Tin foil at the ready, conspiracists – Area 51 is expanding! Wired’s Danger Room blog reckons it’s probably to do with R&D being done on new aircraft designs that could be copied if easily seen. But of course, that’s what they would say, having long ago been subsumed by the Conde-Nast alien hegemony. Or something.
Still, if it’s a US military design, they’re unlikely to share even when it’s finished. The Japanese defense agency is rather miffed at being refused the opportunity to buy a few F22 stealth fighters, despite being BFF with the Pentagon, but apparently that export ban applies to everyone. So we can assume that F22s aren’t included with the forthcoming Saudi Arabian transaction.
New shapes for aircraft seem to be the order of the day; Boeing have just successfully tested what they call a “blended wing body” aircraft prototype that moves away from the tube-with-extras format we’re used to seeing in passenger planes. The idea is that the resulting design will be stronger, more fuel-efficient and able to carry more cargo. Added bonus – it looks a bit more cool.