Re: "A Plea from Area 51"

Message posted by Peter Merlin on January 17, 2013 at 15:33:17 PST:

I think it is safe to say that if a classified aircraft was recently retired at groom Lake, it was not the ATOP. The "secret" of ATOP has been known for several years now, ever since pictures of it first surfaced on the Internet.

The ATOP Project was a concept for a manned or unmanned aircraft called the Advanced Technology Observation Platform. It was designed by a group of Vietnam veterans to have a similar role to the OV-10 Bronco. The aircraft needed to be lightweight with STOL capabilities for light air-support missions, reconnaissance, and surveillance. The airframe was to be approximately 25 feet long and 7 feet tall with a 32-foot wingspan. The powerplants were to be 1,600hp PT-6 twin-paks. The first mockup was assembled in 1978. A 7-foot-span drop model was used to test the jettison system on the ground prior to live carry.

The first drop test of JTV-1 took place north of California City Airport on 28 October 1990. Cessna 150J (N51305) served as the mothership. The test article was to have floated to the ground, but instead made a hard landing after the recovery chute failed to deploy. ATOP JTV-2 was tested at China Lake Naval Weapons Center in late 1991. The ATOP test team consisted of USAF, Boeing, NASA, Lockheed, and Northrop personnel working pretty much on their own time.

In Reply to: "A Plea from Area 51" posted by RickB on January 16, 2013 at 17:34:19 PST:


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