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CIA finally confirms what Area 51 is actually used for
Featured Image Credit: mrdoomits/DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d / Contributor

CIA finally confirms what Area 51 is actually used for

The CIA confirmed that the site is indeed a hub for activity, just not the extra-terrestrial activity it is associated with

The CIA has confirmed what Area 51 is actually used for.

It's a site which has captured people's imaginations for decades, and continues to do so.

You have to admit, there is something compelling about the secretive and mysterious location, and it has been at the centre of folklore around UFOs and aliens for decades.

The ability of Area 51 to captivate people seemingly hadn't waned, even after it became the centre of the social media event 'They Can't Stop All of Us'.

Despite being intended as a s**tpost, the call to 'Storm Area 51' gained traction, and some people even showed up at Area 51, though none managed to actually get inside.

So what is the site actually used for?

An aerial view of Area 51.
DigitalGlobe via Getty Images via Getty Images

Well, it's a US Air Force test facility. Way back when the site was first acquired by the USAF in the 1950s, this included testing for the U-2 spy plane.

This is a high altitude reconnoissance plane, which can operate above 70,000ft, in the stratosphere.

Given that Area 51 is a highly secretive air force base, it's perhaps no surprise that it has become a hotspot for sightings of unidentified flying objects.

In fact, documents released following a Freedom of Information Act request in 2013 even mentioned the U-2 specifically.

The documents said: “High-altitude testing of the U-2 soon led to an unexpected side effect – a tremendous increase in reports of unidentified flying objects (UFOs).”

They added: “U-2 and later Oxcart flights accounted for more than one-half of all UFO reports during the late 1950s and most of the 1960s."

The U-2 became central to US intelligence gathering during the Cold War. It was used to observe the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba.

It's probably not the best idea to try and break into Area 51.
Barry King/WireImage

The plane played a pivotal role during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Soviet Union stationed nuclear missiles on Cuba.

In fact, the only US fatality during the standoff was that of U-2 pilot Rudolf Anderson.

The configuration of the wings, designed for high altitude flight, also means that the plane effectively has to be stalled to order to land.

But speculation about space men is not without some loose basis in reality.

The aircraft operated at such high altitudes that pilots had to wear specially designed spacesuits to survive the difference in the atmosphere.

So there you have it, the site was used to test experimental aircraft during the Cold War, when the highest level of secrecy was a necessity.

Of course, that doesn't mean it couldn't *also* be used to house aliens. Just saying.

Topics: News, US News