In years past, the name “Area 51” has elicited images of little green men, flying saucers, and government cover ups.  Of course, among those in the know, the secret military facility in the dry lake bed that was formerly Groom Lake has conjured up slightly different imagery: that of the exotic and advanced military aircraft tested there throughout the decades.  Planes like the Lockheed U-2 spy plane and Project Oxcart which would go on to become the SR-71 Blackbird, America’s spy plane that still holds the record as the fastest military aircraft on the planet, despite being retired before the dawn of the new millennium.

Now, it appears the base may be undergoing a revamp, with equipment seen shuttling into the area and satellite images confirming new structures on the grounds of the facility the U.S. government once denied even existed.  This rash of activity amid the secluded Nevada desert has left some begging the question… what must Uncle Sam have planned for the air base that saw the initial test flights of America’s stealth programs?

According to some, the answer is clear; as America’s heavy bombers near the end of their service lives, their planned replacement, the B-21 Raider, needs an airstrip to call its own.