Lockheed Blackbird Family

Experimental aircraft including -but not limited to- X-planes, from the Bell X-1 to the Su-47
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parrothead

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Unread post13 Dec 2007, 03:56

Very cool thread :thumb: !!!

I found this a while back but didn't post it for some reason. Lots of good info in the FOIA reading room :wink: . Gotta love those stories!

I need to get more video from the Road Runners' reunion edited and posted - lots of good stuff there. Turns out that the aircraft was fairly hard to see by U.S. radars, but the inlets were just great at showing up on the Soviet "Tall King" radars, so they knew when it was coming. They also were able to track it with the SA-2 missile radars because one of the countermeasures they credited with assisting with some of the misses was the "Blue Dog" which recorded the command instructions from the SA-2 and played them back to confuse the missiles. The part about the Tall King was from one of the speakers at the reunion and the part about the Blue Dog came from the CIA FOIA website :) . Oh yeah, there's also some pretty good details of some of the other flights and operations, too.

The guy who was shot at by those missiles was BGen Dennis Sullivan - same guy as in the Mach 3 Gear Down video - and I have the video of him recounting that day as well. He still has that missile fragment 8) .
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EBJet

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Unread post13 Dec 2007, 04:24

Their censors dropped the ball.

If you look in "results 111-120" specifically #114, titled: "OXCART Recon of North Vietnam (w/attachment)" created on 5-15-1967

Go to page 17 in subsection 2 and you'll see they missed censoring where the A-12's were based. Oopsie.

Other documents mention "Detachment 1-1129th"

Some really interesting reads.
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ATFS_Crash

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Unread post13 Dec 2007, 04:57

I don't necessarily mean automatic tracking. I'm not sure how it was done. I've heard many stories. In those days it was easy to tweak things to get the results you wanted if the equipment was working correctly. What I'm calling tracking could be as simple as looking at weather radar, and plotting the course, direction and speed manually between each sweep or every few sweeps, thusly a prediction could be made where they aircraft will be, then a missile or aircraft can be dispatched to the location that they project the aircraft will be. It can be kind of a Hail Mary pass as far as missiles go.

The blackbird may not be as stealthy as current aircraft, but that doesn't mean it wasn't stealthy compared to other aircraft from its era. Any aircraft can be detected with radar, it is a matter of what degree when and where.

If you look up at the skyline at night you can see many stars, but that does not mean that you can easily track, identify, lock and attack the stars.

It's much like the old scenario of picking fly dung out of pepper. Theoretically it is possible and can be done, but it currently is not easy or practical. ;)
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snypa777

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Unread post13 Dec 2007, 21:30

:lol: I should have known Parrothead would have cast his eyes over these papers already!

ATFS_Crash wrote:The blackbird may not be as stealthy as current aircraft, but that doesn't mean it wasn't stealthy compared to other aircraft from its era. Any aircraft can be detected with radar, it is a matter of what degree when and where.



In the papers, the CIA did an appraisal of possible missions over Cuba, circa 1964. They estimated the A-12 would be detected by Cuban radar at 160 to 180 miles range. That is pretty far away I would say. This detection would occur at the mission altitude and speed.

The pro`s and con`s were really interesting. The CIA wanted to take a deek at Cuban and hence, Soviet defences. They were uncomfortable with the fact the Soviets would be able to fine tune their SA-2 and air defence systems to counter the airplane. This fine tuning would also allow them to tweak defences over Russia. The A-12 was lower observable but not low observable I think. In its day it was a lower profile aircraft as they described it, stealthy? Stealthy for its day but not in the modern sense.
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parrothead

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Unread post14 Dec 2007, 05:01

Yep, I'm all over it :) ! Something really cool at the reunion was the A-12, YF-12, SR-71, M-21, and D-21 flight manuals and full tech orders out on the table for perusal - the ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS :shock: :thumb: ! Y'all should hear some of the fun they had while working with the TEB :P !

Something a whole lot of people don't realize about the idea of stealth when the A-12 was being designed was that part of the A-12's plan for defeating radar was to go fast and high enough that manually plotted tracks would be very difficult. Computers made this part go out the window. There was also extensive use of composites on some of the aircraft, especially #122 (now on the Intrepid) where they used asbestos in resin to make up the vertical stabilizers and leading edges.

One of the reasons the A-12 wasn't used over Cuba was that it was still officially in flight test. There were plans to get some of them qualified, but in the end it just didn't happen and Black Shield was the only operational use of the A-12.

Let's not forget that there were also plans to sell the A-12 to Iran :shock: ! Click here for the original documents.
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post15 Dec 2007, 03:13

wasnt the YF-12 designed to carry three missiles that would make a Phoenix blush?
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ATFS_Crash

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Unread post15 Dec 2007, 08:51

sprstdlyscottsmn wrote:wasnt the YF-12 designed to carry three missiles that would make a Phoenix blush?

It was essentially an early evolution version of the AIM-54. They were going to put a nuke on it. However they had second thoughts about putting nukes on them and put conventional warheads on them. The early one was the AIM-47. The early ones (AIM-47) were SARH. Eventually they made it fully active AIM-54.

It’s rumored they might have made a few nuke warheads. However the last I heard they will not confirm or deny it. The rumor is the nuke warhead would fit on either the AIM-54 or AIM-47 (GAR-9)

http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-47.html

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YF-12 & AIM-47
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YF-12 & AN/ASG-18
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April 1 AWACS version of the SR-71 ;)
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sprstdlyscottsmn

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Unread post16 Dec 2007, 04:14

thats for the info of the AIM-47. That awacs BBird looks more like they parked an E-3 behind it.
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SixerViper

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Unread post18 Dec 2007, 19:03

The A-12 and SR-71 had round instruments. The YF-12 had vertical tapes which looked virtually identical to those in the F-111. These instruments were different from those on the F-105D and the F-106, and the C-5/C-141.
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TC

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Unread post07 Dec 2008, 03:17

Another nearly seamless merge! When you're good, you're good! 8) Honestly, I felt like there were too many different threads on this board that started with "A-12". At first glance, when you'd see simply, "A-12", one might have wondered to which A-12 were we referring. So, I have made both threads easy to quickly reference. If you are looking for the A-12 Blackbird, you came to the right place. If you wanted the "Flying Dorito", I have its page clearly labeled for you. Enjoy!
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parrothead

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Unread post07 Dec 2008, 05:55

Thanks, TC :thumb:

Now for some really good reading, head over to the CIA FOIA Reading Room and enter Oxcart in the search field 8)
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geogen

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Unread post07 Dec 2008, 06:21

Must have respect for the A-12 bird of the day.. Fantastic pics must say.

As for today? Black ops?? Consider an FB-22 with internal launched air-air launched version of SM-2 IIIB (or equiv) (conventional head only needed).

Such a config would be the most superior interceptor conceived in modern times (as a secondary role to superior strike/B-3 alternate option), 15 yrs forward. Enemy bombers take a seat please.
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Viperalltheway

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Unread post07 Dec 2008, 15:50

Geogen you don't like bombers do you? lol :)

This make me think of a tactic that stealth aircraft could use to to force SAMs to shoot. They could increase their RCS momentarily with the reflectors they have for that purpose, and get within the SAMs launch enveloppe. If a radar is turned on they "fry" it with their radar. If SAMs are launched at the aircraft they return to stealthy mode immediatly and the missiles are lost.

This could work well with the F-35 I guess thanks to its DAS that would detect missile launches with a high probability.
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ATFS_Crash

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Unread post07 Dec 2008, 23:09

snypa777 wrote: In the papers, the CIA did an appraisal of possible missions over Cuba, circa 1964. They estimated the A-12 would be detected by Cuban radar at 160 to 180 miles range. That is pretty far away I would say. This detection would occur at the mission altitude and speed.


The way I understand it. Allegedly.

Even though the SR-71 was fairly stealthy on radar, the shock wave from the SR 71 when it was traveling at high speed could be seen from hundreds of miles away. The shock wave is so huge that it can be seen on weather radar as a huge anomaly. Even nonmilitary/FAA radar was able to detect the shock wave SR-71, when the transponder was on civilian mode the radar interpreted the shock wave as an aircraft, even though the aircraft itself was (essentially) not detectable on radar.

Because the shock wave gave away the general location of the aircraft, it enabled an adversary to scramble aircraft to attempt to intercept the SR-71. There was also many attempts to shoot SAMs in the general area of the shock wave and hope they got lucky. There were over 1000 attempts to shoot down the SR-71, none of them successful.

The most successful program was the SR-71 family. On 31 Aug 1981 C. L. "Kelly" Johnson announced
C. L. "Kelly" Johnson wrote:that the SR-71 (class) has had over 1000 missiles launches against it, but none successful
:D
Source http://www.blackbirds.net/sr71/sr-timeline/srtl80.html

The way I understand it the adversary radar/SAM operators probably thought that they were tracking and locking directly onto the SR-71, when in reality, it was the shock wave. Allegedly that’s part of the reason why so many missiles fell short of the SR-71. ;)
Last edited by ATFS_Crash on 08 Dec 2008, 08:24, edited 1 time in total.
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parrothead

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Unread post08 Dec 2008, 07:04

The countermeasures in the A-12 helped, too. Somewhere in the FOIA is the complete operational specs for the electronic countermeasures they carried :)
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