(Image: Bing Maps; Umm Al Melh Border Guards Airport)
There are few things more controversial in the modern military than the use of drones to carry out precision attacks. And according to Wired.com, the Umm Al Melh Border Guards Airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia could have a purpose very different to its official role of patrolling the Yemeni border.
(Image: Bing Maps)
The report – drawn from The New York Times and The Washington Post – shows imagery of a remote airfield surrounded by nothing but miles of burning desert. The photos, which can be found on online satellite maps, were kept out of public news reports for some time. Now, though, it’s been publicly noted that three hangars at Umm Al Melh Border Guards Airport bear a striking resemblance to known drone bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Analysts also pointed out what they claimed to be telltale indicators that there’s more to the mysterious airfield than meets the eye. The rumoured top secret drone base blends in extraordinarily well with its surroundings, a desolate patch of the Middle East referred to simply as “Hell”.
(Image: Bing Maps)
The difficult terrain means that a major construction effort must have been undertaken to build Umm Al Melh Border Guards Airport, which was established sometime between November 17, 2010 and March 22, 2012.
No-one is officially confirming or denying anything, of course, leaving the rest of the world to wonder if one of the America’s most clandestine military operations was accidentally revealed to the world via the internet.
(Image: Google Earth)
When the imagery from Bing Maps was revealed, the remote facility was still under construction and didn’t even register in Google’s catalogue of satellite photos, according to Wired. But Google Earth now shows a finished base. Its three hangars, each large enough to house Predator or Reaper drones, have been joined by a fourth, smaller one. The site appears to be highly secure, separated from the rest of the airfield by a fence as well as a wall…
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