Area 52: Nevada’s other secret base

Weird News

The story in the video above and the second part below was originally aired in November 2007 on KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, NV. The interview with Joerg Arnu that you can watch further down on this page took place outside of the JANET aircraft parking lot in Las Vegas on October 10, 2007.


MYSTERY WIRE — The world’s best known “secret” base – Area 51 – has been immortalized in books, movies, and TV news reports for its role developing spectacular military technology. What’s not as well known is that Area 51 has a sister facility – Area 52 – which is home to its own dark secrets.

Over the decades, the sprawling facility in the Nevada desert has been bombed, blasted, poisoned, and nuked for the benefit of national security programs and secret technology.

People who live near the base in and around Tonopah have been seeing secret planes fly over their heads for decades, but they tend to keep the sightings to themselves.

Nearby Area 52 in the town of Tonopah, residents like Jose Ramirez would see dozens of contrails from the base every day, most likely the transport planes carrying employees from a private terminal in Las Vegas. These flights are now known as the JANET flights.

In a 2007 interview Ramirez said, “When I first got here, they were talking about they were working on an airplane that would go up into space and come back down and land for NASA.”

Ramirez said he also had a couple family members employed at Area 52, and he knows to not ask them about what they do out there.

Unlike the better-known Area 51 facility, Area 52 does appear on maps. It is usually listed as the Tonopah Test Range, or TTR, but military watchdogs say it also goes by its other name, “TTR is really referred to in official documents as Area 52,” according to Rachel, NV resident and operator of dreamlandresort.com Joerg Arnu. “On several occasions, actual black projects moved from Area 51 to Tonopah Test Range, Area 51 of course being a super-secret facility. Tonopah Test Range being slightly less secret.”

Area 52 had a symbiotic relationship with the more famous Area 51. Projects that start at 51 often become operational at 52, and yes, secrets can – and have – been kept.

“There’s always something, you know, going on there. Some secret project going on there,” Arnu said.

Both Area 51 and 52 played major roles in the testing of the F-117 stealth fighter. The fighters were retired to storage at TTR, but have recently been seen flying above Rachel, NV heading toward Area 51.

Pilot Gabe Zeifman in front of his Cessna 150, the same plane he flew next to Area 52 and Area 51. (Photo: Gabe Zeifman)

In late 2019 and again in 2020, private pilot Gabe Zeifman legally flew his private plane near the secretive base. Private pilots need to get clearance to fly through the restricted airspace from the Air Force. This is exactly what Zeifman did that allowed him to get some clear pictures of not only Area 52 but also Area 51.

Click images to see full size.


RELATED LINKS (open in new window or tab)
Annotated 2019 TTR Panorama
dreamlandresort.com
LazyGRanch.com page about TTR


George Knapp
How did you get started?

Joerg Arnu
I first got interested in researching secret facilities and the black world in 1999 when I visited Area 51. And I saw the security surrounding Area 51. And I realized what little solid information there was about Area 51. I just started digging and I started my website, dreamlandresort.com where I’m putting information about Area 51 or black projects to share that information with other people that are interested in this.

George Knapp
And there’s a tremendous network of people interested in this stuff, right?

Joerg Arnu
It is. What I really didn’t realize until I started my website is how many people are just sitting there in the woodworks and waiting for a focus point to come together and focus their efforts and focus their research. And I was lucky enough that dreamlandresort became sort of a focus point for these guys.

George Knapp
Describe what’s on the website.

Joerg Arnu
The website has a lot of information about Area 51, about Tonopah Test Range, about black projects, about the exercises that take place at Nellis, Red Flag exercises. And we have a message board on the website where people can come and exchange their opinions exchange whatever they figured out or what they think they figured out. And when they ask questions about Area 51. And we have a discussion, we have a chat room where they can chat with other interested people. So we give them a way of communicating with others that share the same interest.

George Knapp
We got a lot of guys who go out there, look around, take photos from public vantage points, not doing anything illegal, and then show the rest of the world what it looks like.

Joerg Arnu
Yeah, we have this loosely knit network of people that go out there and send us the information and photos and we’ll put it up on the website to share it with everybody else is looking for information.

George Knapp
Of course there are risks, you were friends with Chuck Clark, you know what happened, you were in communication with him back then, that stuff was going on with sensors out there. Any risk as to what you’re doing?

Joerg Arnu
Actually, I was not only communicating with Chuck at the time, but I was part of, Chuck and I went out there together some days and discovered the road sensors. For the most part I’m trying to play by the rules. I don’t violate the border. I’ve never actually trespassed on Air Force property or into a TDR or Area 51. Every once in a while you get some of the camos (security) that get agitated about what we’re doing. I had a couple of run ins where they were really trying to play it up with me and intimidate me from going any further. One of these occasions. I was going I was hiking north of the restricted area around Whitesides, one of the former view spots of Area 51 and they kept an eye on me for a while and when I kept going about my business, eventually they just came basically driving the off road way across the desert towards me and stopped right in front of me and tried to discourage me from going any further.

George Knapp
Worldwide interest though, you get people who are logging onto your site from all over the world.

Joerg Arnu
Yes, we have people from all over the world, there’s a lot of interest in black projects from Great Britain, in Europe, in Asia. I mean, people want to be able to check out the website and share the information and come with questions. Talk to our regulars.

George Knapp
Let’s talk about talking about Tonopah. Have you ever heard about TTR referred to as Area 52?

Joerg Arnu
Yes, TTR is really referred to in official documents as Area 52. That all goes back to the the history of the Nevada Test Site when they were doing atomic tests in the 1950s on the Nevada Test Site, and the whole test side was divided in areas. And it just so happened that the area around Groom Lake and part of Papoose Lake was labeled as Area 51 for the purposes of dividing this area, manageable areas, and the area up near Tonopah was labeled as Area 52.

George Knapp
I think most people don’t realize that Area 51 has a sister, Area 52.

Joerg Arnu
Right? There is, Area 52. And it is actually on public documents that are readily available on the worldwide web.

George Knapp
And there is an affiliation? Can you describe it? I mean, you know, sometimes things go from 51 to 52, right? Black projects.

Joerg Arnu
Correct. On several occasions, actually, black projects moved from Area 51 to Tonopah. Test Range. Area 51, of course, being a super secret facility. Tonopah Test Range being slightly less secret, of course, still a secret facility, but not the super secret facility. One such occasion was in the 1970s, there was a lot of research being done at Area 51 on Russian fighter jets. They got the hands on these fighter jets. We don’t want to talk about how they got them. And they were just playing with them. They were trying to figure out what can they do and what can’t they do? How can we beat them. And this project also moved on to Tonopah Test Range in later stage, when there was actually pilots being trained at Tonopah Test Range to fly those Russian Mig jets. Mig-25, Mig-29, SU-27 for both tactical evaluation of those aircraft, and also to participate in the red flag excercises. And then the next big project that moved from Area 51, to Tonopah Test Range was the F-117 stealth fighter that was initially developed at Area 51 in total secrecy. And then it moved to Tonopah Test Range for tactical evaluation. Once it was flyable. Once it was pretty much a developed fighter jet, they moved it to Tonopah Test Range to figure out how to best fly and how to best use it. What can it do?

George Knapp
And then of course, it went public. You know, you had people like yourself, Jim Goodall, John Lear, people like that. You knew it was flying around up there, people would see it for years and wouldn’t talk about it.

Joerg Arnu
It was an open secret in Tonopah. And, of course Tonopah is such a small town, that a lot of the locals depend on the business and Tonopah Test Range. So it was an open secret, but nobody would really talk about it in order to not jeopardize their source of income. And, of course, every once in why people would see them fly at night, and they will report those flying triangles. And a lot of those were attributed to UFO sightings.

George Knapp
You have any idea was flying around up there now? Are there any kind of aircraft type programs?

Joerg Arnu
Yes, there’s several different things going on in TTR. At the moment, one of the things that are going on there that have been going on for a while is that they have these huge radar ranges all around Tonopah Test Range, what they’re doing, when they’re basically testing aircraft against different radar sites, a lot of them Russian in origin. What they’re basically trying to figure out, how can the Russians pick up our stealth fighters, and what can we do about it? How can we improve the design? So a lot of it has to do with the electronic combat ranges around Tonopah Test Range. Another big thing at Tonopah Test Range right now (2007) is, and I’m fairly certain about this, they have various types of UAVs that they are evaluating from a tactical standpoint. They try to figure out how to best use them. Okay, we have these UAVs now, they’re really cool to fly and what can we do with them? How do we best use them? Because this is totally new technology. And we need to come up with whole new ways of using them.

George Knapp
I’d seen a reference to some sort of special Predator drone.

Joerg Arnu
Correct, there’s a whole squadron out there evaluating the Predator. Which, of course, is housed at Indian Springs very close by. Also doing performance tests. How can we improve it? One of the things that came out of it was the Reaper, the big brother of the Predator. Which is very similar design, but much, much bigger, and it can carry a lot more payload.

George Knapp
So they’re doing some stuff, hey, let’s figure out some secret stuff for Predator to do. We’ll figure out if it works out there before we show it at Indian Springs.

Joerg Arnu
Right. I mean, we have these UAVs. They’re really cool. We don’t lose any pilots if that thing goes down. We don’t have to worry about a lot of things. We don’t have to worry about life support, they are much more compact in design. Now let’s figure out how we can best use them and what we can use them for, in addition to just reconnaissance missions.

George Knapp
So radar, UAVs, what else? Anything else come to mind that’s going on out there?

Joerg Arnu
Really the two big things. Another thing is that recently, the f-117 stealth fighters have been retired. And a lot of them are being put in storage at Tonopah Test Range in the same hangers, incidentally, that they were put in when they were first flight tested. There’s all these rows and rows of double hangars along the flight line that were used, they are in a very secure separate facility of the whole base. And they were used for the F-117 stealth fighters during the 1980s. And that’s actually where they end up again, now to be put in storage. If you’re there and you’re lucky in the hangar doors open, you can see one.

George Knapp
You know it’s confusing. As is the case with Area 51 for a long time you can figure out… is it Air Force, is it CIA, is a DOE and all of them have been interested in this thing. Explain who has control over TTR.

Joerg Arnu
Yeah, unlike Area 51, which is managed by the US Air Force, TTR is really managed by a private contractor, by Sandia National Laboratories, a private contractor firm. Which contracts out its services to various branches of the military and also to the Department of Energy.

George Knapp
You’ve seen over the years that Sandia has done a lot of work on behalf of DOE at Tonopah on nuclear weapons type things, triggers and that sort of thing, right?

Joerg Arnu
That’s what they do. That’s what Sandia is really big in in the business of doing the non nuclear parts of a nuke basically. And this is a great area where they can test these parts, because they have not only the Tonopah Test Range, but then they have the whole Nevada Test Site in the south of it, where they can blow stuff up and nobody even cares.

George Knapp
So it’s almost interchangeable. They can use Nellis Range, I guess all these guys work together on all this stuff.

Joerg Arnu
Absolutely. They totally work together. It’s not necessarily that the one hand knows what the other does. There’s compartmentalization going on, of course, but they help each other out as much as they can. And so yes, absolutely. They share their facilities. And a lot of those facilities inside the Nevada Test Site are really managed by Sandia.

George Knapp
Some people refer to Sandia as separate from TTR? Is there any kind of separation, is there a different facility than what we know as the TTR base and the Sandia base?

Joerg Arnu
To the best of my knowledge, there is no separation. The base that is often referred to as TTR really is only part of the whole range. The range is managed by Sandia. And the base itself is part of TTR range, which to the best of my knowledge is also managed by Sandia.

George Knapp
Have you ever heard any stories about underground facilities out there? You know, you heard those about Area 51 for years and years.

Joerg Arnu
Yeah, I don’t know if any underground facilities at Tononpah Test Range. There are, of course, underground facilities in the Nevada Test Site that they use for testing underground nukes and stuff like that. But as far as I know that it’s not underground facilities and TTR.

George Knapp
Anything else to say about?

Joerg Arnu
Should we go into the S-4 thing at all?

George Knapp
Sure. S-4 of course, is this a famous designation in the lore of Lazar. But there really is an S-4 there?

Joerg Arnu
That’s right. Yeah. There is a Site 4, often abbreviated as S-4, which is part of Tonopah electronics combat range. It’s a it’s basically a site that has a lot of radar ranges and things like that used for electronic combat testing. And I believe that Lazar somehow got wind of the designation site for S-4 and used that for his story. In my opinion, it just doesn’t hold true.

George Knapp
You know, back in those days is that Nellis had confirmed to me that there was more than one S-4 range. They wouldn’t tell me where it was, what was going on there. But not only was the designation real, but there was more than one of them.

Joerg Arnu
Really? Well, the one S-4 at Tonopah is the only S-4 I know of.

George Knapp
I’m just telling you what they told me. They were they were real smug about it as well. What goes on at S-4?

Joerg Arnu
S-4 is part of the electronics combat range, site four.

Interview recorded 10/10/2007

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