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Blackbird over the Middle East

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posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 09:25 PM
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A little more of the story of the Blackbird during the Yom Kippur War has come to the light of day. Col. Jim Wilson has recounted the story of his mission over the Middle East in 1973. During the Yom Kippur War Blackbirds were eventually used to give photographic intelligence to both the Israeli and Egyptian governments.

The initial losses by the Israeli forces were staggering, and American satellites coudn't get the intelligence fast enough, so the decision was made to launch SR-71s from New York, and recover in Great Britain after the mission ended. When the UK government was approached they immediately said no. So the Air Force was forced to alter the mission to launch from Griffis AFB in New York, and recover to Seymour Johnson in North Carolina, where the film canister would be put on a courier plane to Washington for processing and analysis.

Col. Wilson was backup for three flights, before flying his first mission, after more flights were added. The flight required five refuelings from 16 tankers.

Col. Wilson's mission launched at 2am on a moonless night. He flew the first 450 miles subsonic to clear the jetways, and refuel. After refueling (3500 gallons [71,000 pounds] from three tankers), he cruised across the Atlantic at Mach 3, until just short of the Azores, where he took on another 5,000 gallons from 2 more tankers (68,000 pounds). The third refueling took place short of Crete in bad weather.

Upon accelerating and heading towards Israel, the low oil pressure light lit up steady red. The only place for an emergency landing was Tel Aviv, which was the last place they could land. Upon pulling the throttles back, the light went out. He pushed the throttles back up, and after a few seconds the light went out again.

The rest can be read at the source. It makes for a very interesting read.


The following story, that has been circulating on mailing lists and forums for a few days, recalls secret mission by a U.S. Air Force SR-71 during the Yom Kippur War in 1973. It was written by Col. Jim Wilson, a former Blackbird pilot who has written a self-biography titled “SR-71 Mission to the Middle East”.

I found it extremely interesting because it recounts strategic range spy missions over the Middle East; something that is quite current, considered the tensions in Syria and the risk of an eventual U.S. attack on Damascus Chemical Weapons arsenal.

I’ve slightly modified the piece (that may be a book’s teaser), to make it shorter than the version received via email.

Egypt and Syria opened an offensive against Israel [in late '73] and launched a coordinated series of air, armored and artillery attacks into the Sinai and Golan Heights.

[...] The initial Israeli military losses were significant. And the Israeli’s reaction included an urgent call for assistance from the United States.

At that time, our reconnaissance satellites in space didn’t have the capability to provide Israel with the immediate and adequate intelligence necessary to assess and defend against the enemy.

So we prepared SR-71 Blackbird missions to zoom over the active battlefields then recover in Great Britain.

The mission fell within the Blackbird’s capabilities although such a logistically difficult and long mission had never previously been accomplished.

[...] The English instantly refused any Blackbird post-mission recoveries in England.

So Plan B was quickly drawn up fly the SR-71 out of upstate New York and recover at Seymour-Johnson, North Carolina.

theaviationist.com...




posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 09:57 PM
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Thank you very much. That was a good read. And I'll be saving that site.



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 10:25 PM
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reply to post by Bigburgh
 


From what I can remember, a treaty was basically rammed down the throats of everyone involved at the conclusion of the war. The US gave both sides images from the Blackbird flights showing the other sides forces, so they knew they were withdrawing, and not building up for another round.



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 10:48 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


I'm gonna go digging. I wish we had a replacement for these recon flights. As a child I grew up near Edwards and have seen the blackbird flying over only 3 times. I loved this aircraft. I love reading how they were produced and transported to NV. I just in the last couple of years, I'm coming across more stories.

From time to time I'll check Google maps and drop in on Edwards, Beale, Creech, Tonapah, just to see if I might catch a glimpse of something new. I've only gotten lucky a hand full of times. But disappointed only to come across more drones.

I remember a time we use to be good at recon. And the info obtained was amazing. Maybe there is something in the works. But an article the other day I read suggested otherwise. I wish I could remember the article



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 10:52 PM
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I would have mentioned area 51 but that Google image never changes. Just 2 JANET'S 4 F-16s and 2 Apaches.



And one lone Dash-8
edit on 1-9-2013 by Bigburgh because: forgot a plane



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 11:34 PM
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E-6? Thanks again your thread has lead me to the aviationist. I like this site. It's helping with the little missing puzzle pieces.

When I first came to this site yrs ago ( like 2 to 3 tops )It was for my quest in finding something new in aviation. My search lead me here to ATS. As a kid I loved flying. As I got older I'm scared senseless. One day I took the yaw and love it. However I find if I'm not flying an aircraft myself.....I panic.



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 11:49 PM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by Bigburgh
 


From what I can remember, a treaty was basically rammed down the throats of everyone involved at the conclusion of the war. The US gave both sides images from the Blackbird flights showing the other sides forces, so they knew they were withdrawing, and not building up for another round.


Were you around at the time. What you posted is an event from 1973. I'd say you're well spoken. But this is a thread so I'll have to say well written.

I only arrived in 74. So I come to rely on 1 career army great uncle. 5 career navy uncles, 1 air national guard father. So it seems you're doing homework. Keep posting! I hope to keep coming across for more good info.
edit on 1-9-2013 by Bigburgh because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 1 2013 @ 11:54 PM
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reply to post by Zaphod58
 


Very cool!



About 2,000 miles across the Atlantic, I peered with awe as the sun came up right in front of my eyes giving me an incredible view.

Man, I wish I could've flown in one of these birds............ That would be a sight.

S&F



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 12:04 AM
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I know I love how colonel Wilson described the red light encounter twice. Made me clinch a bit. That's one heck of a round trip for a pilot with no McDonald's or basic restroom amenities. Colonel Wilson definitely painted a picture in my mind.



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 12:13 AM
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reply to post by Bigburgh
 


I wasn't around at the time, but I spent my life on Air Force flight lines (literally). I was....8 the first time I got to go up to a Blackbird. It was amazing to see. I had no idea what I was going to see, my father called home and asked us to come down to his work to see something. He opened the door for us to walk through, and the most stunning airplane I had ever seen in real life was sitting in front of me. We went into the hangar, and he looked at the guard, and motioned, and the Guard said "Sure." We hopped the ropes, and were under her looking everywhere we could reach.



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 12:15 AM
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reply to post by Bigburgh
 


A friend of ours was flying the PACAF Commander out of Hickam on a trip to Asia. When they launched, the fire warning light came on, so he yanked the throttles back, dumped fuel and turned around. They ran engines, couldn't find anything wrong, reboarded the plane, and tried again. Rotated, fire warning light came on. He pulled the throttles back, light went out, pushed them up, it stayed out. PACAF Commander (4 star) looked at him and said "Well Captain....What are you going to do?" Our friend looked at him with a totally innocent expression and said (deadpan), "About what sir? I didn't see anything." General Baisley looked at him and said "Good choice."



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 12:24 AM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by Bigburgh
 


I wasn't around at the time, but I spent my life on Air Force flight lines (literally). I was....8 the first time I got to go up to a Blackbird. It was amazing to see. I had no idea what I was going to see, my father called home and asked us to come down to his work to see something. He opened the door for us to walk through, and the most stunning airplane I had ever seen in real life was sitting in front of me. We went into the hangar, and he looked at the guard, and motioned, and the Guard said "Sure." We hopped the ropes, and were under her looking everywhere we could reach.



Lucky you! The closest I got was at the Smithsonian at Dulles and the one in the parking lot at CIA Langley. Lol you got up close personal when it was active. AWWW indulge me did it have that new Radar Absorbent Smell!!!



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 12:29 AM
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reply to post by Bigburgh
 


This one had come through a thunderstorm and had some problems. It had that "broken airplane" smell.



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 12:37 AM
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What's written is it relied on low observable design a speed to evade threats but also early form of Radar Absorbent Material.



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 12:39 AM
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broken airplane! Ha! Here in the burgh our broken plane smells like foam spray and duct tape. But you got a fresher wiff! Lol

And previously eaten chilli!
edit on 2-9-2013 by Bigburgh because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 12:44 AM
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reply to post by Bigburgh
 


There was a tiny bit of RAM on it, but they used more primitive methods in some cases, including from what I've heard lead in the leading edges to absorb radar. They even put Cesium in the fuel to try to hide the exhaust plume from radar.



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 12:49 AM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by Bigburgh
 


There was a tiny bit of RAM on it, but they used more primitive methods in some cases, including from what I've heard lead in the leading edges to absorb radar. They even put Cesium in the fuel to try to hide the exhaust plume from radar.


I did not know that. Though it would make sense for its use in drilling. Keep the heat down I would imagine. Thanks for that info.
edit on 2-9-2013 by Bigburgh because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 12:50 AM
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reply to post by Bigburgh
 


One of the things that really amazed me when I was younger is that the thing leaked like a sieve on the ground, but it heated up so much in flight the leaks stopped. It was several inches longer after flight, than before it, until it cooled down.



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 12:51 AM
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Quite surprised the SR 71 wasn't allowed to land in the UK werent they based at Mildenhall at one point ? I missed my chance as a youngster to see the SR71 in flight, it was at the royal international air tattoo one year when I was a little nipper. I missed it because I was asleep



posted on Sep, 2 2013 @ 12:54 AM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by Bigburgh
 


One of the things that really amazed me when I was younger is that the thing leaked like a sieve on the ground, but it heated up so much in flight the leaks stopped. It was several inches longer after flight, than before it, until it cooled down.


Yes as the craft heated and expanded the leaks stopped. That was fuel leaking.





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