OXCART: The Real Secret of Area 51


Since the government has finally declassified the program, the people who worked at Area 51 can now talk about A-12 OXCART, a Wicked Secret program to build an test a Mach 3 spyplane at Nevada's Groom Lake. (You may know it as the SR-71 Blackbird.) The L.A. Times talks to survivors of the program:

So, what of those urban legends--the UFOs studied in secret, the underground tunnels connecting clandestine facilities? For decades, the men at Area 51 thought they'd take their secrets to the grave. At the height of the Cold War, they cultivated anonymity while pursuing some of the country's most covert projects. Conspiracy theories were left to popular imagination. But in talking with Collins, Lovick, Slater, Barnes and Martin, it is clear that much of the folklore was spun from threads of fact.

As for the myths of reverse engineering of flying saucers, Barnes offers some insight: "We did reverse engineer a lot of foreign technology, including the Soviet MiG fighter jet out at the Area"--even though the MiG wasn't shaped like a flying saucer. As for the underground-tunnel talk, that, too, was born of truth. Barnes worked on a nuclear-rocket program called Project NERVA, inside underground chambers at Jackass Flats, in Area 51's backyard. "Three test-cell facilities were connected by railroad, but everything else was underground," he says.

Photo: James Dale

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  1. MetaFilter has a decent discussion going about this link already. Wikipedia already offers more info about this stuff than the article, except for personal names, personal accounts and a few specifics on missions and a failure.

    Plus as is mentioned on Wikipedia this author is the same person who made a huge deal out of nothing when some people from the Middle East boarder a flight she was also on.


  2. *That is not to say great discussions can’t be had on multiple websites.

    **[Notation of all my grammatical errors]

  3. Do you honestly think that ANYONE hiding something would tell you if you asked?

    Anyway ,I knew a girl who’s father worked at the real site -she said was called Area 1 , and 51 was a red herring to gather all the conspiracy theorists attention. Apparently he couldn’t tell her anything about it , but after he saw what was going on in there, he went from a staunch conservative war monger to quitting his job out of detest and living in a beach house and loving life and simpler things. At least this was what she said.

  4. You know the old maxim “set a thousand guards in the throne room and keep the king in the tower”?

  5. @strider

    woah it’s like going out of town for the weekend and running into my uncle. you’re everywhere, man!

    anyways this is really just scraps from the table – oooh they declassified something everyone already knew about. when do we get the meat? we’re paying for all this stuff, after all. i understand the need for military secrecy, but i also find it disturbing the growing proportion of government that doesn’t answer to the people as a matter of routine, a fact of life.

  6. So what is the new information?

    I have a “Skunk Works” book from 1995 that has an entire chapter on OXCART and the A-12. It has pictures, schematics, all sorts of stuff.

    So even though all the evidence exists, is the “news” that the gov’t finally making it official?

  7. I will be posting a great deal about OXCART.
    They will no longer shut me up.


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