Based on the Recient topic on the TR-3B and TR-3A, I have decided to try to define the TR-3A for readers. I believe it is the most realistic sounding
of the two aircraft.
The TR-3A Black Manta is a Top Secret spylane built by Northrop Grumman. While very little detail is known of this plane, we do know some things.
Based on almost 8 years of private research, I will try to peice together what I know for ATS readers.
According to the March 1995 issue of Popular Mechanics, the first unconfirmed sitings of the TR-3A, occured in Anthelope Valley, CA., near Northrop's
(Now Northrop Grumman) Advanced Systems Plant, Air Force Plant 42, Site 4 (where the B-2's were built). Observers claim it is a flying wing aircraft
with rounded wing tips and a short wing span (Approxamately: 60 to 65 feet). Reports about the presence or absents of vertical tail surfaces are
inconclusive!(Personally, I don't think it has a verital tail, but I couldn't find a picture without the tail). The Fleet of Black Mantas is thought
to be small (No more then 20 to 30 aircraft). Observers say the aircraft can fly slow and maybe even hover.
The TR-3 (Note: I don't think it has the vertical tail fins based on what I know about flying wing, However that is MY oppinion!):
Based on the facts above, here are some conclusions I have drawn about the most likely mission of this plane(The Fallowing ALL OPPINION on my part,
Please accept it as such and feel free to debate my ideas and reasoning!
1. The TR-3A is a Northrop Grumman aircraft! Northrop (Now Northrop Gruman) has been working with the flying wing since 1928, when it's founder,
Jack Northorp design the first Nrothrop Flying wing, called the Avion Model 1. This long history of building flying wings gives them experience with
that design that no other company has!
Second, it was first seen near a Nothrop plant. this sugests that it might have been lanched from that plant.
2. It reported ability to fly slow, suggests that it might fly an Electronic Intelligence (ELINT)or Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) mission similar to
that of theRC-135 RIVET JOINT
3. This aircraft is most likely based at Groom Lake/Area 51. This would be the best spot to hide it. Also, Groom Lake is not far from Anthelope Valley
if you are flying!
4. The extreme secrecy also suggest a SIGINT or ELINT mission. SIGINT related info is classified as Top Secret SCI, according to the NSA.
5. The SIGINT mission implies that the aircraft might be flown by the Air Force Security Service! (The Air Force Security Service is a component
of the Central Security Services(CSS) CSS is the military component of the NSA! CSS and the
6. The Fact that it is most likly a Air Force Security Service aircraft, means that the aircraft is tasked by the NSA.
As I said these ideas are based on what I know. Feel free to add your own to the mix!
ATS Director of Counter-Ignorance