Lockheed HAVE BLUE demonstrator in flight-RARE footage

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posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 04:31 PM

Originally posted by gariac
reply to post by StargateSG7

This recon F-117 story sounds dubious. By the time the 90s rolled around, we had good satellites. Further, the F117 isn't undetectable, but rather hard to target. Overflights would have been detected. Last of all, aircraft don't really scale. A larger F117 would be a different looking aircraft. Not radically different, but not supersized either. And if the airframe was different, you might as well make it more aerodynamic since the computer simulation for stealth shapes would have surely been advanced for a second generation aircraft.


Even by the Mid-1990's, OPTICAL satellite imagery was more of a fine art than
a tried and true by-the-book science. Ground and Space Weather, technical limitations,
and other considerations required that a backup imaging system be in place...ERGO... the
RECON version of the F-117. The 1950's era U2 Spyplane was STILL be used as late as 2004!
So I can somewhat assure you that an F-117 RECON craft was in fact DEPLOYED and not just
bandied about as an idea in the hallways of Langley (CIA) or Ft. Meade (NSA).

And I seem to get the impression that these F117 RECON craft were fully deployed
between 1984 up to 1996 or even as late as 2005 depending upon the "unofficial" source!


The CAD/CAM systems in use between 1976 to 1982 were rudimentary at best and
NOWHERE NEAR what we have today in the D'assualt/Autodesk/etc CAD/CAM/CAV sphere.
Computers in those days had almost NO graphics processing capability and in the Aerospace
industry were used almost exclusively used for aerodynamics calculations and flight envelope
prediction/verification. (probably written in FORTRAN, VAX C or even laughably in IBM COBOL/JCL)

It took until 1984 when Apollo/Stardent/etc graphics workstations became available that
TRUE cad/cam became a reality. In 1976 when the Have Blue program was started, the
faceted Have Blue hull shapes were drawn BY HAND and verified ONLY by computerized
math calculations and real-world flight and model-based wind tunnel testing.
The RECON F-117 version would have had the nearly the SAME dimensions
EXCEPT for the INTERIOR bomb-bay reconfiguration which would have been
necessary to house the cameras and film.

Sorry, by LARGER I should have said LARGER INTERIOR resizing to fit the
Corona-style satellite lenses that would LIKELY have been used at the time.
I suspect a different ENGINE configuration and extra INTERNAL fuel tanks
would have been added for LONG-RANGE sub-sonic cruising at LOW-ALTITUDE
over Warsaw Pact territory and specialized film plate cycling for the probably
48 to 72 large-plate photo shots that would have been taken during any over-flight.

...AND...the Soviet GRU (equivalent to the U.S. NSA/NRO offices) were COMPLETELY AWARE
of the overflights. Most people don't realize that due to internal bureaucracy and political inertia,
that members of the Soviet GRU/KGB and the USA CIA/NSA/DIA/NRO were semi-complicit
in keeping a "Mutual Understanding" that each would perform certain RECON and SPYING missions
using Human Intelligence (HUMINT) and aerial/space-based systems. Many missions detected by
either country "Failed" to make it up the chain of command since any higher-ups finding out about
such antics would lead to a loss of job/demotion, or on the Soviet side, being sent to Siberia!

So many lower-level personnel (ESPECIALLY on the Soviet Side) just "Let it Slide" that an
overflight took place since on a PRACTICAL LEVEL your job (or even LIFE!) was on the line
if you reported the event up the chain of command (i.e. shoot the messenger syndrome).

On the U.S. side, there was TACIT agreement that most RECON on the Soviet Side was
done by HUMINT (people on the ground) and by Spy Satellite. Spy Plane Overflight by the
Soviet Union were non-existent or RARE in the 1970's and early 1980's.

So a big effort on the U.S. side was concentrating on finding the
MANY Soviet NATO-office Moles and the in-USA Soviet RECON agents.


I should also note that my writing style may give the impression that I have
SPECIFIC FIRST-HAND KNOWLEDGE of the techniques or events I have
described previously when this is ABSOLUTELY NOT THE CASE!

My sources are fairly nebulous at best, so these missives SHOULD BE taken
with somewhat of a grain of salt.
edit on 2013/2/22 by StargateSG7 because: added more info...
edit on 2013/2/22 by StargateSG7 because: other info...

posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 06:46 PM
reply to post by StargateSG7

Until 2004? The Air Force is lying to Congress to get rid of the RQ-4 to keep the U-2 flying for at least another 8-10 years. They have been pushing the retirement of the U-2 back over and over again. Originally it was 2012, then 2013, then 2014, then 2015, now it's 2023. New systems have been added that give it a better than ever recon capability, including the ability through the "Cats Eye" recon pod, mounted on top of the fuselage, to transmit data back to a ground station in real time.

posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 06:51 PM
Fascinating footage , would like to rename the
war bird to USS171

posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 07:14 PM
reply to post by StargateSG7

Thanks for that additional background info.

posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 07:24 PM
reply to post by Zaphod58

Technical and Political Inertia is the key here!

If you have a RECON system that has worked in the past then why not continue to use it?

MilSat/MilStar (and it's replacements) are bandwidth limited right now. There simply is
NOT ENOUGH Still Image and Video bandwidth available to send all that info from drones
or the more high-tech image gathering systems back to local tactical and/or global strategic
imaging analysis offices. From what I understand SOME MISSIONS EVEN NOW, STILL
USE FILM PLATES rather than the more advanced CCD/CMOS digital cameras.

I was quite surprised to learn that the U2 was still flying in some capacity as recently
as 2004 for publicly-disclosed recon missions. It still works for high altitude stuff but for
LOW-LEVEL tactical imaging an autonomous UAV drone may not be the best choice
for some missions. ERGO...probably why the recon version of the F117 is probably
still flying and not retired nor publicly disclosed. (Note: I was NOT aware that they
pushed back the retirement of the U2 to past 2014/2015 --- AMAZING! that's over
65 YEARS of spy-flying time)

And for countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea who needs some super-duper
multi-billion dollar Aurora-like Black Budget craft when the 1970's/80's era F-117 is STILL
useful as a low radar return, low-altitude imaging platform. It makes sense to me to
CONTINUE to use a system already paid for many times over for the job it was
designed to do!

I'd rather have a good pilot, a good wide-field view camera and some medium level
stealth and maneuverability so I can fly low and slow over areas of interest.
I already KNOW that the other side (i.e. Iran or North Korea) will ALMOST
NEVER ADMIT that I flew into their airspace with impunity so public disclosure
is a non-issue and I can get on with the job of takes photos and video from less
500 feet up during the whole image-taking flyover. A drone is a risky venture
on a political basis, but using a 35+ year old aircraft with a good pilot is an
asset since almost no one in Iran or North Korea would BELIEVE that we
WOULD USE such an old platform (i.e. Plausible Deniability) as a substitute
for a spy satellite. The higher ups in the target countries KNOW we're overflying
them and will be desperately TRYING to pull another "Garry Powers"-like
captured-pilot coup...but other than that hazard, we'll keep spying on em
until the day comes when they finally do succeed in shooting one of
those Semi-Stealthy F-117 RECON planes down!
edit on 2013/2/22 by StargateSG7 because: spell fix

posted on Feb, 22 2013 @ 10:50 PM
reply to post by StargateSG7

I guess I have to show my age, but we had computerized drafting back in what you consider the dark ages. The companies don't exist anymore, but there was Calma and Applicon. [Incidentally, Applicon had all those gestures that people think Apple innovated on the iphone.] These companies were around in the 1960s, though I have no idea if they were using terminals in the beginning. If you didn't have dedicated CAD, you used a Tektronix graphics terminal. Your computer was a Cray. If you were a government agency, you owned one. If you were everyone else, you used a time share. The VAX barely worked for engineering. [Yes, I used one.] It wasn't even a one mips machine. If you had a DEC and had money, it was probably the DECsystem 20.

In 1976 when the Have Blue program was started, the faceted Have Blue hull shapes were drawn BY HAND and verified ONLY by computerized math calculations and real-world flight and model-based wind tunnel testing.

NEC (Numerical Electromagnetics Code) was public knowledge in the 1970's. Who knows how long it was kept internally. NEC is mostly used for antenna design, but it can be used to predict reflection off of surfaces. It could even do curved surfaces, which is what you need to do say an offset dish design.

I worked where we made CCD sensors before the phrase was in the common vernacular. The government had no problem buying sensors at $100k a pop. The deal with CCDs is yield is inversely proportional to at least the 4th power of die size. [Papers have been written on CCD yield.] You make a sensor big enough, it will have a dead pixel due to wafer defects. But if you make enough sensors, you will eventually get something where all the pixels are live. Texas instruments was big in this field, as was Reticon. Trust me, the optics was good back then, just not cheap.

posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 06:55 PM
reply to post by gariac


Now I'll tip my hand in terms of age...I remember USING a VAX-780 and a PDP-10 in the 1980's
to do spreadsheet-style calculations that would have taken AGES on an IBM PC-AT (i.e. an old
5 MHZ boat of a Personal computer!). Then we had VaxStations with REAL 1024 by 768 pixel
256 colour (8-bit) RGB graphics...which was AWESOME in those days.

I do remember reading about engineering shops using PDP's and VAX's in the late 70's
and early 80's to do not only engineering calculations (i.e. oil & gas pipeline stress analysis)
but also using those SAME computers to drive CNC enhanced lathes that created custom
pressure rings and valves. I was not aware that CNC-style engineering calculations and
MACHINING were available pre-1978 for aerospace-related calculations and machining.

From what I understand it took the Digital Equipment (DEC) VAX series of mini-computers
to be widespread AFTER 1978 that computer-based engineering and CNC-machining
became AFFORDABLE and thus more widespread for ALL TYPES of engineering.

From my history books, I do understand most all drawing was still done by hand and
NOT using a CADD (Computer Aided Design and Drawing) system at the 1976 START
of the Have Blue/F-117 Stealth Fighter SAP/CAP (Special Access Program
Compartmentalized Access Program) at Lockheed (now Lockheed Martin)

From what I understand in the 1980/1990's Lockheed BOUGHT Martin Marietta to get its hands
on the highly advanced Computer Aided Design, Drawing, Machining and Computer Graphics
Rendering Technology which was integrated into almost ALL aerospace projects at the
LMCO Skunkworks.

As an aside, during a photo op for the updates of the B2 Stealth Bomber
WAY AFTER the 1987/88 intro (i think it was 1991/1992 when photo was taken)
a Lockheed Executive posed by his desk with a model of the B2 and the F-117
and a few other well known aircraft behind him. Aviation Week may still have
that original photo, but ONE of the aircraft WAS different...it looked like the F-117,
but it's intakes were larger and it was sleeker looking (i.e. longer), and the cockpit
was either smaller than the same F117 at scale, or the craft itself was physically
LARGER. I do remember later publicity photos NO LONGER having that version
of the scale model F-117 in the background during publicity shoots.

It is THAT SCALE MODEL which I believe leads credence to there being a
SECOND VERSION OF THE F-117 which can carry a LARGER internal
payload and some further "Background Chatter" in "Aviation Leak"
(er....make that Aviation Week) editorial/aficionado circles which
makes me MORE CONFIDENT that the REPLACEMENT for the
SR-71 Blackbird is in fact a MUCH SLOWER GOING (but near
tree-top altitude flying) F-117 RECON plane with Wide Field-of-View
CCD/CMOS imaging system. I also SUSPECT it has been flying
in my BEST GUESS, since 1984!

I also suspect that Ronald Reagan accelerated the Stealth F-117 RECON
program because of his innate fear that the Soviets were using low-cost but
blend-in-to-the-populace methods to transport troops, war material AND
MISSILES into Far Eastern Russia near China's border. He had SOME
belief that Russia would overrun China and then take Japan and then
the South Sea island nations. I will BET TWO-BITS that 1980's era
UFO reports coming out from those Eastern Russia/China Border areas
had a LOT of low-level triangular craft whizzing about!


While the Russians NEW about the U2 and Blackbird overflights, I suspect the
incursions into Chinese and Eastern Russia borders was much less known in
the halls of power because of the LOW-ALTITUDE stealth capability, but also
the CIA/NSA/NRO believed that the more LOCAL Chinese/Russian officers
would have ACTIVELY prevented overflight reports from being tendered back
to the Kremlin or Beijing because of the "Shoot The Messenger Syndrome"
and the desire to "keep things calm/no rocking the boat" at the local radar station.

It was a BRILLIANT strategy and probably one of the FIRST MODERN-DAY
SOCIAL ENGINEERING stunts ever used for aerial-based spying. I would also
not be surprised if a few VHS VCR's and risque videos, some good German Beer
and some French Brandy/Swiss Chocolate found their way to the local radar station's
poorly-paid enlisted and officers barracks in exchange for some overflight reports
NOT making it back to Moscow or Beijing during that 1980's Cold War heyday.
edit on 2013/2/25 by StargateSG7 because: Timeline fixes

posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 06:59 PM
reply to post by StargateSG7

Having a wide field of view camera on a low flying plane doesn't make sense though. One of the points of the wide field of view camera was for high altitude overflights, so they could see a lot more. At low altitude, you're going to have a very small area that you can see, whether you are using a normal camera, or a wide field of view, just because you're so low.

posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 07:07 PM

Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by StargateSG7

Having a wide field of view camera on a low flying plane doesn't make sense though. One of the points of the wide field of view camera was for high altitude overflights, so they could see a lot more. At low altitude, you're going to have a very small area that you can see, whether you are using a normal camera, or a wide field of view, just because you're so low.

By wide field of view I mean DESIGNED for low-altitude overflight (i.e. Less than 1500 feet)
where MULTIPLE CCD chips and lenses that shoot fore-aft, port/starboard and directly
underneath to get DRAMATIC UP-CLOSE shots of warehouses, roads, barracks, garages,
anything to do with war materiel and logistics which would be analyzed back in Langley
or Ft. Meade or the Maryland NRO offices for signs of RECENT deployment or movement.

Just KNOWING where warehouses and troop barracks are IS information which can
corroborate HUMINT and other intelligence sources. Find their supply lines, storage depots
and command huts, and the rest of the info will reveal itself.

Noise is the only issue during flights less than 1500 feet so they usually flew maybe 350 knots
to keep a good clip aways from arms fire yet still get GOOD multi-angle up-close shots.


The multi-angle lenses and imagers is probably one reason why the interior of a RECON
version of the F-117 would be larger so that cooling systems and gyroscopic stabilizers
could be added for those perfectly stable up-close shots. I suspect MOST flights would
have been at dusk (NOT DAWN!) to take advantage of the tiredness of the local guards
AND STILL have enough light for good shots (probably high-ISO CCD snapshots at
1/500 or 1/1000th shutter speeds)...for most targets one pass only with five to
10 frames shot for each lens-angle. Probably 3 to 6 areas of interest were overflown
per mission. Aerial re-fueling would have taken place over Thailand/Vietnam or near Japan.
edit on 2013/2/25 by StargateSG7 because: more info

posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 10:25 PM

Aerial re-fueling would have taken place over Thailand/Vietnam or near Japan.
edit on 2013/2/25 by StargateSG7 because: more info

Hmmmm.....Wonder how many booms know what aircraft your talking about???

posted on Feb, 25 2013 @ 11:12 PM
reply to post by gariac

The VAX barely worked for engineering. [Yes, I used one.] It wasn't even a one mips machine. If you had a DEC and had money, it was probably the DECsystem 20.

Agree with that. When the Vax780 was announced, the 36 bit DecSystem 20 with BBN's TENEX and then TOPS-20
ran rings around it. That would change over the years with the 6000 and 8000 lines but it took time for the VAX to gain serious CAD use. I worked for DEC back then and later was on the 8650 and 9000 development team. A great company to work for and the govy was firmly invested in just about everything they made.

posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 12:27 AM
reply to post by StargateSG7

The multi-angle lenses and imagers is probably one reason why the interior of a RECON version of the F-117 would be larger so that cooling systems and gyroscopic stabilizers could be added for those perfectly stable up-close shots.

I'll give you credit for sticking to this story, but little you post here makes sense. Multi-angle lenses are a kludge to get the image on one sensor. But for recon, you would just use multiple sensors and "normal" lenses. [Argus does this today, but in real time.] That is how you would get the maximum resolution. At recon altitudes, it is mighty cold. So at most if there was any cooling, it would be Peltier on the CCD itself. If they were doing long wave IR, it would be cryogenically cooled, but again, just for the sensor. [Yeah, we made a few of those.] The military already had MEMS accelerometers in the late 70s and early 80s. [I visited a defense contractor in the early 80s and was shown a functional MEMS accelerometer. They were working on a cost reduction and needed some outside design help in the signal conditioning. Needless to say I was shocked this device even existed. This was over at Systron Donner.] No need for a gyro. The Kenyon type gryos are used after the fact, i.e you take a device that wasn't designed with an image stabilizer and make it stable.

But my point is the F-117 is easily detected to the degree that you know one is up there. But it is detected with low frequency radar. This was not considered to be a threat since with low frequency radar you don't have much precision. So a F-117 recon would really be no better than a U-2, and the U-2 has a much higher ceiling.

Before discussing passive radar, several other radar and sensor systems are worth mentioning in terms of counterstealth capa-bility. One of the most significant counters to stealth, namely conventional very high frequency (VHF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) radar, has been around since World War II and is still in use today for long-range air surveillance. Most LO techniques are designed to defeat acquisition and fire control radar in the X band, which uses centimeter wavelength. VHF- and UHF-band radar, however, uses decimeter- to meter-long wavelength. In general, the RCS of an aircraft increases as wavelength of the illuminating radar increases. Furthermore, when the radar wavelength is in the same order of magnitude as the aircraft or parts of it, the radar waves and the aircraft resonate, which significantly increases the RCS of the aircraft.


About the only advantage to a F-117 recon aircraft over a U-2 would be reduced time on target, but nothing like the SR-71, which was still flying in 1998!

posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 02:01 AM
reply to post by gariac


You are correct! They would NOT have used modern-day shifting-angle
lenses that use peizo-electric or micro-magnetic motors to move the lens
assembly for multi-angle shots. IN those days 1970's/80's by multi-angle,

Thus the STEALTH RECON F-117 would have had up to 6 lenses each
pointing at a different direction EACH with a separate CCD imager,
probably a 512 by 512 or 1024 by 1024 pixel CCD in that 1980's timeframe.
Lenses would be Quartz to pass the IR and the CCD supercooled to get the
infrared or they would try for some noisy but still usable optical imagery.

I doubt they would have used cryogenic cooling ...that's far too complex for
such a small aircraft. I had NO IDEA that MEMS were even a gleam in
anyone's eye in the 1980's...that's news to me...I remember old systems
that used 200 pound Gyros for camera stabilization I suspect that
on a stealth recon you were look at 3000 pounds of 3-axis gyros, 3500 lbs for
the probably SIX cameras and lenses and then another 1500 lbs for cooling
and LOTS of extra fuel. No wonder they would have had to fly LOW and SLOW!
They had to EVADE OTH radar and Soviet/Chinese MIG aerial patrols and the
BEST way to do that is be like a small bird...hug your terrain!

Again, I tell you that it is LIKELY a Stealth F-117 RECON craft would
have done its imaging at 1500 feet or less AT DUSK in the Optical range
for determing enemy-force logistics and storage facilities or for finding
specific locations of service tunnels or air intakes of underground facilities.

In those days, once the planes landed, the CCD images would have been
converted to an encrypted PULSE CODED MODULATION SIGNAL embedded
into a VIDEO STREAM (looks like video SNOW) onto 3M or Ampex data tapes
that were then flown to Japan that would then be encoded and
then broadcast BACK to Langley or Ft. Meade using
leased COMMERCIAL TV satellite transponders to fool
the Russians and Chinese into thinking it was commercial traffic.

The F-117 can fly LOW and SLOW at 1500 feet or less and
NOT the 60,000+ feet that the U2 or SR-71 Blackbird go.
Since at the time of the 1980's, over the horizon radar
was actually quite poor and even the low-level radar
had problems with low radar cross-section aircraft that
would have shown an F117 as the size of a Canada Goose.
The radar operators would have ignored it, especially if that
cross section was doing less than 1500 feet at 350 knots or slower.
They'd have thought it was an electronics glitch and let it pass.
Those operators would have been looking for incoming
high speed missiles or high-altitude high speed spy planes
NOT low and slow aircraft. I also would not be surprised if
ECM (Electronic Counter Measures) made the F-117
RECON craft look like commercial cargo craft or
even Chinese or Russian military transports.

The pilots on those missions would have been under a truly
stress inducing flight envelope....fly in from Guam or even
on one of those thought-to-be-abandoned Midway islands...
do an aerial refuel off of the coast of Japan or over North Vietnam
and then dip down to less than 1500 feet at 350 knots or less
and image your mission targets in China right at dusk...then
arc north going off to Japan by nightfall for another refuel
and then BACK to Guam (or even Midway!)...then
do it again...except this time image areas near the
Mongolian/Russia/China borders trying to AVOID any
of the Russian Kamchatka radars and MIG patrols.

We can confirm my supposition by checking the now
released 1980's Eastern Russian or Western Chinese
border UFO reports that had low-level triangular
aircraft reported by the mostly agrarian peasants
especially those ones reported as taking place
at or near dusk. Draw a line between each sighting
and you can project both the PROBABLE imaging
targets and the likely lift-off and/or landing points.
edit on 2013/2/26 by StargateSG7 because: info addition
edit on 2013/2/26 by StargateSG7 because: more info
edit on 2013/2/26 by StargateSG7 because: Grammar issue fixes

posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 09:43 AM
I dont know much about this camera non-sense, but the aircraft in question is NOT an RF-117. It doesn't even resemble it.

posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 12:16 PM
At 1500ft AGL, you would need acoustic stealth. ;-)

I had mode-s gear and have caught the FBI doing surveillance/mobile-repeater work at 1500 AGL in a Cessna. Very audible.

I have my doubts about risking a plane as unique as the F-117a for that stupid of a mission.

posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 03:35 PM

Originally posted by gariac
At 1500ft AGL, you would need acoustic stealth. ;-)

I had mode-s gear and have caught the FBI doing surveillance/mobile-repeater work at 1500 AGL in a Cessna. Very audible.

I have my doubts about risking a plane as unique as the F-117a for that stupid of a mission.


I'm not sure the Chinese / Eastern Russian peasantry would have cared or really noticed
that some aircraft was loudly flying above them. They would have been so under the local
political thumbscrews that they would have likely thought it was local military or even
commercial aircraft. SOME acoustic mitigation WOULD have taken place which is
WHY that fancy desktop model shown in Aviation Leak magazine in the early 1990's
had larger intakes PROBABLY used to REDUCE intake airflow speed, probably uses
larger and SLOWER turbine blades and PROBABLY LARGER exit nozzles for lower
acoustic signature at SOME cost of radar stealth but at the gain of HIGHER PAYLOAD
capacity and higher acoustic stealth. Flying in at 1500 feet down to treetop level using
mountain terrain hugging techniques to mask infra-red and acoustic signature
would have DEFINITELY been in each mission flight plan.

The Have Blue aircraft is a TEST platform. The F-117 Nighthawk was used more as an
operational stealth BOMBER rather than a true fighter. AND finally, I SUSPECT that there
was (still is?) a longer/heavier/more payload RECON version of the F-117 (lets call it the
SR-117a) that PROBABLY uses multiple fixed lenses with CDD imagers for panoramic
style low-level optical photography.

I BELIEVE IT PROBABLY was operational as soon as 1984.

I ALSO BELIEVE IT MAY STILL BE OPERATING in secret after all these years!

I also BELIEVE that the now publicly de-commissioned F117's will now
be re-purposed for the SAME task since modern photographic technology
could now FIT inside their bomb bays and thus make it feasible to CREATE
and use an "SR-117b" series of re-purposed aircraft as a low-level photography
platform for high-threat environments where radio signals from Remote Operator
Drone Control would be a problematic AND DETECTABLE radio-emissions signature.

Thus making it ideal for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mongolia/China, Yemen, Somalia, etc.
The aircraft STILL WORK, they're STILL pretty good at what they do
and most modern day threats are NOT coming from Russia or even China,
it's the many whatever-'STANS that are causing the problem...and going
REALLY LOW and SLOW would make for IDEAL in-yer-face photographic
evidence for counter-insurgency or simple troop patrols.

In the 1980's, the THREAT environment was a WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT...
A true Cold War where all sides were on Hair Trigger Alert and RECON

It makes PERFECT SENSE, to me at least!, that a low-and-slow
piloted STEALTH RECON craft would have been constructed and
the SR-117a...IMHO... would have fit that bill PERFECTLY !!!!!

ALL the USA/Canadian/British/German/French military people
I know are TODAY all so gung-ho on STEALTH DRONES
(i.e. XB-47b, BAE Tyranus and their ilk) or the ultra long-and-high
flyers (Global Hawk and it descendants) that the RECON SR-117a
(I like that new made-up-by-me moniker!) is QUIETLY flying in under
the radar letting all the others hog the spotlight while it uses it's
antiquated but STILL USEFUL tech to do tactical/strategic-level
low-level stealth photo recon.

I'll Bet Ya Two-Bits that one of the craft loitering around during
Bin Laden raid in Pakistan was an SR-117a STEALTH RECON craft!
We know about the drone video....but i'll bet there was some lower
and much wider-angle views being recorded for LATER review in
future high-threat tactical training scenarios.


This next one is a conjecture on a PROBABLE LATE 1980's MISSION SCENARIO.

a) Take three or four Navy LCAC (Land Carrier Air Cushion - i.e. Hovercraft)
landing craft and HIDE one SR-117a RECON craft each. Use a training
exercise as cover and deliver to Midway island. Set up refueling base
and hide aircraft under cammo-tents... do three missions in three days
from Midway Island where each RECON aircraft takes off at 3:00 pm
or whenever the Soviet or Chinese spy satellites weren't overhead...
Do at-dusk low-level photo mission by 7:00pm in China/Russia territory
then high-tail it back to Midway...after 3 days stuff the SR-117a's
back onto LCAC's and no one will be the wiser thinking it was a
training exercise on an abandoned island. Send craft onwards to
Guam and do the same thing except THIS time use the CIVILIAN
airfield as cover which the Chinese/Russian spysats cover only
intermittently. By 1987/88/89 it was mostly a semi-public
secret that F-117's were available for use and the STEALTH RECON
SR-117a wouldn't have attracted that much attention since it looked
enough alike that it would be MISTAKEN for the true F-117 Nighthawk!
edit on 2013/2/26 by StargateSG7 because: spell fixes
edit on 2013/2/26 by StargateSG7 because: spelling

posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 05:44 PM
reply to post by StargateSG7


One mistake to correct...it should be the "BAE Taranis" that is one of the
fly high/fly long UAV's NOT the Tyranus...which was my original spelling
...probably thinking of T-Rex at that point oops!

posted on Feb, 26 2013 @ 09:45 PM
reply to post by StargateSG7

Thus making it ideal for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mongolia/China, Yemen, Somalia, etc. The aircraft STILL WORK, they're STILL pretty good at what they do and most modern day threats are NOT coming from Russia or even China, it's the many whatever-'STANS that are causing the problem...and going REALLY LOW and SLOW would make for IDEAL in-yer-face photographic evidence for counter-insurgency or simple troop patrols.

We use drones in the "stans" because we don't give a crap about losing them. OK, we care a little, but we crash drones all the time. On the other hand, nobody wants to lose a F-117. Even if the plane is obsolete, it still has technology that I presume is secret enough that they don't store them at AMARC but rather the TTR. Also they have flown after retirement, but we don't know for sure if the plane came from the TTR or Groom. Groom was kind enough to fly one for me (assuming they knew I was on Tikaboo) before they retired them, so there is no doubt they had one handy.

F117 post retirement video
(As a side note, I uploaded this video at the Starbucks on Avenue K, not all that far from Plant 42).

So we are going to fly over peasants now? I thought we were flying over significant assets that needed to be photographed so closely that you can count the rivets.

You do realize that Aviation Leak is not gospel.

posted on Feb, 27 2013 @ 12:00 AM
reply to post by gariac


The peasants that would be flown over are the ones that would have LIKELY reported,
OR NOT REPORTED overflights to local government officials. The significant asset is
merely the DESTINATION...SOMEONE on the ground must have HEARD or seen
a low-flying craft such as the " SR-117a" and if it looked strange enough to them
they might have reported it as a "UFO" which is why I alluded to an earlier missive
that we might be able to CONFIRM flight paths of SOME sort of RECON plane
by correlating UFO reports by the "peasants on the ground" with KNOWN
characteristics of US aircraft.

Even WITH acoustic, visual and radar stealth, the RECON craft would have
LIKELY been seen by a member of the public. And in the 1980's, Eastern
China and Russia were fairly undeveloped and more agrarian thus any reports
would have been "nebulous and unspecific" ...BUT...it is THESE types of reports
that would give credence to a REAL aircraft being in operation as a stealth recon
craft...in my opinion, the uber-cool "SR-117a Stealth RECON" aircraft!


Actually, I do know that Aviation Leak is not the be-all or end-all of black projects
BUT its editorial staff and hanger-ons ARE a wealth of anecdotes and snippets
that when mashed altogether CAN paint a pretty good picture of what's out there
in the "Black Budget" world!

For you Area-51'ers, it looks like the NEXT craft out of the LMCO Plant 42
and Boeing PhantomWorks and Northrup Digs SEEM to be DEFORMABLE
WING / VARIABLE WING CONFIGURATION nearly fully-autonomous drones.

Close in configuration to the XB-47-type of UAV's but with ACTIVELY DEFORMING
wings to allow HIGH SPEED and LOW SPEED capabilities in ONE single package!
They're supposed to be the NEXT-GEN of pilot-less systems. One BIG improvement
is LESS of a reliability on GPS-based or Inertial Navigation and MORE EMPHASIS
the GPS Spoofing scenario for what happened to the RQ-170 drone captured recently
by Iran.

One code name that's being bandies about seems to be "Copper Canyon" or
something like that. I have no other details other than it would PROBABLY look
more like the XB-47 than a Reaper/Predator Drone.
edit on 2013/2/27 by StargateSG7 because: more info

posted on Feb, 27 2013 @ 03:26 AM
Ok here goes. Back during the first Gulf War, AWACS kept reporting that the Nighthawks were talking to an "unknown" aircraft during their bombing runs over secure voice radio. Not being privy to the level of classification as the "unknown" aircraft had, the controllers were told to maintain radio silence during the bombing runs on Baghdad. So who/what were these mystery aircraft? Well if you believe John Lear they were the infamous F-19's supposedly built right alongside the F-117's, on the other side of the curtain. It's known that there was some sort of partition built in the hanger where the F-117's were built, however builders and engineers from opposite programs weren't allowed to know the information from the other side of the curtain

Fast Forward to Kosovo, reports came out of a lack of ECM support from aircraft because the stealths had to fly too deep into the territory to hit their targets and flying an EA-6B along side it would essentially give it up. Enter 9/11 and Enduring Freedom. The use of the F-117 was non-existant. Bombing were conducted by B-2's flying from Whiteman to targets in Afghanistan and back, some 36 hour flights, requiring multiple air refuelings and multiple pilots. On top of that, B-1's and B-52's were stationed at Diego Garcia to launch bombing raids and perform CAP missions, which usually exceeded 17-18 hours themselves for the bones.

And then something strange happened. In February 2003, members of the 340 EARS (Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron) all got together for a Commanders Call by the Wing Commander and a three star. The words were straight to the point. "In the next couple weeks, we need to maintain absolute OPSEC when talking to loved ones back home. Some pointy looking aircraft will be arriving, don't mind them any attention." I remember it like it was yesterday. I was one of a handful of booms there qualified to refuel the F-117 during the day and one of two qualified booms to refuel it at night. We led an extensive training program for the next few weeks leading up to Iraqi Freedom. Our sorties turned from combat missions to combat support training missions, getting as many booms as possible qualified on day and night refueling with the stealths. The hanger (if you can call it that) was directly across from the EARS squadron and everytime we went to work you could see the stealths parked there under cover.

Here's the interesting part, and a story I've told before on ATS. Behind the stealths was a...that's right....a partition! This "curtain" was guarded 24/7 by SF, most of which were forbidden to know what they were protecting. Then on the first night of Iraqi Freedom, some booms got to experience a once in a lifetime joy ride after the bombing raids on Baghdad, catching the F-117's and the "chase" on egress out of Iraq. We, as in the booms only with TS clearance, were briefed on refueling extraordinary aircraft in the event it would happen. Needless to say the pilots had no idea what was behind us. They thought that the normal stealths were behind us when in fact a plane most had never seen before and never will again accompanied them.

Ok long story short, no it's not an RF-117, in fact it looks nothing like it. It does follow the same stealth characteristics of stealth aircraft of the time period, i.e. the shapes and paint, etc. However, it's built for jamming, ECM, etc since the F-117 was left without ECM, hell it didn't even hell it didn't even have a radar!

So yes it does exist, and no I won't tell you what it's called, but there's a pretty good model of it online. Almost too good.

Couple questions for you Stargate, um the XB-47? First off, that plane was developed for the Army Air Force in the 40's lightly based off the B-29 airframe. If you mean the X-47B then thats a different story.

Also, A lot of us here on ATS think that the RQ-170 wasn't "hacked" and made to land in Iran by them but "planted" there with a virus (flame, stuxnet) to spy on their program that way. Look for Zaphod's thread on the irregularities between an actual RQ-170 and the plane Iran has.

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