Lockheed Blackbird

Beyond the Secret Missions – The Missing Chapters

Lockheed Blackbird cover

Lockheed Blackbird

Beyond the Secret Missions – The Missing Chapters

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The SR-71 Blackbird is an iconic aircraft that has come to symbolize America's technological superiority during the Cold War. Using recently declassified information, globally renowned expert Paul Crickmore updates his definitive account of the aircraft.

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird ranks as one of the most elegant, sleek and powerful aeroplanes ever designed. But it was not built to be admired – it was built not to be seen at all. The high-altitude aerial reconnaissance sorties it was to perform were top secret and carefully concealed from public knowledge. However, as the aircraft have become museum pieces and details of their work declassified, the whole story of their design and operation can finally be told.

This updated edition of Paul Crickmore's classic Lockheed Blackbird: Beyond the Secret Missions is based on 850 pages of documentation and images declassified by the CIA covering the A-12 Oxcart programme. These highly significant documents range from discussions at the highest levels of the US government concerning the rationale for Oxcart's development and eventual deployment, to extremely detailed intelligence data gleaned from each of the 29 operational missions flown by Oxcart during Operation Black Shield.

The Blackbird family of aircraft continue to fascinate a wide age group and, since the aircraft will never fly again, its history has become timeless. This new edition will provide the last word on the SR-71 Blackbird and its operational history.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The Requirement
Chapter 2 Rainbow and Gusto
Chapter 3 Oxcart
Chapter 4 Area 51
Chapter 5 Progress and Politics
Chapter 6 Black Shield
Chapter 7 Tagboard and Senior Bowl
Chapter 8 Kedlock
Chapter 9 Technical
Chapter 10 From RS to SR and Beyond
Chapter 11 AFLC, Maintenance, Mishaps and Recoveries
Chapter 12 Beale Operations
Chapter 13 OL-8 Operations During the Vietnam War
Chapter 14 Det 1 Operations Post the Vietnam War
Chapter 15 Det 4 The Early Years
Chapter 16 Det 4 at Pace
Chapter 17 The Barents
Chapter 18 NASA
Chapter 19 Shutdown
Chapter 20 Legacy
Appendix 1 Black Shield Missions
Appendix 2 Black Shield Elint Log
Appendix 3 Def Locations
Appendix 4 Det 1 Deployments
Appendix 5 Det 4 Deployments
Appendix 6 Blackbird Disposition
Appendix 7 SR-71 Commanders and Awards
Appendix 8 Air Force Logistics Command SR-71 Flight Crew History
Appendix 9 Chronology
Appendix 10 Losses
Appendix 11 Records
Acronyms and Abbreviations

Product details

Published 23 Nov 2023
Format Hardback
Edition 3rd
Extent 528
ISBN 9781472851383
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 200 black and white and 200 colour illustrations
Dimensions 312 x 240 mm
Series General Aviation
Short code GNA
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Paul F. Crickmore

Paul F. Crickmore is the author of the much-acclai…


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