Various new PLA aircraft are being tested at the secret base in Inner Mongolia, according to a satellite image captured by Google Maps. (Internet photo)
After the Central Intelligence Agency acknowledged the existence of Area 51 as a testing site for U-2 spy planes, a secret Chinese missile range in the Badan Jilin Desert in Inner Mongolia has become the world's next great site of unexplained mystery, according to Duowei News, a media outlet operated by overseas Chinese.
Photo of this secret military site were first revealed by the official news agency Xinhua on Aug. 19 in a report which said the site is never featured on any official maps approved by the government and its purpose had never previously been mentioned in any media report. This secret military facility was established in 2003 for the People's Liberation Army to test its ballistic missiles and fighters, Xinhua said.
Photos published by Xinhua showed the words "those who steal secrets will be caught and executed" outside the entrance of the facility. The history of the base goes back to 1958, when it was originally designed as two shooting ranges, one for ballistic missiles and the other for aircraft. After the integration of the sites in 2003, China's first indigenous fourth-generation fighter completed its last air-to-air missile tests over the Badan Jilin Desert on Dec. 25 of that year.
Various Chinese aircraft and aviation equipment have been tested at the site before entering production. Air combat exercises similar to the Red Flag exercise held at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska can also be conducted at the Badan Jilin range, according to Xinhua.