Area 51

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Area 51 is a military base, and a remote detachment of Edwards Air Force Base. It is located in the southern portion of Nevada in the western United States, 83 miles (133 km) north-northwest of downtown Las Vegas. Situated at its center, on the southern shore of Groom Lake, is a large secretive military airfield. The base's primary purpose is to support development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.[1][2]

The base lies within the United States Air Force's vast Nevada Test and Training Range. Although the facilities at the range are managed by the 99th Air Base Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, the Groom facility appears to be run as an adjunct of the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert, around 186 miles (300 km) southwest of Groom, and as such the base is known as Air Force Flight Test Center (Detachment 3).[3][4]

Though the name Area 51 is used in official CIA documentation,[5] other names used for the facility include Dreamland, Paradise Ranch,[6][7] Home Base, Watertown Strip, Groom Lake,[8] and most recently Homey Airport.[9] The area is part of the Nellis Military Operations Area, and the restricted airspace around the field is referred to as (R-4808N),[10] known by the military pilots in the area as "The Box" or "the Container".[11]

The intense secrecy surrounding the base, the very existence of which the U.S. government barely acknowledges, has made it the frequent subject of conspiracy theories and a central component to unidentified flying object (UFO) folklore.[7][12]

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