.3 MHz UHF 
Departure                255.9 MHz UHF 

              Holloman flight test net/White Sands 

Primary                  260.8 MHz UHF 
Secondary                264.9 MHz UHF 


Other UHF frequencies 
monitored                189.4, 251.1, 353.6, 364.2, 376.1, 397.9 

HF link                  9.023 MHz USB 

SATCOM links mentioned   262.925 MHz uplink
                         297.525 MHz downlink 

Call signs heard:
    Sierra Papa, Sierra Pete, Ringmaster, Battlestaff, Guardian Papa,
    Dark Star, Dark Star Oscar


                  ROSWELL AIR FIELD, NEW MEXICO 

Approach                 239.6 MHz UHF 
Tower                    272.7 MHz UHF 

                          Military Net 

Primary                  305.6 MHz UHF 
Secondary                397.9 MHz UHF 

Other frequencies 
monitored                259.2, 305.6, 348.7 


                       NELLIS AFB, NEVADA 

Approach                 279.7 MHz UHF 

Tower                    324.3 MHz UHF 

Ground control           275.8 MHz UHF 

Clearance Delivery       289.4 MHz UHF 

ATIS                     270.1 MHz UHF 

                 Nellis Military Operations Area 

Dreamland base           255.8 MHz UHF 

Sally corridor           343.0 MHz UHF 

Groom Lake approach      361.3 MHz UHF 

Watertown Strip approach 297.65 MHz UHF 


                     EDWARDS AFB, CALIFORNIA 

Tower                    269.9 MHz UHF 

Edwards command post 
(Conform)                304.0 MHz UHF 

Edwards VHF ground 
control                  121.8 Mhz UHF 

Edwards approach         318.1 MHz UHF 


[Parent]

Recieved from amsler@nevada.edu, Oct 9 21:55:41 1994

Area 51 Research Center, Rachel, Nevada, 6/20/96