Area 51 engineer revealed declassified photos from the secretive air base

  • Area 51 is mainly used for testing spy planes
  • Information and images about the site have only recently been declassified
  • New images were shared by an engineer who worked at the site

Published on Jun 12, 2024 at 7:22 PM (UTC+4)
by Alessandro Renesis

Last updated on Jun 13, 2024 at 6:25 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

Very few places in the world are as enigmatic and fascinating as Area 51.

After decades of mystery, we recently learned a bit more about it.

And now we have the chance to take a look at some pretty interesting photographs, which have only recently been declassified.

READ MORE: Military historian reveals the ‘real secrets’ of Area 51

The U.S. government takes this sort of thing very seriously.

When documents, files, or images are classified, it sometimes takes decades, or even over a century in some rare cases, for the information to become readily available to the public.

That’s what’s going on with Area 51, and that’s how we now have pictures of the A-12 Oxcart stealth plane that was being tested, taken by one of the engineers who worked on the project.

A-12 Oxcart: Area 51’s secret ‘spy plane’

The Lockheed A-12, sometimes known as ‘Oxcart’, broke the Mach 3 barrier when it flew at Mach 3.29 at 90,000 feet.

Development began in the 1960s, and the A-12 actually preceded other iconic planes such as the record-breaking SR-71 Blackbird.

Engineer Thornton “TD” D. Barnes worked on the A-12 project at the Area 51 site in Nevada and after a very long time, he was finally able to share these images on Facebook.

The pictures, which were first republished by the Popular Mechanics website, are in black and white but still very crisp.

It feels almost surreal to be able to see them today.

What is Area 51 used for?

For the longest time, we’ve heard plenty of theories about Area 51, from claims about secret tasting facilities to the existence of a ‘nuke town‘.

Then, 10 years ago, the CIA released information contained in documents that had been declassified via a Freedom of Information Act request.

The site, which has been historically famed for UFO sightings, was used as a testing facility for some government projects, namely the U-2 and Oxcart aerial surveillance programs.

So theories about it being a place for ‘testing weird stuff’ aren’t entirely incorrect.

This also explains why sometimes people caught sight of what they believed might be UFOs.

By the way, they’re no longer UFOs.

Apparently the correct term these days is UAP, which stands for unidentified anomalous phenomenon.

# Tags - Airplanes


Alessandro Renesis

Experienced content creator with a strong focus on cars and watches. Alessandro penned the first-ever post on the Supercar Blondie website and covers cars, watches, yachts, real estate and crypto. Former DriveTribe writer, fixed gear bike owner, obsessed with ducks for some reason.