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  • countries throughout millennia have always had a need to spy on their foes to gather as much information as possible.

  • While people on the ground were the tried and true method for centuries with the creation of the hot air balloon, aerial reconnaissance finally took to the skies during the American Civil War.

  • After the creation of the airplane, the utility of aircraft for reconnaissance was quickly realized by countries around the world.

  • Over the next several decades, countries would continually try to improve on aircraft designs to make them fly higher and faster.

  • It seemed like countries were continually getting better and better until the United States unveiled an aircraft that beat them all and still holds world records Today.

  • The S R 71 Blackbird, the S R 71 Blackbird was the design of a little known in highly secretive black ops group within Lockheed Martin called Skunk Works.

  • These scientists worked day and night during the height of the Cold War to develop an aircraft that was impervious to anything the Soviet Union could throw at it to give American intelligence on fettered, detailed access to the most sensitive places that satellites could not give the detail required.

  • The S R 71 would set the bar for stealth aircraft by incorporating many design features that would become standard in similar aircraft.

  • The design itself relied on a combination of Valoyes but was based upon titanium.

  • This drastically departed from airplanes of the past that relied on steel to give them strength.

  • The reason why designers had to do this was because of the extreme altitudes and speeds the aircraft would operate at who would actually melt a steel airframe.

  • The S R 71 could reach a mind boggling 85 0 ft and operated a screaming 2193 MPH.

  • By comparison, the standard rifle cartridge used by American forces the 556 millimeter round travels at around 2200 MPH, depending on the amount of propellant used, making this plane literally as fast as a speeding bullet.

  • American commanders employed the aircraft all around the world with the S R 71 flying missions in Africa, the Middle East and Vietnam, and preparing for one was actually like getting ready for a space mission.

  • There were so many procedures and steps along the way that even one wrong move could mean disaster and more often than not, disaster struck.

  • With 20 of the 32 blackbirds produced being lost to accidents, though none were lost to enemy fire, despite all of its benefits.

  • Its one drawback, besides how extremely difficult it was to fly, was its outdated camera systems, created in an era before data links, the S R 71 relied upon good, old fashioned film to capture critical intelligence that they had to develop back at base.

  • Beginning in the 19 nineties, advances in satellite unmanned aerial vehicle and camera technology largely made the role of a supersonic aircraft like the S R.

  • 71 obsolete.

  • Therefore, beginning in 1990 the aircraft began its retirement out of service that was completed right before the start of the new millennium.

  • While the S R 71 still holds the world records for speed and altitude.

  • There were several reconnaissance aircraft produced, with one still operating today that came close to matching the capabilities of the aircraft.

  • Even though the S.

  • R.

  • 71 is considered the pinnacle of spy aircraft technology, several others came close to some of its remarkable achievements.

  • The closest contender would have to be its predecessor, the A 12 ox cart.

  • The A 12 program began in 1956 as a way to develop the world's first supersonic aircraft.

  • The reason why the United States wanted to do this was that the ubiquitous U two spy aircraft currently employed by the CIA was becoming increasingly vulnerable to fire from the ground.

  • Several notable losses of U two aircraft, such as over the Soviet Union and over Cuba, cemented the fear that current American technologies were being outpaced by the rapid advancement of Soviet air to air missiles and radar.

  • Research and development for the aircraft were spearheaded by Lockheed Martin, beginning in 1957.

  • This project was also aided by the infamous Skunk Works design team that would later tweet this aircraft into the famous S R 71.

  • Because the S R 71 was developed from the A 12, most of the design features, like the airframe and engines, remained the same.

  • However, what is different in their designs was the host of issues that had to be worked through to get to the first viable aircraft.

  • One of the main problems was working with the material itself.

  • The 12 used titanium since it was half the weight of steel while still maintaining almost all of its strength.

  • The rest of the airframe was made out of composite materials to deflect and absorb radar radiation to make it appear smaller.

  • Working with titanium was difficult, and an entirely new line of tools had to be created from titanium toe work on it.

  • Because of the incredibly high tolerances and new tools, production on an assembly line was impossible, and at any given point, over 2400 different technicians worked on each aircraft.

  • Another issue with titanium, besides making new tools, was trying to weld it due to the chemical makeup of titanium.

  • It's very susceptible to some substances, including chlorine, during production at the facility in Burbank, California, who was found that welds made during the summer would not hold up at all and deteriorated quickly.

  • However, welds made during the Burbank winters held indefinitely.

  • Engineers did some investigating and discovered that the city of Burbank put chlorine into the water during the summer to kill algae.

  • This made the titanium weaker when it was welded, forcing them to weld in the winter time until they could desalinate enough fresh water.

  • Tow work with such unusual circumstances were one of the many problems that plagued production over the next five years.

  • By the early 19 sixties, the A 12 was ready for operations.

  • It was an impressive aircraft that could reach Mach 3.35 and climbed several 1000 ft higher than the S R 71 could.

  • The reason why it could climb just a little higher and move slightly faster was because of its limited photo reconnaissance capability.

  • Sporting just three cameras, the A 12 had limited space on board for the host of signals collection, but the CIA and military wanted, though limited in its capability, The newly designed cameras spearheaded a field of technology never thought possible, operating at such extreme altitudes and temperatures created design problems that had never been attempted before.

  • In the eventual 29 missions, the A 12 flew on Lee.

  • On one of them.

  • Did the cameras fail?

  • Such an impressive statistic proves how time and again this project made the impossible possible.

  • Despite overcoming a host of design problems in both design and mission, the A 12 would see only limited use in no missions for what it was designed to carry out.

  • The impetus for the A 12 was to carry out surveillance of high priority strategic weapons systems like nuclear missiles deep inside the Soviet Union.

  • However, with the creation of Mawr and Mawr advanced radar systems, American military leaders feared even this cutting edge system could still be tracked and possibly shot down.

  • Therefore, it was deemed too risky to carry out intelligence operations against the Soviets.

  • The A 12 did find its use in the Vietnam War.

  • Ever leery of increasing North Vietnamese capability and weapons positions, the vast majority of the A 12 missions were flown in the skies over North Vietnam to gather information on surface to air missile sites and other strategic positions.

  • The 12 also flew several missions over North Korea during the highly contentious USS Pueblo incident, where an American surveillance ship was captured in international waters and its crew held hostage for almost a year Here, the A 12 was the only asset deemed capable enough to carry out such a high stakes mission, while the A 12 had a short operational career.

  • It's contributions and operational testing did most of the legwork for developing the S R 71.

  • Without the hard work of the engineers and pilots who made this system of viable platform, the S R 71 could have never been considered possible.

  • Even though the U.

  • S.

  • Holds the world records for altitude and speed, that does not mean other countries have not tried to replicate it.

  • In fact, the Soviet Union came close to producing an aircraft that was nearly as fast as the S R.

  • 71 in their mid 25 aircraft.

  • The impetus for the MiG 25 1st came in the late 19 fifties.

  • Soviet leadership wanted a response to possible American bombing missions that would come in incredibly fast, high flying bombers.

  • The purpose of the MiG 25 would be to intercept these bombers and shoot them down before they could drop their payload on Soviet cities.

  • While the project for a high flying American bomber known as the Valkyrie was eventually scrapped, the Soviet military still saw plenty of utility in its design.

  • The Soviets encountered similar problems as the Americans in designing an aircraft that could go extreme altitudes and speeds instead of using titanium to solve the heat problem.

  • The Soviets used primarily nickel steel with several al alloys in Onley, some titanium.

  • The aircraft was also armed with four air to air missiles to take out enemy bombers that intercepted.

  • But while the original purpose of the aircraft was an interceptor, the Soviets soon realized its value as a reconnaissance aircraft by the incredible amount of records it's set.

  • From the time of its initial unveiling and until the introduction of the S R.

  • 71 the MiG 25 held an astonishing 29 world records for various speed and altitude benchmarks.

  • The MiG 25 became the first aircraft to go higher than 115,000 ft and reached a world record of 123,520 ft for a jet fighter.

  • The MiG 25 could also go on impressive 2.4 mock loaded and 2.9 mock unloaded.

  • Because of these impressive stats, Soviet leadership soon produced reconnaissance variance known as the MiG 25 RB of this interceptor aircraft in large numbers thes aircraft Ralph fitted with a variety of cameras and sensors to take pictures and collect electronic intelligence.

  • Elektronik intelligence can be information like what?

  • Certain radio frequencies air coming down certain bearings.

  • This can then be correlated to the known frequencies of enemy aircraft, radar and missiles to give Soviet leadership the disposition of aircraft and missile sites.

  • Because of the capability, the Soviets largely employed this aircraft in a supporting role for its military by being able to evade all known ground fires and attack aircraft, the plane gave them a significant advantage on the battlefield.

  • The MiG 25 does appear to have performed a number of spy missions, with most of them happening in the Middle East.

  • During the various conflicts with Israel and its neighbors, a dedicated Russian squadron was stationed in Egypt to spy on the Israeli military.

  • The radar and aircraft were able to track them.

  • None were ever shot down.

  • The MiG 25 also reportedly carried out spy missions of S R 71 aircraft, a common route for spying on the Soviet Union, went through neutral Sweden, and they reported multiple instances worth a MiG 25 was shadowing the S R.

  • 71.

  • While there is certainly much debate over whether or not the S R 71 could have ever been shot down.

  • It's unlikely, given the inaccuracy of the mix weapon systems and its inability to hold a targeting solution.

  • While the MiG 25 was also developed into a bomber variant, the Soviets also designed a two seater prototype model.

  • This was odd, considering that the aircraft was a single seater, giving rise to the speculation that the Soviets wanted to make this plain perform a similar role.

  • The S R 71.

  • That's because they wanted junior pilots to be trained by senior pilots on the long range flights.

  • This is all speculation, of course, since these missions were all top secret and the records of which are probably buried deep in Russian state archives.

  • While there are certainly many more aircraft that were considered reconnaissance aircraft and they performed well at that role these air by far the best spy aircraft for their speed and altitude they could evade pretty much anything their foes could throw item.

countries throughout millennia have always had a need to spy on their foes to gather as much information as possible.

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Which is the Best Spy Planes of All Time?

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/12/22
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