Re: Pads near Cockeyed Ridge South East of Groom

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Message posted by Skeet (Member since 06/29/2022) on July 04, 2022 at 16:56:36 PST:

I think I've got it.

The pads are placed on the far west side of the Area 51 boundary bordering NTS. They literally could not have built them any further west without going into Area 9 or 10 on NTS land. Why? That spot provides an excellent radar panorama of "The Box" 4808A airspace. It's nestled perfectly in the south west corner. Graphic to illustrate:

In fact, I don't think they could have built it anywhere else. Papoose mountain is too close so the radar would have to point skywards or rapidly pan to track the aircraft flying above. Bald Mountain is too close to the public boundary and a site placed there would leak RF back into the rest of the NTTR range.

As for the lower saddle hill facing north east, the radar would be tilted up high to scan the airspace above it, likely tracking aircraft flying over 10-15 thousand feet.

The many sites in the valley are used to measure the signature of foreign radar systems against the test aircraft. The sites at Papoose Mountain and on the north site of Groom Lake are likely sensitive high power radars for getting high resolution RCS measurements from low flying passes. The RAT55 737 does probably a similar job but tests the aircraft at different angles when airborne. The missing piece is a site to test radar equipment with a view of the entire airspace, especially with aircraft flying higher.

So what type of radar was being tested there? My best guess is a form of advanced radar capable of picking up stealth aircraft.

In the late 90's, the Chinese started their J-XX program to develop a 5th gen stealth fighter. That was probably the prompt the USAF needed to start development of a counter-stealth radar capability.

A quick google for "anti stealth radar" lead me to this article about the new Chinese YLC-8E, supposedly, anti-stealth radar:

Some more details and photos here:

Look at the photos - it's huge! It looks like it would need a 100ft pad at least. A USAF design would probably be a similar size. In some photos there is an additional radar. Perhaps the system comes as a pair to provide of a full suite of frequency coverage. Two vehicles, two pads?

The article title quotes "World’s First Anti-Stealth Radar" - it looks like this capability has been in US hands for at least 20 years.


In Reply to: Re: Pads near Cockeyed Ridge South East of Groom posted by Joerg (Webmaster) on July 04, 2022 at 11:33:03 PST:


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