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American Spy Plane Questions  
User currently offlineCannibalZ3 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 392 posts, RR: 0
Posted (12 years 9 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 3206 times:

There was a special type of KC-135 that was built to fuel the SR-71, but I was told recently that a KC-10 could also be used. Are there no special modifications needed to carry SR-71 fuel?

The temperature of the SR-71 skin must get fantastically hot, hot enough to melt paint. How do you paint one of those things?

Under what circumstances are SR-71s and U-2s used? Is there any kind of replacement or equal?

I understand that the radar warning receivers on U-2s are highly classified, suggesting some very interesting systems. Is it possible they are supported by RC-135s or something?

Have any of you ever seen a U-2 or SR-71 in flight? Or, god forbid, flown one or dealt with one operationally?

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30403 posts, RR: 57
Reply 1, posted (12 years 9 months 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 3163 times:

The paint on the SR-71 was developed for the aircraft. I understanding developing the colored paint for the national insignia was a pain.

The Q model was the version of the KC-135 that carried the SR-71's fuel. Somebody else will have to get into specific differences though.

The electonic suits on any of those aircraft vary based on mission, and when the last time it was updated.

Seen the U-2 a couple of times at airshows, that is it.

User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 30403 posts, RR: 57
Reply 2, posted (12 years 9 months 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3140 times:

Oh I forgot to add that if you look at photos of the original A-12 aircraft, you will see that a lot(all?) of them are natural metal on the leading edges.

User currently offlineBungle From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (12 years 9 months 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 3151 times:

I believe that all the KC135Q tankers were converted to KC135T after the SR71 was retired.
I have not heard of any KC10s modified to carry the special jp7 fuel the SR71 required.
Im not sure what modifications were done to the KC135Q but the SR71 fuel has to be preheated before fueling the A/C.

User currently offlineLt-AWACS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (12 years 9 months 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 3136 times:

I've worked with U-2s before, and drove in the recovery car once, though we only hit 105-110 mph. I was hoping to go faster  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

It is interesting to see the ice on the wing tips, but the fuselage is hot hot hot.- and yes most of it is classified.

Rivet Joints are in the their own field. I recommend Bob Archers book "US Air Force- The NEw Century" which has great info on the many RC varients.

There is no replacement for the U-2 though the RQ-4 is used in the many of the same ways.

The USAF webpage has some basic details.

Ciao, and Hook 'em Horns,
Lt-AWACS, Yankee Air Pirate

User currently onlineSpacepope From Vatican City, joined Dec 1999, 3366 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (12 years 9 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 3132 times:

The main diference between the KC-135Q and -T versus the -E and -R are that the tanks that carry the offloadable fuel are seperated from the ones that the tanker uses. This eliminates the possibility of the tanker trying to use JP-7, which has a much higher flashpoint than Jet-A or equivalent feuls, and is unuseable by the tankers engines.


The last of the famous international playboys
User currently offlineCX747 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 4551 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (12 years 9 months 6 days 8 hours ago) and read 3097 times:

The U-2 program is currently having its cockpit upgraded as there is no replacement in site. When the SR-71 program shut down, the U.S. lost a great asset that has not been replaced.

"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid." D. Eisenhower
User currently offlineCannibalZ3 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 392 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (12 years 9 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3111 times:

Does anyone know how much these things cost to operate?

User currently offlineBobrayner From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2003, 2227 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (12 years 9 months 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3086 times:

$50m per year budgeted for the reduced fleet of 3, a few years ago.

Cunning linguist
User currently offlineKROC From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (12 years 9 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3083 times:

I was stationed at Beale AFB, home of the U-2's here in the states as my last Air Force assignment. I was lucky enough to be able to sit in the cockpit of a U-2, and ride in the case car a couple of times with my Commander. He even let me drive once. Hard to believe that the U-2 is 1950's technology and it is still going strong today!

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