US Military Plans to Ramp Up Activity Near Area 51 Base in Nevada

August 13, 2019 Updated: August 13, 2019

The United States Military appears to be increasing activity near a top-secret base in the Nevada desert, a photojournalist revealed on August 8.

Former On Scene TV Photojournalist Bryan Herbert revealed the military recently issued a series of Notices to Airman (NOTAMs) detailing changes to military air traffic movements at the R-4806E restricted airspace above Desert Dry Lake, 30 miles southeast of the top-secret Area 51 base.

The Drive describes the airspace as an “elongated north-to-south block” measuring about 50 miles long and 15 miles wide.

The area is home to multiple air-to-ground targets and a Military Operations in Urban Terrain facility, which is used for Joint Terminal Attack Controller training and other ground and air asset integration exercises.

“I see a NOTAM for what appears to be a launch in R-4806E. I wonder if the aircraft was for launch support,” Herbert said on Twitter.

Herbert did not hear any aircraft land at the Nellis Air Force Base and Creech Air Force Base.

“If they did, I did not hear them contact Approach or Tower,” he said.

That notice was for R-4806E, At the center of R-4806E, the restricted airspace in question is Desert Dry Lake, but nothing is located there or on the stretch of ground that sits below this airspace as a whole. It’s also worth noting that Desert Lake sits roughly 30 miles southeast of Groom Lake/Area 51.

Herbert believes at least one of the following NOTAMs suggests there also could have been at least one launch from the ground to unlimited altitude.

“Another NOTAM for R-4806E [states] the window opens at 8 p.m. Los Angeles time,” he said on Twitter. “Just like the other night, the ceiling on this is unlimited indicating its some sort of launch.”

No civilian aircraft or light aircraft are permitted at Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR). That applies even when military operating areas are not in use, according to the Drive.

The NTTR can be used for training, test flights, and classified developmental exercises according to the Drive. Reserving airspace can happen although it rarely takes place on the weekend and for an unlimited altitude.

A third social media post prohibited aircraft movement on the western side of Area 51 from midnight on August 11 and 5:59 a.m. the very next day.

“Another interesting NOTAM, this one is for R-4807A which separates Groom Lake (R-4808N) from Tonopah Test Range (R-4809),” Herbert said on Twitter.