It was a windswept night on September 26th 1994 when something strange occurred at Boscombe Down in Wiltshire. Aviation enthusiasts using scanners soon realised something had happened.|
Boscombe Down is owned by the MOD (ministry of Defence) and operated by DERA (Defence Evaluation and Research Agency) and it has been called the UK's Area 51. Boscombe Down has hosted an International Air Tattoo in 1990 and a Air Tournament International in 1992 but that was before DERA took over the base. It is notable that although Boscombe Down is an ideal venue for the Royal International Air Tattoo in 2000, while RAF Fairford is having its runways upgraded, it has been announced that it definitely will not be taking place there, by a DERA spokesman.
On that particular night in 1994, an unusual aircraft began its take-off from runway 23. Something went wrong and the two American aircrew aborted their departure immediately. Military controllers at London Air Traffic Control Centre were alerted to the fact that a serious accident had occurred at Boscombe Down and that the runway was blocked. Later that night a witness saw a stranded aircraft at the east end of runway 23. A Tarpaulin covered the forward section and it appeared to have a collapsed nose wheel. There were a number of emergency vehicles around the aircraft. Most notable about the aircraft was the inward canting twin fins.
Early the next day an Army Air Corps Augusta A109 arrived from Bournmouth-Hurn. These particular helicopters are exclusively operated by the SAS (Special Air Service) which has a base at Poole, near Hurn. The SAS may have been used to seal off the area. An RAF Chinook also arrived that day possibly having something to do with keeping the area secure.
Later on, the aircraft was towed into a nearby Hangar and the doors hastily shut. However a witness got a glimpse and saw that a tarpaulin was covering the centre section while the front and rear of the aircraft were visible. The rear of the aircraft had inward canting twin fins and chines extended rearwards from the nose. The canopy was open and unusually it was hinged at the front. It was the size of a large fighter and was charcoal grey in colour. It is believed that the aircraft was normally housed in a hangar at this base.
A C-5 Galaxy arrived after having been diverted from Ramstein. Was this to disguise the fact that it intended to fly to Boscombe Down? The mystery aircraft was loaded onto the C-5 Galaxy and flown out. A Gulfstream IV had also arrived and it is thought that it may have had a connection with the CIA. An unmarked Boeing 737/T-43 was also present and this was probably operated by EG&G Special Projects based at Las Vegas which is used exclusively as crew/technician support for black projects.
So does this mean that a top secret spy-plane is housed in a hangar at Boscombe Down? Could this possible be the Hypersonic Aurora Spy-plane? Does this mean that Aurora not only exists but is operational? The Boscombe Down incident aircraft is designated ASTRA (Advanced Stealth Technology Reconnaissance Aircraft) and was referred to as AV-6 (Air Vehicle Six). It was allocated USAF serial 90-2414 and uses frequencies in the 500-510Mhz range, which is outside the tuning range of standard UHF scanners. It was operating with the callsign 'Blackbuck 11'.