Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Gleaming aeronautical beauty.


Lockheed A-12

I wonder what ever happened to this?

11 comments:

  1. The titanium was melted down and formed into lightweight backpacking cookware for the tree huggers. Swords into plowshares, so to speak.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The A-12 Oxcart was an armed SR-71, operated by the CIA - and I fear that its fate was as Sonoboy (above) suggests.

    ReplyDelete
  3. LL is right, they painted it black and called it an SR-71.

    ReplyDelete
  4. LL is right, they painted it black and called it an SR-71.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The A-12 actually had a very short operational history. It was never weaponized. All A-12's not lost to accidents are on display around the country. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_A-12

    Later a two seat YF-12 was designed and built as a high speed interceptor to shoot down Soviet Bear heavy bombers coming over the north pole. It also had a very short lived history. The sole remaining YF-12 is at Wright Patterson AFB. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_YF-12

    Another variant known as an M-21 was developed to carry and launch the D-21 drone. When mated to a drone it was the MD-21. M for mother ship, D for daughter ship. It also had a very limited history. The lone survivor is at the Museum of Flight in Seattle mated to a D-21 drone. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_YF-12

    The SR-71 was the culmination of the Blackbird program and had an extensive operational history with the USAF. The A-12 was not an armed SR-71. The first SR-71 was not built until after A-12 production ended. Another clue is that all A-12's are single seats. SR-71's are two seaters. The A-12 was a CIA program. The YF-12 and M-21 were USAF and/or NASA programs. The SR-71 was all USAF/NASA. All SR-71's not lost to accidents or cannibalized are on display around the country and in the UK. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_SR-71_Blackbird

    The best overall display I've seen is at the Evergreen Air Museum in OR. They have an SR-71 with most of it's secret camera equipment on full view along with a Buick V-8 start cart and a D-21 drone. You used to be able to climb a ladder to look into the cockpit until some asshole kids climbed on top and stomped holes in the composite fuselage.

    Some of the spare parts inventory may have been reprocessed into lightweight cookware but the surviving aircraft are all on display. The remains of many crashed Blackbirds are buried. One notable burial location is off the end of the runway at Kadena AB in Guam.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A couple of B29s from WW2 and at least one B52 from Vietnam were lost off of Anderson AFB's 2 fields at the north end of Guam. Kadena AB is on Okinawa' : )

      Delete
    2. My bad. You're right. Okinawa is where the aircrews and their planes got their Habu nickname.

      Delete
  6. Sorry, guys, I actually don't know about the cookware bit. I'm in a bit of a flippant mood today. Anon 3:10 is correct in his facts, which I learned by reading "Skunk Works", by Ben Rich. Ben was an engineer under Kelly Johnson at Lockheed, and succeeded him as director of that division upon Kelly's retirement.

    One of the most ironic things about this design was the fact that most of the worlds source of titanium ore was behind the Iron Curtain. When Kelly was adamant that no other metal would suffice for his new design, the CIA arranged through third parties around the world to buy up the needed supplies. So the Soviet Union wound up supplying the material for the plane that would dog them for years.

    I hope I've atoned for my earlier misdeed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No misdeeds. I'm sure some of it did end up in cookware but it had to come from the spare parts because the surviving aircraft are all on display.

      The sourcing of the titanium as you indicated is an extremely interesting story. A funny part of it is that the CIA used a front company in Canada that was going to revolutionize cookware by making titanium pots and pans for housewives that were tired of lifting the older, heavier cookware in use at the time. They even arranged a big ad campaign touting how revolutionary titanium cookware was going to be. It's funny to think that some of it likely did end up in outdoor cookware 40-50 years later.

      Delete
    2. As we can clearly see, the CIA is not above using the press, sometimes even creating a fake cover story to add to the believability. I recall another instance, that of Howard Hughes and his Glomar Explorer to harvest manganese nodules from the sea floor. This was actually a cover for a recovery effort of a sunken Soviet submarine. I still recall the image of the nodules shown being collected from the sea bottom on the cover of my 'Popular Science' magazine. The CIA knows no bounds. Sometimes good, sometimes not.

      Delete
  7. I was at Castle AFB, CA when then retired them for the 2nd to last time. They flew one in to put in the museum there. I was Supervisor of Flying that day and there was quite a turnout to welcome the bird. They said they had to "de-mil" it before it could be retired. De-milling it consisted of draining the engines of oil. They then turned the engines until they seized and then they cut all the cable connectors off the electrical harnesses. I can't begin to describe the feeling.

    ReplyDelete