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Convair KINGFISH at Area 51

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posted on Jan, 22 2007 @ 08:16 AM
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Although the design for the Convair KINGFISH is almost 50 years old it is still largely shrouded in mystery and is hardly known at all.

The KINGFISH was the only competitor to Lockheeds ARCHANGEL design for the CIAs new spyplane. As we all know the ARCHANGEL project ended with the A-12 design which, after further development, went on to become the Blackbird. Although the A-12 had the edge over the KINGFISH on predicted altitude cost and range (not by much) the KINGFISH was just as fast and more importantly had a smaller RCS than the A-12. This was largely because the Convair design was smaller than Lockheeds and the engines were encorporated within the fuselage unlike the A-12, the convair also adopted pyro-ceram RAM on the leading edges, fibreglass exhausts and other stealth technology.

Here are several photos of a KINGFISH mock-up apparently undergoing RCS evaluation:





Here is an image of a KINGFISH mockup in construction, note the sawtooth leading edges of the wings and flat belly:


Does anyone know where these photos were taken? As far as I can see Convair didn't have an RCS facility of their own. I believe that its possible that these photos were taken at Groom Lake and I shall explain why.

Lockheeds project was selected to be the better by the CIA, who were still wary of the higher RCS of the A-12 than the KINGFISH. To put these worries to bed, on 14th September 1959 the CIA gave Lockheed a contract to further their aerodynamic, engineering and radar tests.

When Lockheed were awarded the contract in September 1959 and built a mockup of the A-12 design they refused for it to be tested by EG&G at the Grey Butte RCS facility (owned by McDonell-Douglas and in full view of the near-by highway), so later that month EG&G decided to build a new RCS facility on the west shore of Groom Dry Lake at Area 51. This RCS facility can be seen on Google Earth as a small loop of road.

After the CIA awarded the contract for further tests to Lockheed, Convair were still recieving funding to continue their research should the Lockheed design not live up to its expectations. It is useful to remember that at this point the A-12 design hadn't been finalised and did not yet have its characteristic curved chines or inward canted vertical stabilisers.

Bearing this in mind, would it not have been a logical step for the KINGFISH mock-up to have been crated up and taken to Area 51 as well as the ARCHANGEL? Surely since the CIA were still funding the project they were still curious about its actual RCS. I think this is a possibility, especially with the mystery that surrounds the plane, inconsistencies within official unclassified CIA project timelines and the undeniable resemblance between the KINGFISH and HAVE BLUE (and later F-117a) aircraft.

Is it even possible that the design was refined further and even flew? Maybe, noting that the design was once again in vogue at Convair in the mid-60s when a very similar design was proposed as a 100,000 ft, Mach 5 reconaissance plane, even less is known about this proposal.

Let me know you guys think...


[edit on 22/1/07 by gfad]




posted on Jan, 22 2007 @ 11:01 PM
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Convair's KINGFISH was only built in mock-up form. It never flew.

The RCS model was tested at Area 51. It is interesting to note the similar design philosophy between the wing edges of both the OXCART and KINGFISH. Both airplanes featured edging with interlocking metal and composite sawteeth. On the KINGFISH model, only the metal sawteeth were installed.



posted on Jan, 23 2007 @ 05:42 AM
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Thanks Shadowhawk, do you agree that those photos are taken at Groom then?

As you said, the stealth features were very similar and contributed to to the KINGFISH having a smaller RCS. I wonder how different planes would look if the KINGFISH was selected instead!

Do you have any additional information on the later KINGFISH design of the mid-60s, I cant find anything but a reference.



posted on Jan, 23 2007 @ 10:37 AM
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The Kingfish design is quite intresting. This is one of the aircraft that is hard to find. What is intesring that you noted is that is does have some feature that remind you of Have Blue at a glance. What facinates me is the zig-zag edge that gose around that plane. That is common in stealth designs to breakup the radar signature.

Good Find!

Tim



posted on Apr, 10 2007 @ 08:46 AM
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And I thought that walking into the wing of the F-104 was the worst thhing that could happen to ground crew yikes! That wing would of probably impaled people and the F-104 would slice them.



posted on Apr, 10 2007 @ 08:55 AM
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Originally posted by Canada_EH
And I thought that walking into the wing of the F-104 was the worst thhing that could happen to ground crew yikes! That wing would of probably impaled people and the F-104 would slice them.


Haha. On this mockup they havnt inserted the teeth of RAM, the actual plane would have a smooth leading edge. Its the same design on the leading edge of the blackbird.



posted on Aug, 22 2008 @ 03:42 PM
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hello,
i have done some research on this plane and found some good sources.
but there is one thing i dont understand, wasn't the OXCART A-12 bomber under constructon at the same time? well i do not think this Kingfish design is very old. i actually think that this stealth plane is still under construction. well let me know what u think.

T



posted on Jul, 30 2014 @ 02:15 PM
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I would be amused if the OTHER Testors model ,the Mig 37B Ferret was accurate as the F-19;


www.fantastic-plastic.com...

It does resemble the Kingfisher a bit or maybe the Navy's Fxx tailless bird?
www.airforce-technology.com...
edit on 30-7-2014 by cavtrooper7 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 04:58 PM
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a reply to: cavtrooper7

I'm not really sure why this thread is being resurrected, but at least it gives me a chance to revisit one of my old posts. It turns out that I was mistaken about one thing. The Kingfish photos were not (repeat, NOT) taken at Area 51. I wish they were. No, the Kingfish model was tested on the EG&G RCS range at Indian Springs, Nevada. In September 1959, Kelly Johnson of Lockheed convinced EG&G to move its radar site to Area 51 because the Indian Springs facility was visible from Highway 95.



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 08:38 PM
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originally posted by: Shadowhawk
a reply to: cavtrooper7

I'm not really sure why this thread is being resurrected, but at least it gives me a chance to revisit one of my old posts. It turns out that I was mistaken about one thing. The Kingfish photos were not (repeat, NOT) taken at Area 51. I wish they were. No, the Kingfish model was tested on the EG&G RCS range at Indian Springs, Nevada. In September 1959, Kelly Johnson of Lockheed convinced EG&G to move its radar site to Area 51 because the Indian Springs facility was visible from Highway 95.


Not that I would ever doubt what you say on here, but where did you find this info? Perhaps a book or something you could recommend to us about it? This has perked my interest a bit and would love to expand my knowledge.



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 10:54 PM
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a reply to: Shadowhawk




When Lockheed were awarded the contract in September 1959 and built a mockup of the A-12 design they refused for it to be tested by EG&G at the Grey Butte RCS facility (owned by McDonell-Douglas and in full view of the near-by highway), so later that month EG&G decided to build a new RCS facility on the west shore of Groom Dry Lake at Area 51.


Well your post explains a lot. Grey Butte isn't exactly by the highway, but Indian Springs certainly is.

Grey Butte is easy to see if you drive to the middle of nowhere. It is now one of the General Atomics UAV facilities.

General Atomics at Grey Butte: 34°33'52.72"N 117°40'49.75"W



posted on Aug, 3 2014 @ 03:07 PM
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a reply to: gariac

One day I was driving from Lancaster to Victorville and saw something being tested on the pylon at the Gray Butte RCS range. I drove down to the fence line to get a better look and stayed until security chased me away. It was an odd shape. I'm not sure if it was an aircraft or just part of one (like when Lockheed tested the A-12 nose section by itself on the Area 51 pylon).



posted on Aug, 12 2014 @ 09:50 PM
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a reply to: Shadowhawk

Shadowhawk, where at Indian Springs was the old radar range? Also, any clue as to how far Convair got with Kingfish? I have seen a few of those photos before, but I am wondering if they made a conforming mockup at all, as I know that was common practice up until the past 20 years or so. Also, what was the main reason for testing the models upside down?
edit on 12-8-2014 by krislhull because: add content



posted on Aug, 12 2014 @ 11:03 PM
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a reply to: krislhull

The EG&G radar range was somewhere in the vicinity of the current Creech AFB. I don't know precisely; it may have been paved over long ago. One would have to compare the mountains in the background of the photos to pinpoint the site.

I don't know if Convair ever made a complete full-scale mockup.

The models were mounted inverted in order to get the desired angle relative to the radar dish. If you look at pictures of other RCS tests, the models may be mounted right side up, upside down, or occasionally sideways depending on the type of data desired.



posted on Aug, 13 2014 @ 02:00 AM
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a reply to: Shadowhawk

A RCS range and an airport using radar need a little bit of separation, so I wonder if Point Bravo was where they had the RCS.



posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 12:17 AM
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a reply to: gariac

Point Bravo would put you in the vicinity of Creech.



posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 01:16 AM
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originally posted by: TAGBOARD
a reply to: gariac

Point Bravo would put you in the vicinity of Creech.


I know that. I've watched Capstone and Firepower a few times. But my point is Point Brave is sort of Indian Springs (using the old name for the base), but not right by the KINS runways. It is very visible from the highway. Further, it seems to be an odd place to put infrastructure (as it is used today), unless they had built something else there years ago. That was why I wondered if it was the location of the RCS in the dark ages.



posted on Aug, 14 2014 @ 09:19 AM
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a reply to: gariac

I agree - based on the information we have, that is the most logical place it would have been.
edit on 14-8-2014 by TAGBOARD because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 15 2014 @ 07:41 PM
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a reply to: TAGBOARD

So, I have a little looking into this, and I am wondering where Point Brave is? Is it the area to the north of 95, roughly 5 miles before you get to the prison?



posted on Aug, 16 2014 @ 11:10 PM
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originally posted by: krislhull
a reply to: TAGBOARD

So, I have a little looking into this, and I am wondering where Point Brave is? Is it the area to the north of 95, roughly 5 miles before you get to the prison?


Point Bravo:
36°32'3.62"N 115°33'58.17"W

I just pulled that off of google earth. It appears as Point B on some maps.

There is a Point Alpha also.



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