“Secret” Military Bases Hiding In Plain Sight

 
BMEWS solid-state phased-array radar at RAF Fylindales By Spliced CC BY-SA 3.0
BMEWS solid-state phased-array radar at RAF Fylindales By Spliced CC BY-SA 3.0
 
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You won’t find any of these locations on a tourist map, but all of them are real, important, and maybe just a little bit scary to the general public.

The idea of a place being “secret” when it’s gargantuan isn’t as contradictory as it sounds. A little misdirection with P.R., a harmless, non specific sounding name, “keep out” signs, and a government official who tells the public ‘it’s really just a storage facility’ is all it takes.

If its buildings are steel or concrete, grey and foreboding, so much the better. Those are the ingredients that all these places, to one extent or another, employ to make them secret sites, and the only time someone is welcome who isn’t within the government is when that someone has done something very wrong.

Warning sign near secret Area 51 base in Nevada. By X51 CC BY-SA 3.0
Warning sign near secret Area 51 base in Nevada. By X51 CC BY-SA 3.0

Nuclear weapons are part of every nation’s arsenal these days, well, almost every nation’s. China, of course, has plenty, and it has a lot of them stored on the coast of Hainan Island. They were caught on satellite in 2008. Caverns hold as many as 20 nuclear subs and ballistic missiles line the harbor.

Furthermore, rumor has it that the stock includes aircraft carriers, intercontinental ballistic missiles, amphibious assault ships, and more. Not the kind of place one wants to find oneself accidentally while out fishing or sightseeing.

Chinese Navy guided-missile destroyer Xian
Chinese Navy guided-missile destroyer Xian

Australia is the proud owner of so called ECHELON technology, which is supposedly the world’s foremost eavesdropping device. At a secret base near Alice Springs smack dab in the middle of the country, operatives work feverishly to upgrade this technology that mythology says can listen in on other nation’s secrets at great distances.

In England, a supposed “military science park”, which sounds innocuous enough, is actually a cover for what’s really going on at MoD Boscombe Down Airfield. A defense contractor, QinetiQ, is headquartered there. About 7,000 acres are surrounded by ominous “Danger Area” signs. The country’s Defense, Science & Technology Laboratory is apparently doing Lord only knows what kinds of experiments in biology, radiology, and nuclear warfare.

A Eurofighter Typhoon at MOD Boscome Down. By Rodw CC BY-SA 4.0
A Eurofighter Typhoon at MOD Boscome Down. By Rodw CC BY-SA 4.0

Over in Russia, Kapustin Yar is considered the most secret of these sites, even a nearby town, Zhitkur, was leveled, so the story goes, to prevent curious folks from peeking at what lies beyond the fences and “No Access” signs. Originally built to help the Russians have space at which they could work to beat the Americans into space, Kapustin Yar now, supposedly devotes its time and personnel to monitor the skies for UFOs.

And last but not least is Area 51 in America, a country that has several secret sites, but Area 51 is probably the most famous or infamous. Some myths persist about this site in Nevada, one being that the U.S. is holding a captured alien craft there. Other conspiracy nuts insist that these are the grounds on which the government faked the moon landing.

Area 51 seen from Tikaboo Peak.
Area 51 seen from Tikaboo Peak.

But those notions are simply proof of people’s imaginations in overdrive. Area 51 is indeed a military base, but there isn’t an alien craft anywhere in sight, nor are there any vestiges of a staged moon landing. The government would like Area 51 called Groom Lake or even Homey Airport, isn’t that innocent sounding? People though will always associate it with more nefarious occurrences.

What’s there is intimidating enough, even without the UFOs. Cameras are everywhere, and they watch everyone and everything, 24/7. There are warning signs, reading “Stop. Keep Out.”

Anyone foolish enough to stray past its gates and onto the property, even unknowingly, would likely be in for a firm grilling by oh so serious officials who seize cell phones and computers and cameras before becoming convinced it was an innocent, mistaken trespass and letting the individual go. After which, no doubt, that tourist would stick to the main roads and tourist maps.

A guard tower equipped with a camera at area 51. By Jimderkaisser CC BY-SA 3.0
A guard tower equipped with a camera at area 51. By Jimderkaisser CC BY-SA 3.0

Read another story from us: Secrets of D-Day – Restoring the Neptune Monograph

There are plenty of wonderful sights to see in all these countries, so it’s best to steer clear of any location marked “top secret,” or even “private property.” After all, why be nosy when the government puts up signs saying “keep out?” Governments aren’t exactly famous for their sense of humor either, so saying “I was just curious,” is likely not to cut it.

 
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