Aerial Photos of the Yucca Air Strip, Nov 24, 2019
The new Yucca air strip is located on the east side of Yucca Lake in Area 6 of the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). It is sometimes confused with the older Yucca strip, a dirt runway on the west side of the lakebed from the days of the nuclear tests in the former Nevada Test Site (NTS).
The new airstrip was originally constructed around 2002 as a dirt strip just off the lake bed with a single hangar at its south end. In the summer of 2005 the ramp area and the 5,000ft. runway were paved and more hangars and support buildings were added. In late 2006 the ramp area was significantly improved and expanded and a large new hangar was added. As our photos below show another large hangar was added sometime between 5/2018 and 11/2019.
From various observations it is believed that the site is used by Lockheed and possibly by other contractors for the development and test of new UAVs. The Lockheed RQ-170 is a likely candidate. Its first flight in 2007 coincides with the expansion of the base in late 2006. Its predecessor, the Polecat which first flew in 2005, could account for the expansion in 2005. The expansion in 2019 seems to indicate that a new major UAV project is currently being tested here.
The aerial photos below were taken from a Cessna 150 flying inside R-4806W. On weekends the normally restricted airspace is sometimes opened to civilian traffic when the ranges are "cold". Publication on Dreamland Resort with friendly permission by the pilot and photographer, Gabriel Zeifman. Click in the photos to enlarge.
Yucca Lake and much of Area 6 of the NNSS looking roughly west. The new Yucca air strip is clearly visible in front of the dry lake bed. In the foreground, near the bottom of the photo, is the Los Alamos National Labs facility and a site known as Tweezer Facility at the very bottom right. Adjacent to the far side of the lake bed is a maintenance facility. Just behind it and to the left is Control Point 1, or CP-1, the main command center for operations in the entire area. It goes back to the days when above ground nuclear tests were conducted in Yucca Flat. The dark colored hill just above and to the right of the maintenance yard is known as News Nob. This is where in the 1950's and 60's media and VIP were set up to watch the above ground tests in Yucca Flat, just out of frame on the right. The road past CP-1 is Mercury Highway from Mercury in the south to Area 19 at the north end of the NNSS and also to Area 51. Photo taken on Sunday, November 24, 2019
November 24, 2019 close-up of the Yucca air strip. Since the last publicly available satellite photo from 5/15/2018 a new very large hangar has been added. Clearly the facility continues to expand, indicating new projects, almost certainly UAVs, being tested here.
December 25, 2020 hi-res photo of the Yucca strip. Not much change since the previous photo was taken a year ago. It looks like there may be a UAV or a small aircraft hiding under the scoot-and-hide shelter.