Archangel: CIA’s Supersonic A-12 Reconnaissance Aircraft by David Robarge
|eBooks - Military|
|March 16 2008|
This history of the A-12 reconnaissance aircraft is occasioned by CIA’s acquisition on loan from the Air Force of the eighth A-12 in the production series of 15. Known as Article 128, the aircraft will be on display at the Agency’s Headquarters compound in Langley, Virginia.
This history is intended to provide an accessible overview of the A‑12’s development and use as an intelligence collector.
Writing this story was a fascinating challenge because I am not an aviation historian and have never flown any kind of aircraft. Accordingly, I have tried to make the narrative informative to lay readers like myself, while retaining enough technical detail to satisfy those more knowledgeable about aeronautics and engineering.
I have drawn on the sources listed in the bibliography and the extensive files on the A-12 program in CIA Archives. Hundreds of those documents will be declassified and released to the public in conjunction with the dedication of Article 128 in September 2007 as part of the Agency’s 60th anniversary commemoration.
For their contributions to the substance and production of this work and to the documentary release, I would like to thank my colleagues on the CIA History Staff and at the Center for the Study of Intelligence, the information review officers in the Directorate of Science and Technology, designers and cartographers in the Directorate of Intelligence, and publication personnel at Imaging and Publishing Support. I also am grateful for historical material provided by the Lockheed Martin Corporation and the A-12 program veterans, the Roadrunners.
Full & free, provided by The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Table of Contents:
From Drawing Board to Factory Floor
* Lockheed's Aviation Genius
Breaking Through Technological Barriers
Full Stress Testing
Hiding OXCART in Plain Sight
Finding a Mission
A Futile Fight for Survival
* A-12 Schematic
About Lockheed A-12:
The Lockheed A-12 was a reconnaissance aircraft built for the Central Intelligence Agency by Lockheed's famed Skunk Works, based on the designs of Clarence "Kelly" Johnson. The A-12 was produced from 1962 through 1964, and was in operation from 1963 until 1968. The single-seat design, which first flew in April 1962, was the precursor to both the Air Force YF-12 interceptor and the famous SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft. The final A-12 mission was flown in May 1968, and the program and aircraft retired in June of that year.
The following timeline describes the overlap of the development and operation of the A-12, and the evolution of its successor, the SR-71.
* 16 August 1956: Following Soviet protest of U-2 overflights, Richard Bissell conducts the first meeting on reducing the radar cross section of the U-2. This evolves into Project RAINBOW.
(From wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
|Last Updated ( March 16 2008 )|
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