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Short Flightline Friday January 17, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun.

I wanted to do a Flightline Friday today on the awesome Lockheed YF-12A Blackbird, one of a series of aircraft Lockheed produced around a similar design, all capable of speeds in excess of Mach 3 and altitudes above 80, even 90,ooo ft.

Just a quick rundown, I hope to provide much more background next week. The Blackbird started as a CIA program for a replacement for the high-altitude, but subsonic, U-2 spyplane.  The first aircraft in the series, the “A-12,” began flying in the early 60s. This was used for a short time by the CIA for spy missions, but then Lyndon Johnson, in a naked political move highly detrimental to national defense, spilled the beans, mis-identifying the aircraft as the “A-11” and claiming that it was undergoing test at Edwards. There were none at Edwards, they were all at Groom Lake!

By that time, the USAF had ordered an interceptor version of the A-12, the YF-12A.  It was to carry a very advanced look-down shoot-down doppler radar with an enormous dish called the ASG-18, and three AIM-47 missiles each with 250 kt warheads. USAF rushed a YF-12A to Edwards in time for the publicity shoot, and the program began undergoing test flights.  Ultimately, 3 YF-12As were built.

The YF-12A eventually became the SR-71, the version most folks are familiar with.  There is a big history there, including a plan to use SR-71 armed with Falcon missiles in conjunction with the B-70 Mach 3 strategic bomber as a sort of recon/pathfinder force.

More next week, God willing!  For now, a few videos:

More specifically on the YF-12A:



1. Andrew - January 17, 2014

Have you checked out the SR-72 information from Lockheed?

tantamergo - January 20, 2014

So, here’s an old trick from “the business” – that is, the deep black defense business. If something like this sees the light of day, that means it, or something extremely similar, has already been flying for years, and they are already on to the next thing.

2. DiscipleoftheDumbOx - January 17, 2014

Do you feel the need?

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