CASE#4 ‘Pro­ject Have Dough­nut’

World of Knowledge (Australia) - - World Events -

"If you know the en­emy and know your­self, you need not fear the re­sult of a hun­dred bat­tles.” The words of an­cient Chi­nese mil­i­tary strate­gist Sun Tzu would res­onate with any­one em­ployed at Area 51 in the late-1960s. It was then that the US mil­i­tary man­aged to get its hands on one of its foes most prized pos­ses­sions; a MIG fighter plane. And in an ironic twist con­sid­er­ing the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal cli­mate, they owe one of their great­est coups to an Iraqi.

En­ter Iraqi Air Force pi­lot Cap­tain Mu­nir Redfa, whose con­science gets the bet­ter of him mo­ments be­fore a bomb­ing mis­sion on a se­ries Iraqi Kurd vil­lages. In­stead of pep­per­ing in­no­cent cit­i­zens with deadly na­palm, as or­dered, Redfa re-routes his plane to Is­rael – who then se­cretly ship it to their US al­lies for in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

It’s the ul­ti­mate catch for the US; for al­most a decade they’ve been los­ing the aerial war in Vietnam. For ev­ery MIG the US shoot down, they’re sac­ri­fic­ing nine F-4 fight­ers. They quickly be­gin test­ing the plane un­der the pro­ject co­de­name Have Dough­nut. “We pretty well tore it down and looked at ev­ery­thing,” says for­mer Area 51 radar spe­cial­ist Thorn­ton TD Barnes. “The ra­dios, the hy­draulics, the en­gines… ev­ery­thing about this plane, we ex­am­ined it.”

But the re­sults ex­pose a shock­ing truth about those Vietnam War aerial de­feats. “We re­alised that it wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily the planes,” adds Barnes. “It was that our peo­ple didn’t know how to fight.”

Thus from this mo­ment on­wards, Area 51 be­comes a se­cret test­ing ground for train­ing US pi­lots how to de­feat Soviet Migs in a dog­fight. And the base it­self grows in size with five more hang­ers con­structed at the south end of the Groom Lake site. The area above the range is per­ma­nently made re­stricted airspace.

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