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Tonopah Test Range Airport is located near the center of the Tonopah Test Range, 27 NM southeast of Tonopah, Nevada and 140 mi northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. It is a major airfield with a 12,000 ft 150 ft runway, instrument approach facilities, and nighttime illumination. The facility boasts over fifty hangars and an extensive support infrastructure. Tonopah is owned by the USAF Air Combat Command. The known primary use of this airport is to shuttle government employees to the weapons test range from McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. The primary access to the facility is off of U.S. Route 6 at the north end of the airport. Dirt road access points also exist on the south and east sides of the range. The site is plainly visible from commercial airliners, which pass 17 NM north of the base on transcontinental flights. The Tonopah range first opened in 1957, supporting operations on the Test Range itself, which was used for United States Atomic Energy Commission, funded weapon programs. It was apparently not a World War II era field, as it is not listed in the 1944 US Army/Navy Directory of Airfields. It was apparently established as an Air Force facility at some point in the late 1950s, as Tonopah Air Force Station was the location of a radar site operated by the 866th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron to provide active surveillance over the area. During the Cold War, one of the missions carried out at Tonopah was the test and evaluation of captured Soviet fighter aircraft. This was not a new mission, as testing of foreign technology by the USAF began during World War II. After the war, testing of acquired foreign technology was performed by the Air Technical Intelligence Center, under the direct command of the Air Materiel Control Department. In 1961 ATIC became the Foreign Technology Division, and was reassigned to Air Force Systems Command. ATIC personnel were sent anywhere where foreign aircraft could be found. In August 1966 an Iraqi Air Force fighter pilot, Captain Munir Redfa, flew his shiny new MiG-21 to Israel after being ordered to attack Iraqi Kurd villages with napalm. This fighter found itself in Nevada within a month. In 1968 the US Air Force and Navy jointly formed a project known as Have Donut in which they flew this 'acquired' Soviet made MiG-21 aircraft in simulated air combat training at a top secret facility in Nevada known as Detachment 3, Air Force Flight Test Center, also known as Groom Lake and Area-51. That facility was the birthplace of the SR-71 as well as other projects that remain to be discussed. May 1982, Tonopah Test Range became the home of the Air Force F-117 fleet. At the time the F-117 project was still highly classified, and Tonopah Test Range became a black project facility. Air Force personnel were shuttled from Las Vegas to TTR on contract Boeing 727 aircraft. The new F-117 fleet was considered for several high-profile military operations during the mid 1980s, but operations remained largely confined to nighttime flights around Nevada and California for a number of years. In November 1988 the Air Force publicly revealed its F-117 activities at Tonopah, and decreased security brought the program into "gray world" status. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



The Bell AH-1 SuperCobra is a twin-engine attack helicopter based on the US Army's AH-1 Cobra. The twin Cobra family includes the AH-1J SeaCobra, the AH-1T Improved SeaCobra, and the AH-1W SuperCobra. The AH-1W is the backbone of the United States Marine Corps's attack helicopter fleet, but will be replaced in service by the AH-1Z Viper upgrade in the next decade. The AH-1 Cobra was developed in the mid-1960s as an interim gunship for the U.S. Army for use in Vietnam. The Cobra shared the proven transmission, rotor system, and the T53 turboshaft engine of the UH-1 "Huey". By June 1967, the first AH-1G HueyCobras had been delivered. Bell built 1,116 AH-1Gs for the U.S. Army between 1967 and 1973, and the Cobras chalked up over a million operational hours in Vietnam. The U.S. Marine Corps was very interested in the AH-1G Cobra, but preferred a twin-engined version for improved safety in over-water operations, and also wanted a more potent turret-mounted weapon. At first, the Department of Defense had balked at providing the Marines with a twin-engined version of the Cobra, in the belief that commonality with Army AH-1Gs outweighed the advantages of a different engine fit. However, the Marines won out and awarded Bell a contract for 49 twin-engined AH-1J SeaCobras in May 1968. As an interim measure, the U.S. Army passed on 38 AH-1Gs to the Marines in 1969. The AH-1J also received a more powerful gun turret. It featured a three barrel 20 mm XM197 cannon that was based on the six barrel M61 Vulcan cannon. Marine Cobras provided support for the US humanitarian intervention in Somalia, during Operation Restore Hope in 1992-1993. They were also employed during the US invasion of Haiti in 1994. USMC Cobras were used in US military interventions in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and assisted in the rescue of USAF Captain Scott O'Grady, after his F-16 was shot down by a SAM in June 1995. AH-1 Cobras continue to operate with the U.S. Marine Corps. USMC Cobras were also used in operations throughout the 1990s. USMC Cobras have also served in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and in Operation Iraqi Freedom in the ongoing conflict in Iraq. While new replacement aircraft were considered as an alternative to major upgrades of the AH-1 fleet, Marine Corps studies showed that an upgrade was the most affordable, most supportable and most effective solution for the Marine Corps light attack helicopter mission. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





North American Aerospace Defense Command is a joint organization of Canada and the United States that provides aerospace warning, air sovereignty, and defense for the two countries. It was founded on May 12, 1958 (the effect of the Cold War) as a joint command between the governments of Canada and the United States, as the North American Air Defense Command. Its main technical facility has been the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center in Colorado, and for this reason NORAD is sometimes referred to as Cheyenne Mountain. In addition, in Canada East and Canada West Sector Air Operations Control Centres are located in the underground complex at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) North Bay in Ontario in Canada. Even though all equipment in Cheyenne Mountain was put through a rigorous inspection, on at least two occasions, failure in its systems could have potentially caused nuclear war. On November 9, 1979, a technician in NORAD loaded a test tape but failed to switch the system status to "test", causing a stream of constant false warnings to spread to two "continuity of government" bunkers as well as command posts worldwide. A similar incident occurred on June 2, 1980, when a computer communications device failure caused warning messages to sporadically flash in U.S. Air Force command posts around the world that a nuclear attack was taking place. At the end of the Cold War NORAD reassessed its mission. To avoid cutbacks, from 1989 NORAD operations expanded to cover counter-drug operations, especially the tracking of small aircraft entering and operating within America and Canada, thereby contradicting General Richard Myers' statement in his testimony to the 9/11 Commission where he said NORAD was directed "looking outward" on 9/11 (although commercial flights were not perceived to be threats). [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



The FN P90 is a selective fire personal defense weapon (PDW) designed and manufactured by FN Herstal in Belgium. The P90's name is taken from 1990, the year it was introduced. The P90 was created in response to NATO requests for a replacement for 919mm Parabellum firearms; it was designed as a compact but powerful firearm for vehicle crews, operators of crew-served weapons, support personnel, special forces and counter-terrorist groups. The P90 was designed by FN in conjunction with the FN Five-seven pistol and FN 5.728mm ammunition. Development of the P90 began in 1986, and production commenced in 1990, whereupon the 5.728mm ammunition was redesigned and shortened. A modified version of the P90 with a magazine adapted to use the new ammunition was introduced in 1993, and the Five-seven pistol was subsequently introduced as a companion weapon using the same 5.728mm ammunition. The P90 was developed and initially marketed as a personal defense weapon, but it could also be considered a submachine gun or compact assault rifle. Featuring a compact bullpup design with an integrated reflex sight and fully ambidextrous controls, the P90 is an unconventional weapon with a futuristic appearance. Its design incorporates several innovations such as a unique top-mounted magazine and FN's small-caliber, high-velocity 5.728mm ammunition. The P90 is currently in service with military and police forces in over 40 nations, such as Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, India, Malaysia, Poland, and the United States. In the United States, the P90 is in use with over 200 law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service. The standard selective fire P90 is restricted to military and law enforcement customers, but since 2005, a semi-automatic carbine version has been offered to civilian shooters as the PS90. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]







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