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38 minutes ago, cmatthewbacon said:

Your best bets for info are the most recent editions of books by Rich Graham and Paul Crickmore: they're the experts (Rich Graham is an ex sled driver himself). And more information is steadily becoming available and publishable, so the latest editions have much more content than earlier books, even if they have the same title...

 

This is free, and a good start (though note who it's published by!)

https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/a-12/Archangel-2ndEdition-2Feb12.pdf

bestest,

M.

 

 

Excellent link there chap.

 

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30 minutes ago, bentwaters81tfw said:

Kelly Johnson worked on a variety of airframe layouts, numbered A-1 upwards to about A-18. The calculated the A-12 would be the best option.

Rich Graham was the final commander of 9 SRW, and fought the closure vigourously. Probably why he only made Colonel. I've been to two of his lectures, we even had him come out to Bentwaters for a museum visit and lecture. He has promised to come back and talk about his Vietnam tour with Robin Olds. I can also claim to have acted as his navigator. He didn't know his way back from Bentwaters to the main A14 in the dark. :pilot:

 

Richard E beat me to it. 'Sled Driver' changes hands for upwards of £500 a copy. Rich Graham has no lecture tours planned for the UK at present, but I will be notified when he does. He has a house near Cambridge, but his home is in Texas.

 

Rich Graham gave a talk on his Vietnam tour for the Vulcan Restoration Trust earlier this year; he was one of the first F-4 Wild Weasel SEAD pilot before being selected to fly the SR-71.

 

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Lockheed's project name for the high-speed, high altitude recon proposal was "Archangel", the design evolutions were numbered Archangel 1, 2, 3 etc., it was Archangel 12 that was the chosen design proposal, A-12 in short.

I also can't recommend Rich Graham's books highly enough - in particular the last two ones, "The complete illustrated history of the Blackbird" and "The complete book of the SR-71" are especially well put together. Paul Crickmore's book "Beyond the secret missions" has just been re-released in an updated and expanded form. I can also recommend Tony Landis' "Lockheed Blackbird Family" for very good pictorial reference.

 

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On 2016-12-31 at 6:36 AM, cmatthewbacon said:

 

Thank you for that link - it's an excellent read, in spite of the author's reservations noted in the foreword. I knew very little about the A-12 programme; now I'm much better informed!

 

John

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Total aside, my mothers cousin was a photographer for the Cambridge Evening News when Prince Charles visited Mildenhall, part of the visit included the Prince Of Wales sitting in the cockpit of an SR71. Much to the delight of the assembled press when the time came a row of very large Special Branch officers along with the biggest coppers Suffolk Constabulary and military police could find all stood shoulder to shoulder between the photographers and the Blackbird. Fortunately for my second cousin he knew the Suffolk Copper directly in front of him, who discretely announced he thought his 'boot lace was coming undone' as he bent to check it my cousin managed to get a couple of quick shots off, the only person from the whole press Corp to manage it!

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Other than those above Brian Schul released two utterly beautiful books of photos taken by him the only Bkackbird driver approved to take photos.

Hus book Sled Driver us legendary from a photography and aviation viewpoint.

Expensive but worth every cent and then some.

He also gives a wonderful talk on YouTube at a French conference on his story after being badly burnt in a crash in Vietnam his recovery and getting into the Sled.

If you are into SR's it's a great insight.

 

One of the greatest selfies ever.

1280px-Brian_Shul_in_the_cockpit_of_the_

 

Richard Graham has given several excellent YouTube talks on the Sled as well from a technical viewpoint which really shows how incredible this aircraft was.

A new 48th SR is coming along slowly I believe from Hypersonic which will be incredible looking at his previous work and hopefully do justice to this incredible aircraft and the guys who flew her!

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On 31.12.2016 at 7:06 AM, Jessica said:

That's correct. The CIA's code name for the A-12 program was "Oxcart". All the aircraft were "Articles", with a sequential number for each one as they came off the production line. The YF-12 was a "distraction", so that any Soviet spies who learned anything about a secret Lockheed Mach 3 aircraft would find the fighter program and pass the CIA program by. the SR-71 was developed once the YF-12 became public knowledge, and was designed to be more versatile and adaptable than the A-12 (and again to divert attention away from the CIA's aircraft. Any blackbird anyone spotted was sure to be a USAF aircraft, right? Security Through Obscurity at its finest).

Don't know whom they tried to deceive or confuse there.🤔

It is unknown what data could transfer the sergeant of the NSA Jack Danlap enlisted by GRU,

http://www.x-libri.ru/elib/pwlvw000/00000088.htm

 but taking into account flight to Moscow at that time of two more employees of the NSA

http://www.x-libri.ru/elib/kolpr000/00000044.htm

 hardly existence of the Archangel program was a secret for the Soviet investigation and the top military-political management.
Finally Wikipedia directly tells MiG-25 about the creation reasons:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikoyan-Gurevich_MiG-25
Work on the new Soviet interceptor that became the MiG-25 started in mid-1959, [9] year before Soviet intelligence learned of the American Mach 3 A-12 reconnaissance aircraft. [10] 

 

Besides SR-71 wasn't so harmless as it seems, on paper also its bombing version, if I am not mistaken, was studied by RB-71.

 

B.R.

Serge

 

 

 

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To the CIA, any kind of confusion or doubt is better than none. There's no doubt that Soviet agents were working just as hard to find American secrets as American agents were working against the Soviets; the program would have been uncovered sooner or later. The question was always one of 'what can we do with it before they know about it?'

 

The MiG-25 was developed to intercept the B-70, so it's unsurprising that it could be fielded against the Blackbirds once they came along. The strike version was studied, but I don't know of any serious development work. The problems of getting something to drop at Mach 3 are not trivial.

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1 hour ago, Jessica said:

To the CIA, any kind of confusion or doubt is better than none. There's no doubt that Soviet agents were working just as hard to find American secrets as American agents were working against the Soviets; the program would have been uncovered sooner or later. The question was always one of 'what can we do with it before they know about it?'

It is indisputable because always so far there is an investigation there will be a counter intelligence, and information always so far will be near there will be misinformation. So far, from the point of view of a historical retrospective we can say that actions concerning misinforming of the USSR concerning the Archangel program, apparently didn't make success.

 

About:

"The problems of getting something to drop at Mach 3 are not trivial."

 

I think a task it was solvable, as a last resort it was possible and to reduce speed to 2,5 M as it was made on MiG-25RB:

"MiG-25RB could bear 500 kg to 10 bombs of caliber. Bombing was carried out by means of the Bearing aim navigation system.
"Especially much I flew on RB. Purpose coordinates were entered into the Bearing system, and I went towards the aim completely in the automatic mode, I operated nothing, I only watched the events. I had only one task: when a complex "attention, dumping" gives the command, at this moment I have to sit with the pressed trigger, i.e. for the pilot left the right of acceptance of the final decision – to drop a bomb or not".
Settlement mode of bombing: height is 20 km, speed is 2500 km/h"

http://interesnik.com/razvedchik-bombardirovshhik-mig-25rb/

 and it would be all the same impregnable for interception!
Problem most likely was in criterion with "cost-efficiency"! Mass construction attacking SR-71 most likely would lead to reducing other defensive programs and in fact titanium for a construction of SR-71 was bought in the USSR that from the point of view of increase in possible needs for the titan for attacking SR-71 looks as an incident as ruining the economy the USA would be forced to sponsor economy of the USSR in case of a mass construction attacking SR-71.

 

B.R.

Serge

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The problem of dropping ordnance at speed over M3 had already been studied in the US and AIM-47 missiles were dropped and launched at speeds up to M3.2 during tests. Sure, a missile is launched rather than dropped but any bomber variant could have used an expulsion device similar to the one used by the interceptor. I've read of a proposal to develop a SRAM armed variant of the SR-71, such a variant could easily use the same system.

The likelyhood of a bomber variant of the Blackbird however was extremely slim for a number of reasons. The USAF had already cancelled the B-70, a bomber Blackbird would have been faster but would have encountered similar problems in terms of funding. The usefulness of such an aircraft would have been very debatable...

Had the USAF decided to mass produce the Blackbird, there would have been no problem though. The F-12 was proposed to be built in decent numbers and the American economy would have not been affected at all. Again it was the usefulness of such an aircraft that was found lacking as no threat existed or was expected to exist that required an M3 interceptor.

Edited by Giorgio N
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17 hours ago, Aardvark said:

It is indisputable because always so far there is an investigation there will be a counter intelligence, and information always so far will be near there will be misinformation. So far, from the point of view of a historical retrospective we can say that actions concerning misinforming of the USSR concerning the Archangel program, apparently didn't make success.

 

About:

"The problems of getting something to drop at Mach 3 are not trivial."

 

I think a task it was solvable, as a last resort it was possible and to reduce speed to 2,5 M as it was made on MiG-25RB:

"MiG-25RB could bear 500 kg to 10 bombs of caliber. Bombing was carried out by means of the Bearing aim navigation system.
"Especially much I flew on RB. Purpose coordinates were entered into the Bearing system, and I went towards the aim completely in the automatic mode, I operated nothing, I only watched the events. I had only one task: when a complex "attention, dumping" gives the command, at this moment I have to sit with the pressed trigger, i.e. for the pilot left the right of acceptance of the final decision – to drop a bomb or not".
Settlement mode of bombing: height is 20 km, speed is 2500 km/h"

http://interesnik.com/razvedchik-bombardirovshhik-mig-25rb/

 and it would be all the same impregnable for interception!
Problem most likely was in criterion with "cost-efficiency"! Mass construction attacking SR-71 most likely would lead to reducing other defensive programs and in fact titanium for a construction of SR-71 was bought in the USSR that from the point of view of increase in possible needs for the titan for attacking SR-71 looks as an incident as ruining the economy the USA would be forced to sponsor economy of the USSR in case of a mass construction attacking SR-71.

 

B.R.

Serge

I thought ICBM's saw off the development and strategy  of long range strategic bombers.

 

The A-12 and SR-71 certainly are some of the most fantastically interesting aircraft, having a full life and some may even say one cut short. And still information slowly comes out about capabilities. It's a good example of what can be achieved with money being virtually no object.

 

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7 hours ago, RichardPrice said:

While we are on the topic, does anyone know of anywhere selling a Testors/Italeri YF-12 kit?

 

What scale ? The 1/48 kit is probably almost as expensive as the real aircraft these days.... :o

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3 hours ago, 71chally said:

Just out of interest, what kits have been done of the Blackbird family, and which ones stand out?

Here's what Scalemates has to say about Blackbird kits. Take note that many of these releases are the same plastic in different boxes. For example, in 1/48, there's only the Italeri kit, regardless whether the box says Testors, Tamiya or Italeri. Also note that despite what some of the boxes claim, no SR-71 ever had a D-21 mounting.

 

The Italeri kit is generally accepted to be the most accurate in 1/72, and of course it's the only option in 1/48.

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6 hours ago, Jessica said:

The Italeri kit is generally accepted to be the most accurate in 1/72, and of course it's the only option in 1/48.

Maybe for the A model, definitely NOT for the B/C models.  For the B model, Italeri gives you basically a square piece of plastic to mount the rear seat on to get it at the right height for the trainer.  That leaves the side consoles down around the Instructor Pilot's feet if it was on the real aircraft.  When I made my C model SR kit bashing the SR-71 and YF-12A together, I cut the one piece cockpit part in two and mounted the rear part higher up in the fuselage where the second seat on the trainer goes.  I don't remember for sure now (it has been over 30 years since I did it, but it seems to me that I cut out a piece of thin plastic sheet and painted it black to fit into the front cockpit windscreen where the point of the windscreen is.  The SR-71, like the F-102 and F-106 before it had a thin piece of metal there to block off reflections from the two sides of the windscreen.  The Meng kits of these two aircraft represent the piece's presence, which Hasegawa did not originally do on their 102 and 106.  Haven't looked at my Hasegawa SR lately to see if it incorporates it or not.

Later,

Dave

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15 hours ago, RichardPrice said:

 

1:72, definitely 1:72 :)

 

A quick check on Ebay resulted in some quite high prices too.... guess that the best bet is to browse at model shows, flea markets and similar venues. I was aware of the crazy prices requested for the 1/48 kit, the 1/72 one now also looks very sought after.

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On 05.01.2017 at 3:22 PM, RichardPrice said:

While we are on the topic, does anyone know of anywhere selling a Testors/Italeri YF-12 kit?

Search in the Russian segment of the Internet prompts that the necessary model is in St. Petersburg (Russia) at the price about $16,5 😲  

http://modelsworld.ru/shop/product39247.php

in recalculation from rubles on a current rate of dollar, but it without shipment cost.
This Russian online store among the Russian users has different feedbacks (including negative) which can be read at a forum of the shop:
http://forum.modelsworld.ru/forum2.html

and at a forum of the Russian modellers:
http://scalemodels.ru/modules/forum/viewtopic_t_42478.html

, however we don't know of a work experience of this shop with the western modellers. Generally, if it is interesting to you, stipulate with them questions at their forum or support:

http://modelsworld.ru/helpdesk/faq/

Or agree with any Russian modeller from St. Petersburg about exchange of this model for something that will interest him.

B.R.

Serge

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Thanks for the info Jessica, although I have a passing admiration for the A-12/SR-71 I didn't really know what kits where about.

Some of those box covers are a blast from the past, and I remember being given a kit as a kid, molded in black plastic

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On 31/12/2016 at 11:36 AM, cmatthewbacon said:

 

 

This is free, and a good start (though note who it's published by!)

https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/a-12/Archangel-2ndEdition-2Feb12.pdf

bestest,

M.

 

 

Best link I've read - thanks for sharing.

Interesting to note that they reckoned the A-12 was faster than the SR-71!

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On 2017-01-07 at 1:27 AM, IanHx said:

Interesting to note that they reckoned the A-12 was faster than the SR-71!

That's not surprising; it's quite a bit lighter without that second seat and all the ECM black boxes, let alone the other non-optical sensors. The A-12 could also climb higher.

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In 72nd i wouldnt touch anything other than Italeri.

The Hasegawa/Academy kit is over a scale meter to narrow on the front chine and the Monogram kit has a spine which makes the entire kit front end look like a different aircraft.

Hopefully the Habu sees some love one day until then Italeri is all we have.

Even the Dragon 1/144th kit front chine is narrow by 4 scale feet.

Sad state of affairs..

 

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The RB-71 proposal included provisions for Rubber Bullets (AGM-69 SRAM) and, bizarrely, also featured TFR radar - why, I cannot reason.

 

93 F-12Bs were to be built for ADCOM but were cancelled by McNamara. Crews were being briefed on the system all the way to cancellation. Essentially, the Hughes radar/missile kit started life on the YF-108 Rapier and evolved into the Phoenix on F-111B then Tomcat. 

 

Have a copy of Sled Driver I was going to give away. Might put it on ebay now! 

 

Tan Model have a 1/48 SR-71 in planning. It might be spectacular it it happens. I have the Century Wings ready made model of Ichi Ban (17974) which is also going up for sale this year. Might do it as a package with some other Habu books.

 

I would love to build a 1/48 model of the YF-12A. The Italeri/Testors one came and went thirty four years ago (and those took reams of emery paper to make) so here's hoping Tan Model get theirs out.

 

Tony

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