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Secret U.S. drone base located deep in Saudi Arabia desert

Using Bing Maps, a remote airstrip deep in the desert of Saudi Arabia has been discovered and given the design elements present, is almost certainly a secret United States drone base.  The images show a trio of “clamshell”-style hangars, surrounded by fencing. Each is more than 150 feet long and approximately 75 feet wide; that’s sufficient to hold U.S. Predator and Reaper drones. The hangars are slightly larger, though similar in shape, to ones housing unmanned planes at Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan.  According to Wired Magazine:

“The image of the airfield, available in Bing Maps, would be almost impossible to discover randomly. At moderate resolutions, satellite images of the area show nothing but sand dunes. Only on close inspection does the base reveal itself. In Google’s catalog of satellite pictures, the base doesn’t appear at all.”

According to accounts from the Washington Post and The New York Times, the U.S. built its secret Saudi base approximately two years ago.  One former officer noted:

“It’s way, way out in the Rub al Khali, otherwise known as Hell, and must have been built, at least initially, with stuff flown into Sharorah and then trucked more than 400 kilometers up the existing highway and newly-built road. It’s a really major logistics feat. The way it fits inconspicuously into the terrain is also admirable.”

 

Sources: Bing Maps, NBC News, Washington Post, New York Times
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