The SR-71 Blackbird

The CIA A-12 Blackbird Program

 

The A-12 started out as an USAF interceptor to replace the cancelled F-108A Rapier. In October 1962, CIA authorized the Skunk Works to study the feasibility of modifying the A-12 to carry and deploy a reconnaissance drone for unmanned overflight of denied areas. The project was codenamed TAGBOARD.

A-12 (0924) First Flight

A-12 (0924) First Flight

The A-12’s first flight–unofficial and unannounced in keeping with a Lockheed tradition–took place on 25 (26?) April 1962 and almost caused the loss of the only OXCART aircraft built so far. 

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First Sustained Flight at Design Limits

First Sustained Flight at Design Limits

On Feb 3, 1964, an A-12 Blackbird flew March 3.2 at 83,000 feet for 10 minutes

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SR-71A First Flight

SR-71A First Flight

The first flight of an SR-71 took place at the Air Force Plant 32, Palmdale, Calforinia

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First Flight of M21 (SR-71) Carrying D-21 Drone)

First Flight of M21 (SR-71) Carrying D-21 Drone)

First Flight of SR-71 and M-21 carrying D-21 drone

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First Operational Black Shield Mission over Vietnam

First Operational Black Shield Mission over Vietnam

Mel Vojvodich (CIA) flew A12 #937 out of Kadena on the First Operational Black Shield Mission.

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A-12 Blackbird Confirms USS Pueblo Seized by Korea

A-12 Blackbird Confirms USS Pueblo Seized by Korea

On January 23, 1968 the USS Pueblo was seized by the North Korean government. Confirmation was made by an A-12 Blackbird.

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The SR-71 Secret Sonic Boom Message Over Vietnam

In 1964 during the Vietnam War U.S. aviators were captured by the North Vietnamese. Paul F Crickmore shares the story of how two SR-71 Blackbirds generated tri-sonic booms to free captured US prisoners of war in his book Lockheed Blackbird: Beyond the Secret Missions (Revised Edition).

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