Factchecking the latest hype-cloud surrounding Area 51

On Defensetech, David Axe writes,

In the October Popular Science, veteran aviation journo Bill Sweetman writes about secret airplanes he believes might be under development at the Air Force's remote Groom Lake test facility in Nevada, a.k.a. Area 51. Sweetman describes three demonstrators unveiled in recent years — the Northrop Grumman Tacit Blue and Boeing Bird of Prey manned stealth planes and the Lockheed Martin Polecat drone — but insists these are just consolation prizes offered up by a military that is keeping its major black airplane programs under wraps.

Not that he has a ton of proof. "Hint[s]" and guesswork, mostly. The new construction at Groom Lake must mean something, he figures. And then there are those "obvious… significant gaps in the military's known aviation arsenal — gaps that the Pentagon can reasonably be assumed to be actively, if quietly, trying to fill."

It's a strange series of calculations to make. The perceived holes — high-speed, penetrating reconnaissance and long-range, stealthy strike — are fairly well plugged up, at least until 2020. And the proposed gap-fillers are some of aviation history's more discredited flops and boogeymen.

Link (thanks Noah Shachtman!)