22 February 2013. A sends:
Here are some more interesting airstrips to add to your article:
48.336016 (with some trucks refueling
49.997588 (with another temporary strip nearby
Using these as leads Cryptome found another airstrip further north:
10 February 2013
Saudi Arabia Border Guard Airports
Airport guides list 33-36
airports in Saudi Arabia. Beyond these are several dozen airports servicing
oil field, agricultural and industrial complexes, smaller towns and for border
guarding. This shows many of them with focus on the border guard airports
in relation to a recent Wired report on a possible CIA drone base.
construction at Umm Al Melh, is larger than most border guard airports.
Large drones, guided-weapons capable, require runways of about 7,000 feet,
with secure hangars and support structures for arms storage, handling and
preparation, armorers and maintenance personnel, as well as housing, feeding,
health and welfare. Thus they are usually accommodated on or near military
bases. However, CIA may also hide their drone operations in civilian or
governmental facilities. Both military and CIA drones employ civilian contractors
to supply personnel and operational support, and for construction and maintenance
of air bases.
Comparison of several Saudi Arabia and Yemen border guard airports with the
base identified by Wired as a possible CIA drone base shows that the
Wired base is markedly more complex with dual runways -- the main one longer
-- with hangars and extensive support structures lacking in the existing
This suggests that the Saudis may have named the Wired base as a border
guard base to camouflage Saudi participation in the drone program with drone
launch capabilities inserted into border guard functions.
However, with the US-assisted global spread of drone use, the Saudis may
well have added drone capabilities to its border defense in response to the
rise in Al Qaeda threats from Yemen.
Combining both Saudi and CIA drone functions would be mutually beneficial
as found in other US zones of contest such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran,
Iraq, Mexico, North Korea, China, Libya, Mali, Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, Eritrea,
Somalia, Nigeria and Niger, among others unknown, as well as for international
oceanic, sub-oceanic and indeterminate surveillance and lethal targeting.
Drone launch platforms are likely to increase at airports, air strips, highways,
roads, fields, dry lake beds, prairies, flat mountain tops, ice fields, from
whereever aircraft have traditionally gone aloft. As drones decrease and
increase in size it should be expected that launch sites will proliferate
in benign dual-use locations to cloak their operation.
Except as noted the images below appear to be dated 2007, three years before
the reported 2010 start of construction of the CIA drone base.
Curiously, only two small aircraft are shown on the many photos of airports.