Jump to content
This site uses cookies! Learn More

This site uses cookies!

You can find a list of those cookies here: mysite.com/cookies

By continuing to use this site, you agree to allow us to store cookies on your computer. :)

Sign in to follow this  
Ghostbase

Project Igloo White - Stratobat

Recommended Posts

Using the cover of darkness, dense jungle and bad weather, North Vietnamese trucks carried critical supplies down the Ho Chi Minh Trail nearly undetected. Since large numbers of American ground troops were not permitted into neutral Laos to stop the trucks, the U.S. Air Force deployed a system of electronic equipment to thwart the enemy's cover and alert U.S. commanders. This highly-classified electronic system was known as Igloo White.

The system was to became operational in late 1967, and it consisted of three elements: sensors dropped by aircraft along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, an orbiting "Batcat" aircraft that picked up and relayed signals from the sensors, and the Infiltration Surveillance Center (ISC), which received the data. Operated by Task Force Alpha at Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base (NKP RTAFB), the ISC interpreted the sensor data and passed target information to combat commanders, who sent attack aircraft to the target.

The plan was for 30 EC-121Rs to be modified from U.S. Navy EC-121K early warning Constellations that had been stored in the 'boneyard' at Davis-Monthan AFB. They would be operated by the 553rd and 554th Reconnaissance Squadrons of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, from October 1967, with approximately 20 Batcats on hand at any one time. Batcat missions were up to 18 hours in length, with eight hours on station at one of 11 color-coded orbits, three of which were over South Vietnam, six over Laos, one over Cambodia, and one over the Gulf of Tonkin.

Conversion of the Constellations began. However, a problem arose...

(Sources: National Museum of the US Air Force fact sheet; Wikipedia)

Edited by Col.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The EC-121K was originally designated the WV-2 by the US Navy and was delivered from 1954 onwards. During the Cold War the type provided extensive eary warning coverage over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans at the height of the Cold War period. During conversion at overhaul depots it was found that exposure to the maritime environment had caused unforeseen corrosion issues especially in the area of the dorsal radome and this had been exacerbated by two years storage in the boneyard in Arizona.

C-118A51-3821TucScrap08MB1024.jpg

The 30 Constellations were despatched to the scrapyards surrounding MASDC.

This caused a major crisis. By this time the Vietnam War had heated up and numerous aircraft types found themselves converted for roles which their designers had not foreseen, other types that should have been retired were forced to remain in service. However the Igloo White programme demanded an urgent replacement for the intended EC-121R 'Batcat'. The replacement aircraft had to have a mission duration of up to 18 hours, be able to accommodate a crew of 18 plus a relief crew, as well as carry capacity for large amounts of electronic equipment.

The Douglas C-124C fleet was considered, having been replaced by the new Lockheed C-141A Starlifter, the faithful 'Old Shaky' had the range and lift capacity required however most were tired and suffering wing defects. The C-119 Flying Boxcar was also considered but was a tactical transport and did not have the range needed for the 'Batcat' role. Then someone remembered the 102nd Military Airlift Squadron, New York Air National Guard 106th Military Airlift Group operating out of Floyd Bennett Field, New York.

The 102nd MAS was flying the aircraft which would become the 'Batcat', this was the...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good story so far, you've set yourself up for a good build now!

Dan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Certainly all sounds good so far, welcome to the GB, have absolutlely no idea what aircraft your machine is going to be based on but look forward to finding out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...venerable old Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter. The type entered service in the late 40's and in 1967 was still operated as a transport by no less than 11 Air National Guard squadrons.

The revised plan called for a 'Batcat' conversion of the C-97A and C-97G models to a new variant - the EC-97M Stratobat. 30 were converted, sprouting new aeriels and assorted lumps and bumps .

The EC-97M Stratobats flew constantly in the SE Asian skies for two years. They were painted in the S.E. Asia camouflage scheme however whilst they discharged their duty well they accumulated very high flying hours and they rapidly weathered. They were replaced in 1969 by the QU-22B 'Pave Eagle' and the surviving 28 EC-97M Stratobats were flown direct to the boneyard in Arizona to be broken up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Stratobat", love that name, like the sound of this one and the wear and tear from constant use in that environment will make for some interesting paintwork weathering should you wish to represent that aspect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, I thought of 'Stratobat' this morning, wish I could change the thread title to this.

This is the kit I will be using:

C-97A.jpg

Cost me £8.99 from Modelzone a couple months ago and although I already have a C-97A, KC-97G and KC-97L in the stash I just had to have it at that price. I have never seen a C-97 in S E Asia camouflage and I think it would look really good especially if it was well weathered. If I am really lazy I might complete her as if she is in store at the boneyard with white spraylat over the difficult bits! :winkgrin: Weathering is not really my thing and I need more experience so this would be a good project for me. Also, I will see what I can find in the way of blade ariels and various antennae and blisters. I have been wanting to make a C-97 in camo for years so this Group Build gives me the kick up the botty I need. My record on these builds is poor so I hope to do better this time :blush:

Hope to get started in a weeks time.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, I thought of 'Stratobat' this morning, wish I could change the thread title to this.

Funny you should say that... :whistle:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for changing the thread title :speak_cool:

Have had a modellers block for a while but got 'proper' started on the Boeing EC-97M Stratobat yesterday.

This is the 1/144 die-cast model of the EC-121R 'Batcat' which has inspired this what-if build:

EC-121K.jpg

I think the Stratofreighter should look pretty good in S E Asia camouflage. This is as far as I have got with the kit:

schemes.jpg

The Academy C-97A kit is a pretty simple build and that suits me, means I can get to the painting and weathering stage as quickly as possible! Have got the cockpit main parts done and the fuselage halves together, also the wings.

Not sure which camo scheme and markings to do yet. I was interested to find a TO 1.1.4 scheme for the C-124 Globemaster II and I think I will adapt that pattern. For markings I could use the very minimal scheme used on the EC-121R alternatively I could do something similar to the camoed C-130 Hercules of that time.

Michael

Edited by Ghostbase

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, last day of this interesting group build. It is sad to see how few of the creative ideas at the outset have made it to a completed model. And, alas, I am one of them.

So, how far did I get? Took this photo this evening:-

EC-97Mprimer_zpsfdf66aaf.jpg

Still on course for a Boeing C-97 version of the Lockheed EC-121K 'Batcat', she should look good in S.E. Asia camouflage. Going to be a big old gal as well. I am building her in sections so she can be stored when not on display. Love these old prop driven cargo birds!

Have put together all the major parts, sanded down all the joins, sprayed her with while Halfords primer. Just a couple of areas which need some filler (I *detest* filling and sanding!!) then start pre-shading, something I have never done before.

Also, I have learned something the last few days. I did not know that Humbrol Maskol can be diluted with water (well I can't read the instructions on the bottle!). It was posted here, I gave it a try and applied it to mask the windows, used a cocktail stick, hope it works. Looking good so far!

Life in general and a nasty case of modellers block got in the way. However I am positive about my EC-97M 'Stratobat' and she is now my priority, I want to get her completed. So thanks to whoever originally suggested this group build :thumbsup2: And thanks to Mish who is a true group build angel :blush: And thanks to Col who took on a task which made herding cats look a doddle! You all inspired me.

Michael

Edited by Ghostbase

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing you idea Michael and hope we see this one continue as it looks promising.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...