I saw this stealthy "thing" at the Air Force Museum a few weeks ago. It was hard to photograph. The damn thing is still almost invisible! You can't see its means of propulsion from the public viewing spots.
Thanks for the feedback. I'm surprised SR-71 didn't overfly the Soviets. Years ago I had read a book on converted bombers that overflew the soviets in the 50's (some were downed) and I just assumed overflights continued in later decades.
Quote from: edkyle99 on 08/14/2009 02:10 PMI saw this stealthy "thing" at the Air Force Museum a few weeks ago. It was hard to photograph. The damn thing is still almost invisible! You can't see its means of propulsion from the public viewing spots.Teledyne-Ryan Compass Arrow
That's right! It was designed to overfly mainland *China*, at 78,000 feet, to photograph nuclear sites, unmanned. Its jet engine was mounted on top, and its underside was shaped to minimize radar cross section. This was an early "stealth" plane! It would have been air-launched from a C-130-something and recovered while it dropped under a parachute, by a helicopter. This was an extension of the Ryan unmanned drone effort during Vietnam. Teledyne-Ryan was all set to go, then Nixon went to see Mao and the program had to be shut down!
There's a picture of one of these pancaked on a highway somewhere. I think they had a flight control failure. If memory serves, that exposed the program. It is also shown, but not explained, in the book Lightning Bugs and Other Reconnaissance Drones. (There's a story behind that book. I don't know the full details, but apparently it was a classified drone history that somebody let get public by accident.)
1-Would it be fair to say the need for a winged vehicle to make a high speed intel run is history with the advance of sats? As much as I'd like to hope there was a follow on to the A-12, I just can't see what you could do that a sat couldn't.2-Tactical & loiter are another thing of course.3-I was wondering if anyone could recommend a good book on the P3 Orion that had to land in china? Any comment on how much damage was done or did the crew manage to take care of the critical items? Sorry for getting off topic.
In your last article you mentioned Dwayne Day watches too much bad television and needs to read more books.
Pratt & Whitney engineers obviously felt they had a superior product, but what happened to it and why probably requires further investigation.
You can download the report on the XLR-129 engine here:http://handle.dtic.mil/100.2/AD881744WARNING: this is a 17 megabyte file!
Interesting, if the Space Review article is correct all documentation on this engine was supposedly destroyed...