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Lockheed D-21B

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posted on Nov, 20 2006 @ 11:41 PM
I was at the National museum of USAF and I was the Blackbird up close (very cool), but behind it I was a Lockheed D-21.


I was wondering, do we know if it flew any more missions that the four stated here?

Another test flight was conducted on 20 February 1970, and was successful

Does anyone have the pictures? or info on what was seen in the pictures?

The fourth, and as it turned out, last, flight of the D-21B was on 20 March 1971. It was lost over China on the outbound leg, apparently having been shot down.

Shot down with what???

The Tupolev design bureau reverse-engineered the wreck and came up with plans for a Soviet copy, named the "Voron (Raven)", but it was never built.

Anyone know more about it???


posted on Nov, 21 2006 @ 12:21 AM

posted on Nov, 21 2006 @ 02:59 AM
Very cool find and I believe the secretive Aurora and/or Brilliant Buzzard programs incorporated the mothercraft or carrier and with differing drone craft launches. According to the article linked the craft D21 flew "many" missions for up to two years.
Differing from your info of 4 flights. Not much talk about these proven and advanced concepts at all lately.

posted on Nov, 21 2006 @ 09:00 AM
Well, there's nothing to suggest "secretive" launches by Aurora or Brilliant Buzzard carrier vehicles; the main problem with the D-21 (drone) / M-21 (the A-12 "Mother" craft) combination was successfully launching the D-21 a supersonic speeds.

Actually, a pair of B-52H bombers were converted to carry the D-21 after attempts to used the A-12 (M-21) proved fatal. These drones were called D-21B's. As noted here and in the original Wikipedia article, four operational missions occurred over the People's Republic of China under the code name SENIOR BOWL. But problems occurred on these flights as well, including the failure of photo recovery capsules to eject, which caused the program to be cancelled after 4 flights.

Of the 38 D-21/D-21B drones created, 21 were used in known (and reasonably well documented) test or operational flights. The remaining 17 are scattered around museums and other locations throughout the country (NASA has a couple, too). Matter of fact, there's a thread about Edwards AFB (I believe) floating around here on ATS where a couple of D-21's are visible.

The fact that 17 of these are intact in various places throughout the country suggests that the program really was ended after the 4 SENIOR BOWL missions over the PRC. If the program had continued under the auspices of the CIA or any other agency, these remaining 17 drones (or at least some of them) would have been used to test modifications to the D-21B design - or even modified to a hypothetical D-21C standard, as two D-21's were upgraded into D-12B's.

If there were any D-21 flights beyond the 21 we know about (and I'm not convinced there were), they probably used a highly modified D-21-type aiframe, modified so extensively that it was cheaper to build new rather than modify the 17 existing (and expensive!) B-type drones.

posted on Nov, 21 2006 @ 10:14 AM
Thanks for your input everyone!

posted on Nov, 21 2006 @ 10:18 AM
You can see video of the original TAGBOARD M/D-21 tests here:

The first "flight" of the D-21B took place during a planned captive-carry test from Area 51 on 28 September 1967. The drone and its DZ-1 booster accidentally dropped from the wing of the B-52 and the booster fired automatically. The mated stack crashed in the desert in central Nevada.

posted on Nov, 21 2006 @ 08:51 PM
Just wondering... Was this one of the first UAVs, or not. Not too familiar with their history. Help me change that.

posted on Nov, 21 2006 @ 10:55 PM

Originally posted by secret_aircraft6
Just wondering... Was this one of the first UAVs, or not. Not too familiar with their history. Help me change that.
technically, yes it was.

posted on Nov, 22 2006 @ 01:55 AM
Can you imagine flying one of those remotely from a large vaccum tube device filled control room somewhere buried in Dreamland? I love those old 50's-60's equipment pic's the USAF has been declasssifing as of late also. Here are a couple more info links on the Lockeed D21's

posted on Nov, 22 2006 @ 02:27 AM

theres a link to the Mach 3 crash of one of the launches - the video link is at the botom of the page.

this is a picture of seperation of the D-21 @ mach 3 just prior to the crash

posted on Nov, 22 2006 @ 07:29 PM
well, if its anything to add, looks like the D-21 was turned into the RATTLRS project - here have a look at just how similar they are...

Heres the project coming along all nice and on time...

and here is the RATTLRS a souped up smoothed out D-21.

From Lockheed.

posted on Nov, 22 2006 @ 08:58 PM
Thanks for the info everyone! I will enjoy reading and watching the videos.


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