posted on Aug, 31 2014 @ 07:46 PM
originally posted by: Zaphod58
a reply to: orangetom1999
The WB-57s aren't currently flying recon missions, they've been flying as BACN relays over Afghanistan, until the additional aircraft being used as
relays are ready.
Yes...I am certain that these planes no longer fly such recon missions. But the packages can quickly be switched out to other uses...such as the BACN
equipment you describe.
Communications links or repeaters...encoding and such would be necessary in Afghanistan with the terrain not suited to FM Transmissions..line of
sight. But an airborne relay/repeater platform would work well...made to order. I also believe this aircraft has very long legs and can stay up a long
long time. Once again..made to order for that job.
I was astonished to find out that they are retiring the Global Hawk aircraft or perhapsed not producing as many as first forecast...they seem like
they would be ideally suited to this kind of work and are unmanned. It must not have worked out. These are also very very expensive aircraft which
also would explain why it is not used for such jobs. But this aircraft also has very very long legs and can stay up a long time.
I am also sure that much of the olde recon functions are now done by drone or satellite. But the military understands back up systems if much of the
normal system goes down.
I am thinking... though my memory is a bit hazy on this ...is not NASA also the last owners/caretakers of the last of the SR 71 aircraft?? Same thing
with this WB 57. I think the difference here in the two aircraft outside of obvious performance parameters is the maintenance costs of each flight.
Some people joke that the SR 71s could outrun anything but a budget cut. But the U2s are still flying and apparently so too with the last of the WB
57s. There must be in incredible and telling difference in the cost per flight.
And by the way...NASA also has Global Hawks. I should also probably note that NASA is not all that people automatically assume NASA is..by the various
aircraft they fly. I will leave it at that.
Also as I recall..back in those days ..the RB 57s came about because the Air Force did not have enough U2s to meet the missions which were coming up.
Same with the SR 71s. They just did not have enough of them for the mission demands in those days.
Nonetheless...in those days as a teenager ..it was an incredible aircraft to see fly the way it did. And I live right here...next to Langley Air Force
Base in Virginia where they have the F22s. I am not as impressed with them as I was with this RB 57.
Thanks Zaph for your post,