|LONDON SUNDAY TELEGRAPH - JUL. 26, 1992.
Secret US spy plane is
Kintyre's dark visitor
by Christy Campbell
A MYSTERIOUS, fast-moving shape in
the sky has been scaring sheep in the Mull of Kintyre and rattling windows
in Los Angeles. From both sides of the globe have come reports of sudden
"pulsating roars ", and strange smoke rings in the sky.
Defence analysts are convinced they are caused by the
US Air Force's top-secret Project Aurora-a spyplane as big as Concorde
that can fly three times as fast.
The US Air Force is using the remote RAF airbase at Machrihanish,
Strathclyde, as a staging point, it was claimed last week The mystery aircraft
lies been stealthily dropping in at night before streaking back to America
across the North Pole at more than six times the
speed of sound.
Flying on the edge of space, powered by a "pulser"
engine, the aircraft is being tested in missions--that circle the globe.
Guy Norris of Flight Magazine, who is based In
Los Angeles, said last night that Aurora was being flown from a base in
the Nevada desert to an atoll in the Pacific, then on to Scotland to refuel
before returning to the US at night.
Specially modified tanker aircraft flying from Britain
are being used to top up Aurora's tanks with liquid methane fuel in mid-air.
The aircraft carries high-powered cameras and infrared
radar which can see down through cloud cover. Its flightpath covers targets
in Iraq. An F-111 fighterbomber is scrambled as the black-painted aircraft
lands, flying in close formation to confuse prying civilian radars, according
to reports from US airmen.
Paul Wiggins, Editor of Scottish Airnews, describes
Machrihanish - as 'the Remotest military airfield in Britain' --
with a very long runway." It is guarded by a detachment of US "Seals,"
the equivalent of Britain's Special Boat Squadron.
"It would be ideal for operating a secret high-perform
mance aircraft," he says.
People living nearby reported strange 'ear-splitting'
noises and mysterious smoke rings in the sky earlier this year. As rumours
grew of secret developments at the base, Archie Hamilton, the Defence Minister,
told Parliament last month that the existence of, and any operations by
Aurora were a "matter for the American authorities". A US Air
Force spokesman yesterday refused to confirm or deny its existence.
But last week independent evidence came from Washington
that the Pentagon is spending billions from its "black budget"
on a clandestine successor to the SR-71 Blackbird spyplane, retired two
Kemper Securities, the a financial analysts, said up to
$8 billion has already been spent on the project at
Lockheed's "Skunk Works" in California where the F-117A
stealth fighter was developed.
"Something has been booming Los Angeles regularly
for the last six months," said Bill Sweetman, a US based aerospace
writer. "The frequency of the sonic booms indicates that whatever
is making them is now an operational aircraft."
THE ARTIST'S IMPRESSION IS A CLEAR-CUT BURNELLI CONFIGURATION
ALTHOUGH IT IS REFERRED TO AS A "BLENDED WING BODY". THE PENTAGON
USES THIS TERMINOLOGY, BECAUSE THE "LIFTING BODY" TERMINOLOGY IS PROPRIETARY TO BURNELLI.