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Russian Spyplane Flights Over US  
User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 29511 times:

So, everyone knows that the US conducted spyplane flights over Russian territory during the cold war, most famously with U-2s and SR-71s. I don't know much about this topic, so pardon my ignorance, but did Russia ever conduct similar flights over the US?

And if so, what aircraft were used? Anything on a large scale like the US flights, or just a few random flights where they got lucky?

And if not, any idea why not? Were they not capable of developing aircraft that could fly through the airspace with immunity?

40 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinePtrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3921 posts, RR: 18
Reply 1, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 29546 times:

Nothing on any scale.
The Russians didn't have the aircraft for it, but then they didn't even try to build them.

The reason for this is simply that the need wasn't there, because of the openness of Western society. Not many things you can actually photograph from a plane were really secret in the West. Also, spies, once in, could travel around freely.

In the USSR, citizens could not even get a map of their home town, and in 1945, the Americans had very little in the way of maps, hence the big US effort.

Under General LeMay, the constant overflights were also pure intimidation. LeMay made a point of using bomber-type aircraft for it - he despised the U-2.

The Russians didn't complain much as that would show weakness, but in fact, they were always much annoyed and worried about it - it fueled the Cold War.

Read a British book, Spy Flights Of the Cold War by Paul Lashmar, if you're interested. It's fascinating.

Peter



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineJakeOrion From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 1253 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 29500 times:

From what I also heard is most flights were outside of Soviet airspace, but because the U-2 and SR-71 flew so darn high the could see the entire continent.

Of course, there were those flights that penetrated Soviet airspace, but most of those remain classified to this day (only lord knows why.)  Confused

Also, the Soviet Union focused on spy satellites.



Every problem has a simple solution; finding the simple solution is the difficult problem.
User currently offlineLehpron From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 7028 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 29448 times:

Quoting JakeOrion (Reply 2):
but because the U-2 and SR-71 flew so darn high the could see the entire continent.

Pardon my semantic involvment here, but at 15 miles up, considering the average radius of the Earth is 3956 miles, the farthest you could see (assuming line-of-sight) was just under 350 miles, 700 all around.

To see the entire continent of what was USSR, which was over 7,000 miles, you'd have to be orbit at least 2300 miles up -- hence the investment in spy satellites.



The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
User currently offline474218 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6340 posts, RR: 9
Reply 4, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 29445 times:

The SR-71 was never usd for overflights of the Soviat Union.

User currently offlineBushpilot From South Africa, joined Jul 2007, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 29436 times:

Quoting Ptrjong (Reply 1):
In the USSR, citizens could not even get a map of their home town, and in 1945, the Americans had very little in the way of maps, hence the big US effort.

I have heard since then that towards the end of the coldwar it was the US govmt who possessed the most accurate road maps of the Soviet Union. Anyone else heard of this?


User currently offlineAeroWeanie From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1608 posts, RR: 52
Reply 6, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 29465 times:
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Quoting Ptrjong (Reply 1):
The Russians didn't have the aircraft for it, but then they didn't even try to build them.

Actually, they did. The first generation high altitude strategic reconnaissance aircraft was the Yak-25RV Mandrake:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Peter de Jong



The second generation high altitude reconnaissance strategic aircraft were the Myasischev M-17 Mystic-A and Myasischev M-55 Mystic-B:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Christian Waser



View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Fyodor Borisov



Beriev was also assigned to copy the U-2, based upon the wreckage of Power's U-2. This aircraft, the S-13, never flew.

The MiG-25R surely counts as a high speed strategic reconnaissance aircraft:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Christian Hauser



They Soviets even tried to build a SR-71 like aircraft, the Tsybin Strategic-Reconnaissance Aircraft/NM-1 (RSR). A subscale technology demonstrator flew in 1959-1960.
http://airbase.ru/sb/russia/tsybin/rs/r/img/rsr_3.jpg


User currently offlineFlyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 29398 times:

Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 7):

Very interesting! Were any of these used to overfly US territory?


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29792 posts, RR: 58
Reply 8, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 29358 times:

Quoting 474218 (Reply 4):
The SR-71 was never usd for overflights of the Soviat Union.

They might not have offically said they did, but I am willing to put money down that they did, and haven't told anybody yet.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineAeroWeanie From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1608 posts, RR: 52
Reply 9, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 29358 times:
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Quoting Flyf15 (Reply 8):
Very interesting! Were any of these used to overfly US territory?

There was a report of a Tu-95 getting close to Langley AFB in 1980, but otherwise, there is nothing that I know of. For more info, see: http://home.sprynet.com/~anneled/ColdWar.html


User currently offlineBroke From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 1322 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 29267 times:

I had friends who were stationed on the radar site at Cape Lisbourne Alaska. They told me that they were regularly overflown, usually by Tu-16 Badgers. When they would launch an intercept from Elemendorf AFB at Anchorage, the aircraft would turn back out over the Bering Strait into international waters.
This was in the early 1960's and the unit at Elemedorf was equipped with F-102A's.


User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6484 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day ago) and read 29233 times:

Quoting Broke (Reply 10):
I had friends who were stationed on the radar site at Cape Lisbourne Alaska. They told me that they were regularly overflown, usually by Tu-16 Badgers. When they would launch an intercept from Elemendorf AFB at Anchorage, the aircraft would turn back out over the Bering Strait into international waters.

Too bad we never got to the point of having the F-22 operational during the Cold War. It'd be amusing to see the Soviets try that and then be lit up without their knowledge.



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineBroke From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 1322 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 29168 times:

Actually N328KF something like that did happen. In the early 1960's, 4 F-106A's went to Elemendorf AFB for cold weather testing. These aircraft were equipped with both VHF and UHF radios and with drop tanks.
Well, one of the Tu-16's came across the Bering Strait and the F-106A's were launched using civilian VHF frequencies and call signs. They climbed out in a cruise mode and went north.
They caught the Tu-16 while it was still in US airspace. Overflights stopped for a very long time while the Soviets tried to figure exactly what happened.


User currently offlineBushpilot From South Africa, joined Jul 2007, 0 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 29058 times:

Quoting N328KF (Reply 11):
Too bad we never got to the point of having the F-22 operational during the Cold War. It'd be amusing to see the Soviets try that and then be lit up without their knowledge.

Id rather have not seen that, especially being an Alaskan and living quite close to cape lisbourne. If there would have been a purposeful shootdown of either a russian or american bomber flying in international airspace would have led to events none of us want to imagine.


User currently offlinePtrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3921 posts, RR: 18
Reply 14, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 29039 times:

Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 6):
Actually, they did.

AeroWeanie, you're right of course. These aircraft never came close to US airspace, but they were there.

An interesting footnote is that the M-17 was originally designed not as a spyplane, but to shoot down US spy balloons at very high altitude.



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineMDorBust From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 29013 times:

Quoting AeroWeanie (Reply 6):
The second generation high altitude reconnaissance strategic aircraft were the Myasischev M-17 Mystic-A and Myasischev M-55 Mystic-B:

Is it just me... or does the M-55 look like it has an elongated SU-25 fuselage and engine section?


User currently offlineRC135U From United States of America, joined May 2005, 293 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 28976 times:

Quoting Bushpilot (Reply 13):
If there would have been a purposeful shootdown of either a russian or american bomber flying in international airspace would have led to events none of us want to imagine.

Check out Aeroweenie's link in post 9 above. You'll see that over the years the Western powers paid a pretty high price in lost aircraft over international airspace (not to mention the crews who usually didn't return).

For further information and lots of links check out http://www.silent-warriors.com/


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12134 posts, RR: 51
Reply 17, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 28944 times:

The USSR also over flew Shymia AB, in TU-16s, within 4 hours of the RC-135 Rivet Ball crash in 1969, to take pictures of the wreck.

User currently offlinePacificjourney From New Zealand, joined Jul 2001, 2732 posts, RR: 8
Reply 18, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 28920 times:

Sure they did !

And they still do, refueling at the UN... it's common knowledge.



" Help, help ... I'm being oppressed ... "
User currently offlineRC135U From United States of America, joined May 2005, 293 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (8 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 28881 times:

Quoting Pacificjourney (Reply 18):
Sure they did !

And they still do, refueling at the UN... it's common knowledge

Uh...KC135TopBoom is right about the Soviets flying by Shemya after the crash landing of the Cobra Ball on 13 Jan 1969. Minor detail - it was six hours not four hours later that the Badgers showed up. This link describes it a bit better from someone who was there at the time: http://www.6srw.com While the site is very descriptive of RC-135 recon ops, page eight relates to the crash landing and the subsequent overflight of a couple of Badgers.


User currently offlineRC135U From United States of America, joined May 2005, 293 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 28818 times:

Just a correction that it was indeed RIVET Ball that crash landed on Shemya, as KC135TopBoom stated. COBRA Ball is a later project. My bad...  Smile

User currently offlineJAXFLL From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 93 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 28775 times:

Quoting Pacificjourney (Reply 18):
Sure they did !

And they still do, refueling at the UN... it's common knowledge.

Isn't there an agreement between the US and Russia that both can overfly the other country's territory on short notice for surveillance reasons?


User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12134 posts, RR: 51
Reply 22, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 28774 times:

The funny thing about the Rivet Ball and Cobra Ball airplanes is that both carried the USAF MDS of RC-135S. This is very unusual because about the only thing the two airplanes had in common was they were built from the C-135 airplane. The Rivet Ball RC-135S started out in life as a KC-135A and had J-57 turbo-jet "steam-jet" engines (water injection). After the airplane crashed, some of the cameras were transferred to the new airplane. But, that was about it, as the Cobra Ball RC-135S (which started out in life as a C-135B, then became a WC-135B, equipped with TF-33 turbo-fan engines) had the "squerral cheeks", no bubble on top for an observer, and new, updated, recording and monitoring equipment.

BTW, the Cobra Ball also crashed on Shemya, but that was around 1976, or so. A new Cobra Ball RC-135S was built


User currently onlineSLCPilot From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 581 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 28764 times:

I guess this is an OK subject for this site and forum.


How about the "wandering" Aeroflot flights out of the US? While I know very little, it seems I've read at times they'd fly the route of their choosing on the way out. What did they overfly and did we know what they were gathering? Elint? Photos? Other?

SLCPilot



I don't like to be fueled by anger, I don't like to be fooled by lust...
User currently offlineUsnseallt82 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 4891 posts, RR: 52
Reply 24, posted (8 years 5 months 3 weeks 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 28291 times:

Quoting Flyf15 (Thread starter):
Russian Spyplane Flights Over US

Why would they? They just bypassed that step and went straight to putting missiles in Cuba. They didn't have the money for the expensive flights and had no real airbase to begin them from, that wasn't already on our watch-list. So, why waste the time when you can just cut to the chase and arm Castro?

Unfortunately, this was really their line of thinking.



Crye me a river
25 RayChuang : If I remember correctly, the Yak-25RV Mandrake was primarily used for flights flying just inside the Russian side of the Iron Curtain to look into Wes
26 Bennett123 : USNseallt82 My recollection is that when the missiles were pulled from Cuba, that US Jupiter IRBM were pulled from Turkey. However, I am not clear how
27 RichardPrice : Can you blame them, the US already had similiar range missiles in Turkey, so why not do the same thing? The USSR didnt always do things to be the nas
28 N328KF : I think it was more like surprise that we managed to let one of our guys get shot down. Nevermind that there were shootdowns before...just that this
29 GDB : RayChaung, are you sure that Mig-25R's were shotdown by the F-4/AIM-7? Because I remember hearing that in about 1971, Mig-25R's made Iranian overfligh
30 Post contains links AeroWeanie : Israel tried to shoot down the MiG-25Rs, operating out of Egypt, with the F-4/AIM-7 in the 1970s, but failed. The successful Israeli MiG-25 shootdowns
31 Post contains images Ptrjong : Why would the basing of tactical nukes in Cuba make the gaining of intelligence redundant? To the contrary - these things would need targets. And of
32 Usnseallt82 : Outdated Jupiter missiles. Not necessarily the same threat. You would think so. But why would it matter with nuclear missiles? They weren't trying to
33 Ptrjong : Before anyone corrects me, the missiles deployed to Cuba were not exactly tactical. No, you don't need spy flights to nuke the enemy capital. Nor did
34 Usnseallt82 : Apparently my comment went over your head, so I'll try to explain. I am well aware that Castro never had his finger on the triggers, but he was so sl
35 RC135U : Yeah, the Rock (Shemya) has been a bad place for RCs. The Ball crash that you're thinking of happened in 1981 with the loss of six crew. The Rock is
36 KC135TopBoom : Yeah, IIRC that was the one practicing MLS approaches into Valdez (at the time one of only two MLS systems in the US). It was some 6-8 months before
37 RC135U : I think someone from the 24th SRS at Eielson was determined to locate the crew remains and was part of the team that found the wreck about six months
38 Fumanchewd : Great link! Thanks!
39 Post contains links L-188 : Hell that airport still has a daylight only approach with at 4500 food decision height. That KC had no buisness going in there on a clear day. For th
40 RC135U : I'm sure you know the area pretty well. On the day the RC was lost they had flown two practice approaches to Valdez, but they started their third app
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