It’s bigger than Rhode Island this is site #1 of several locations in Top Secret America sharing that honor and miles from anything of significance. That’s why this is the Army’s favorite place to test things they don’t want you to know about.
Quoting from official Yuma Proving Ground literature: “On a recent day, Apache helicopters buzzed over rugged desert landscape where the actual Apaches once roamed, artillery pieces fired at targets 40 miles away, armored vehicles roared along road courses, dozens of parachutists dropped from the air, and a new technique for clearing buried land mines was tested all at the same time.” At any given time, there’s likely to be a small-scale war going on inside Yuma Proving Ground’s 1300 square miles.
Yuma Proving Ground was first used in 1942, where it was a test and training center for desert warfare troops and weaponry. After World War II, it became a multi-purpose facility for anything and everything that needed to be tested in isolation. In addition to the Army, other branches of the U.S. military use this facility as well as the military forces of friendly nations. The airspace above the facility is off-limits to all but authorized traffic, and mountains keep most of the area from public view.
Yuma Proving Ground, Yuma Map Arizona Photo Gallery
What’s There: The testing ranges are loaded with all kinds of instrumentation and communications installations, photographic equipment, data loggers, and computers. In addition, much of the land is used for training exercises. Troops and equipment were trained here just before the Persian Gulf War. The global positioning system (GPS) was developed and tested here during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Key Facilities: Yuma boasts a 55-mile-long artillery range and an actual minefield to test mine detection and removal techniques. A “smart weapons” test range occupies more than 15,000 acres.
Sucret Stuff: In recent years, there have been numerous reports of slowly moving lights in the night sky above this facility. These are believed (letting a Look Inside: The only part open to the public is the Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center, located in the main post building (S-2).
10 be various unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) undergoing tests. It is known that the Navy has tested UAVs that can take off and land vertically here; these UAVs would be used in carriers. These UAVs replace human pilots with on-board computers and can perform missions (like low-flying surveillance) too risky for human pilots. All publicly-known UAVs are propeller craft and carry non-lethal payloads (like cameras md instruments), although rumors are that jet-powered UAVs for bombing missions (like reusable cruise missiles) and balloon reconnaissance platforms are being tested at Yuma.
11 you’ve always wanted to visit a museum loaded with displays of arlillery shells, mortars, and bazookas, then a visit to the Heritage Center is a must! It’s open from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and admission is free.
Unusual Fact: The desert scenes in the Sylvester Stallone movie Rambo III were filmed near here; some actual helicopters from Yuma Proving Ground appeared in the film.
Getting There: Yuma Proving Ground is located north of Yuma along Highway 95. Highway 95 can be reached from either Interstate 8 or Interstate 10.
Roads to Yuma Proving Ground, Yuma.