FAS | Intelligence | Programs | Mystery Aircraft | Search | Join FAS

FAS FAS Project on Intelligence Reform Mystery Aircraft


The record of previous secret aircraft programs offers useful insights when considering recent reports of secret aircraft.

U-2 Senior Year

The U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft was developed in response to Air Force requirements established in the fall of 1952.<1> Lockheed was selected to develop the aircraft for the Central Intelligence Agency in November 1954, and the first prototype flew in August 1955 from Groom Lake Air Force Base in Nevada. The first operational overflight of the Soviet Union was conducted on 4 July 1956. While there was no Soviet reaction to this first flight, the second mission shortly thereafter produced a strong (though secret) protest from Moscow. Regular flights over Soviet airspace continued until a U-2 piloted by Francis Gary Powers was shot down on 1 May 1960.

The existence of the U-2 was never in doubt, since the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (the predecessor of NASA) announced on 7 May 1956 that the airplane would be used for civilian scientific research. This remained the cover story for the U-2 until Powers was shot down, and it was not until 1970 that NASA actually obtained its own U-2 aircraft for research purposes.

CL-400 Suntan

The mystique of the Lockheed "Skunk Works" is based on a public perception of an unbroken string of successes, notably the U-2 and SR-71. What is much less well known is that these successes were punctuated by a singularly unsuccessful (and expensive) effort in the late 1950s. Following the completion of the U-2, Lockheed proposed to build a plane that would surpass the U-2 in high-altitude, long-range performance, while adding high speed to reduce vulnerability to enemy defenses. The focus of this effort was an aircraft known as the CL-400 Suntan (Figure 1).<2>


This high-performance reconnaissance aircraft was to be capable of flying at Mach 2.5 with a range of 2,500 miles. Two prototypes were to be delivered to the Air Force within 18 months. The aircraft was to be propelled by new jet engines developed by Pratt & Whitney, fueled with liquid hydrogen.

By mid-1957 the Air Force had allocated nearly $500 million (at 1992 prices) for the program, and ultimately spent as much as $1.2 billion on the program. But as work progressed, it became apparent that the aircraft would not be able to meet revised Air Force range requirements of over 3,300 miles, and the program was canceled in February 1959. The existence of the program was not revealed, however, until 1973.<3>

It was only after the Suntan project failed that Lockheed turned to what became the SR-71. Although Suntan was a failure as a military reconnaissance airplane, the work done on its hydrogen propulsion system laid the groundwork for subsequent application of this technology for space rocket propulsion efforts.

SR-71 Senior Crown / Blackbird

The genesis of the SR-71 (Figure 2) program can be traced to 1954 when the US Air Force received an unsolicited proposal for a three-stage propeller-turbine powered aircraft fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen. A contract was subsequently awarded to the Garrett Corp. to further explore technological possibilities of such an aircraft. Lockheed-California Company was a subcontractor on the project.<4>


By 1957 the resulting research had metamorphosed into a CIA funded program, which began production in 1962. At various points in its existence this aircraft was termed the A-11, A-12 [not to be confused with the much later Navy A-12 bomber], YF-12A, Senior Crown, Blackbird, Ox Cart, and Habu. To accommodate more sensors and crew, the program went through modifications that would eventually turn it into the SR-71. Because of its impressive technological advances, and the CIA connection, the SR-71 was shrouded in secrecy. According to one report, even the Joint Chiefs of Staff were kept in the dark.<5>

The aircraft's existence wasn't officially acknowledged by the Johnson administration until 1964, when it was unveiled to counter election year charges by Republicans that the Administration was not doing enough in the field of continental air defenses.<6> Once it had been announced, however, the Johnson administration "became unusually secretive" about the A-11 (as the aircraft was mistakenly called) and refused to elaborate further on its mission or its capabilities.<7> Top Air Force and Defense officials, including Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, refused interviews. When pressed, McNamara referred to the aircraft as an "air defense interceptor." Contemporary analysts considered this both a political effort to defuse a sensitive election campaign issue and an attempt to further obscure the SR-71's sensitive Cold War reconnaissance mission.

What had been largely ignored in this debate was that the possible existence of a high altitude Mach 4 reconnaissance aircraft had been reported as early as 1960. The SR-71 wasn't a secret among those interested in the state of aerospace technology. The posited aircraft would incorporate a combination of a very slender fuselage and an "almost glass smooth skin" to improve lift/drag ratios. The parallels between what was reported in one August 1960 Aviation Week article, and the final SR-71 are striking.<8>

Aviation Week
Length 107' 100'
Wing Span 55' 60'
Ceiling85,500' 90,000'
SpeedM 3.35 M 4.0
Range 3,250 mi 4,000 mi

These early press speculations, the first official revelations of the existence of the program, and the wealth of information that subsequently emerged, did little to compromise the contributions of the SR-71 to the American intelligence community. For over a quarter of a century, the SR-71 remained an important reconnaissance asset, clearly demonstrating the irrelevance of secrecy to the successful performance of this mission.

Thus the decision to terminate SR-71 operations was the occasion of considerable controversy. A primary issue was cost. Total operating costs for the SR-71 were estimated variously at between $200 million<9> to $400 million each year.<10>

The Air Force proposed ending the SR-71 program in late 1987, noting that satellites were available to provide the intelligence product supplied by the SR-71.<11> Even so, in 1988 Congress restored funding for the airplane. In 1989, however, the House Armed Services Committee prevailed in deleting funding for the program. Thus SR- 71 flights concluded in late January 1990, with 3,551 operational sorties having been conducted since operations began in 1968.<12>

Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, the Senate Armed Services Committee sought to restore the SR-71 to flight status in support of Operation Desert Shield.<13> However, despite continued Congressional pressure following the initiation of combat operations in Desert Storm, the Air Force concluded that there was no need for such an augmentation, and the SR-71 remained grounded.<14>

D-21 Senior Bowl

A little known complement to the SR-71 piloted aircraft was the D-21 reconnaissance drone program.<15> Powered by a Marquardt RJ43-MA-11 ramjet, this vehicle was capable of reaching speeds in excess of Mach 3.6 at an altitude of over 30 kilometers, with a range in excess of 2,000 kilometers. Carrying a film reconnaissance pod, it was intended to fly high over hostile airspace and eject a film cassette for processing at the end of its mission. As many as 38 of these vehicles were built in the early 1960s.

Initial plans called for the D-21 to be launched from atop a specially modified SR- 71, designated M-21. However, during the first attempt at level-flight release, the D-21 drone collided with the M-21 mother ship, resulting in the loss of both vehicles. Subsequent plans called for the D-21 to be carried in pairs beneath the wings of a modified B-52 carrier aircraft, using auxiliary rockets for achieving the high speeds needed for its ramjet engine to operate.

Despite these modifications, the D-21 flew only five missions before it was retired in 1973. The marginal success of these flights over China was far outweighed by the high cost of the program,<16> whose mission had, in any event, been overtaken by the progress of satellite reconnaissance technology.

F-117A Senior Trend / Nighthawk

In response to the heavy air-crew casualties suffered during the Vietnam conflict, a variety of small experimental aircraft were tested in the 1960s and 1970s to determine the feasibility of "stealthy" aircraft- vehicles incorporating design and materials technologies to reduce radar cross-section and obscure the signature of the aircraft.

The pattern of secrecy - public speculation - politically motivated acknowledgement - and denial set by the SR-71 program was repeated in the 1980s as well. While the F-117A program was officially acknowledged by the Reagan administration in November 1988, the program had been announced by President Carter nearly a decade earlier.<17>

In the summer of 1975, the first report claiming that a small stealth fighter was being developed by the Air Force was published. Six months later, a second aviation journal said that "high priority was being given to the incorporation of stealth technology into fighter designs."<18> The number of references to stealthy aircraft continued to grow over the following three years.

As the number of reports and speculation increased, President Carter's Secretary of Defense Harold Brown held a press conference to clarify the reports about stealth aircraft. While he intended to provide a fire-break, Brown's confirmation of media speculation caused a maelstrom of Republican criticism. What was ignored, however, was that reports published years before gave much more detailed information than either the stories of 1980 or Brown's press conference.

Ignoring the fact that the F-117 had been officially recognized by the Carter Administration, President Reagan moved the program back into the black upon assuming office in 1981. Administration officials began referring to the aircraft as a "paper airplane," and "wishful thinking."<19>

While it was impossible to pull the wool over the eyes of aerospace junkies and journalists, this tactic did keep them guessing about the aircraft's precise design and capabilities. Despite the uncertainties, throughout the early to mid 1980s, press reports, commercial plastic models and other speculation were accurate more often than they were not. Although the veil of secrecy was not completely opaque, it took some time to correct several misconceptions concerning the program. For example, the designation of the program remained somewhat obscure. Noting the numerical gap between the F/A-18 Hornet and the F-20 Tigershark, it was commonly assumed that the stealth fighter's designation was F-19. Other reports suggested that the program was code-named Senior Prom. However, by 1987 these misconceptions had largely been resolved.

Second, a more fundamental misconception related to the overall configuration of the vehicle. Based on first principles, it was assumed that the aircraft had rounded surfaces to reduce its radar cross section, such as were later incorporated in the more sophisticated B-2 and A-12 aircraft. Thus it came as something of a surprise when it was revealed that the F-117A had a faceted configuration. This misconception was derived from an overestimation of the state of the art in stealth design in the 1970s. Computational capabilities of that period were only able to analyze the radar signatures of relatively simple faceted aircraft designs. The use of more stealthy complex curved surfaces awaited the improved computational powers of the 1980s.

Despite these misconceptions, during the early 1980s an increasingly coherent picture of the stealth fighter program emerged. And at no point during this period was there any serious question in the public reporting as to the actual existence of the program. The credibility of the reports of the existence of the program was substantially increased by the crash of one of the aircraft in 1984, and another crash in 1986.

By the late 1980s the program entered a stage of development that facilitated public observation. As the aircraft began to take to the air they invariably drew public attention, despite the intense effort to keep them secret. Congressional inquiries into hundreds of missing contractor documents, films and photographs dealing with the aircraft were also difficult to cover-up.

A number of rationales have been suggested for the Reagan Administration's re- unveiling the F-117A in 1988. One explanation is that the Reagan White House delayed the re-unveiling to wait for timing that would avoid the political overtones of Carter's election year announcement. Another theory is that the re-unveiling was a damage limitation exercise, with officials deeming it better to officially inform the public of the F-117A rather than have the details wrung-out during an ugly court case involving Lockheed employees suing the government over alleged work-related injuries.<20> Perhaps the most compelling rationale for disclosure was that as the Air Force was thrusting the B-2 into the limelight to gain public and congressional support for that ailing project, there were fewer and fewer reasons to keep the F- 117 in the dark.

But the 1988 unveiling of the F-117A has not answered all the questions surrounding this program.

How many F-117As were originally planned? A total of 59 were actually produced, with crashes having reduced the fleet to 56 aircraft. Press reports variously suggested that 72,<21> 90,<22> 100,<23> or more aircraft were originally planned, though the number was reduced due to concerns over costs.

What mission was originally planned for this aircraft? With a program cost of nearly $150 million per aircraft (in 1992 dollars), the F-117A is many times more expensive than comparable aircraft, such as the $20 million F-16, and is able to carry only a fraction of the bomb-load of its non-stealthy brethren. While the F- 117A gave a good account of itself during Desert Storm, this was more a function of its precision bombing capability than its stealthiness. Apart from technological inertia, the basis for the initial decision to procure the F-117A remains obscured by folds in the parted veil.


The Air Force was not alone in developing a new stealthy attack aircraft. Plans for the Navy's A-12 combat aircraft called for incorporating more advanced stealthy characteristics than were used in the F-117A, as well as significantly greater payload capabilities. The Navy's A-12 Avenger Advanced Technology Aircraft (ATA) was slated to replace current A-6s on aircraft carriers in the mid-1990's.

But on 7 January 1991, Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney canceled the program, in the largest contract termination in DoD history. By one estimate the A-12 had become so expensive that it would have consumed up 70 percent of the Navy's aircraft budget within three years.<24>

The Navy originally planned to buy 620 of the McDonnell Douglas/General Dynamics aircraft, with the Marine Corps purchasing an additional 238 planes. And the Air Force at one point considered buying 400, at an average cost that was estimated at close to $100 million each. The A-12 was designed to fly faster and further than the A-6E, and carry a large bomb-load in internal bomb-bays to reduce drag and maintain a low radar cross-section.<25> As with the Advanced Tactial Fighter (ATF), the A-12 was expected to have greater reliability than current aircraft (double that of the A-6E), and require half the maintenance manhours.

The A-12 proved to be the most troubled of the new American stealth aircraft in large part because of problems found in the extensive use of composites in its structure. These composites did not result in anticipated weight savings, and some structural elements had to be replaced with heavier metal components. The weight of each aircraft exceeded 30 tons, 30% over design specification, and close to the limits that could be accommodated on aircraft carriers.<26> The program also experienced problems with its complex Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar system,<27> as well as delays in its advanced avionics components.<28>

The full scope of these problems were not appreciated at the time of Defense Secretary Cheney's Major Aircraft Review, which slowed the production rate and dropped 238 Marine Corps aircraft, leaving the original total Navy buy of 620 aircraft. Cheney also decided to delay for over 5 years the Air Force buy (from 1992 to 1998), which was decoupled from the Navy project.<29> Subsequently, the A-12 contractors revealed that the project faced serious engineering problems and a $2 billion cost overrun, which would delay the first flight by over a year, to the fall of 1991, and raised the unit cost substantially.<30>

At first blush, the A-12's performance capabilities would have been in roughly the same class as existing aircraft. The key improvement over existing aircraft, not inherently obvious when comparing specifications, was stealth. While today's radar can detect existing naval aircraft at a range of 50 miles, the A-12 was designed to remain undetected until approximately 10 miles away. This would result in significant operational and survival benefits for the A-12 since defenders would have little opportunity to engage the aircraft once detected so close to the target. The A-12's reduced radar cross section would have been derived, in part, from carrying its ordnance internally. While the top speed of the more visible F/A- 18 and A-6 would be significantly reduced by the drag induced by external weapons carriage, the internal weapons bay on the A-12 would provide no impediment to speed.<31>

Because it is doubtful that upgraded existing aircraft will be able to fulfill all of the A-12s requirements, Navy officials decided to get fresh bids for a new A-12, dubbed the AX.<32> The Navy estimates the AX to cost $150 million per unit as opposed to the A-12's $165 million price tag.<33> In FY 1992, the AX program will receive over $100 million.<34> To facilitate this program's implementation, the Navy reportedly quizzed the Air Force on how it resurrected the B-1 after President Carter's cancellation.<35>

The AX's capabilities were scaled back from those of the A-12. The AX could be termed "A-12 lite" as its range, payload, and particularly its stealth requirements will all be more modest than those of the A-12.<36> The Navy has emphasized the strike role at the expense of the air-to-air mission in the new program, rather than trying to "cover all the bases" and produce an aircraft that could perform numerous roles -- the ambition that proved to be the A-12's undoing.

B-2 Advanced Technology Bomber/ Stealth Bomber

While the stealth bomber is noted for its invisibility to radar, for many years it was equally invisible to public scrutiny. The secrecy surrounding this project, ostensibly intended to protect technological secrets from the Soviet Union, also hid from American taxpayers an expensive project of dubious merit. This secrecy, in combination with the fascination with the technical sweetness of the project, has obscured the more fundamental questions of the ends to which this technological effort is being applied.

The Stealth Bomber project was first unveiled by the Carter Administration in the heat of the 1980 Presidential campaign, in response to Republican criticism of the decision to cancel the B-1A bomber. This political use of information on classified aircraft had clear precedent in the release of data on the SR-71 by the Johnson Administration during the 1964 election.

Although the precise origins of the B-2 remain shrouded in the mists of military classification, its initial public debut was highlighted by political controversy. There were only rumors until August of 1980 when the Carter Administration, which had canceled the B-1 bomber and was being criticized for being too soft on defense, revealed the existence of a stealth bomber program. Then Secretary of Defense Harold Brown announced at a press conference that the United States had flown a plane which "...cannot be successfully intercepted with existing air defense systems."<37>

Outside of the Defense Department, only a select few Members of Congress from each of the Armed Services Committees were provided any detailed information on the stealth program prior to its unveiling in 1988. While most Members lacked sufficient information to raise questions about the project, many protested the secrecy that kept them in the dark, challenging the wisdom and propriety of procurement under the "black" budget. Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger said in February 1986, "We have made a great deal of information available in closed hearings to the appropriate committees...But I'm certainly not prepared to discuss the stealth program any further than we have in the presentations, simply because we don't think the Soviets have any need or right to know."<38>

Rep. Mike Synar, (D-OK), led opposition to the excessive secrecy surrounding the program. He warned that "covert full-scale production of Stealth could be a disaster...the secrecy of the program ... prevents the Congress from exercising its oversight responsibility."<39> "I had to jump through hoops to get the special clearance, and it's left a very bad taste in my mouth," he said. "The Air Force has done basically everything they can to keep me from learning about this program...I think its important that all Members of Congress review what could be the most expensive weapons system in the history of this country."<40>

Democrats were not the only legislators opposed to excessive secrecy. On Synar's side is a self-proclaimed Hawk, Rep. Robert Dornan (R-CA), who says, "I don't know anything about it, and this is not right. This program has been held secret to the detriment of Congress being involved in an intelligent procurement process."<41>

Jeffrey Record, at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis in Washington, concurred. "They've long since passed the point where they can justify that on the basis of national security. It's like talking to an empty chair with the ATB. It's so secret that it's been shielded from the scrutiny that it will have to face eventually."<42>

And William H. Gregory of Aviation Week & Space Technology wrote in February of 1985:<43>

"Grounds do exist for classifying configurations of aircraft like the advanced technology bomber...Hiding the program funding has less obvious grounds. While it may conceal from the Soviets the production and operational status of the program, it also conceals from the U.S. citizen-contributor how much stealth technology costs."

Two missions for the B-2 finally emerged from the veil of secrecy. Some argued that the B-2 was needed to offset improvements in Soviet air defenses, and that the exertions the Soviets made to augment their air defenses to counter the B-2 would inhibit their efforts in strategic offensive and conventional forces. Others argued that the B-2 was needed in order to attack Soviet mobile missiles such as the SS- 24 and SS-25. But neither of these arguments in favor of the B-2 proved particularly compelling.

One of the principal arguments in favor of the B-2 was its improved ability to penetrate Soviet air defenses. Casper Weinberger, then Secretary of Defense, stated in the 1986 "Annual Report to the Congress" that, "As Soviet defenses become more formidable, we will deploy the ATB to carry out the most challenging penetrating bomber missions."<44>

The "economic warfare" model of strategic modernization has been often invoked to support new weapons systems, but there is scant evidence to support this proposition. The original decision by the Carter Administration to deploy air- launched cruise missiles was justified in part by the notion that the Soviets would spend vast sums of money to offset this new threat. But the only visible Soviet response to the deployment in 1983 of these new missiles was the transfer of half of their strategic air defense interceptor aircraft to other duties. In fact, the Soviets appeared to invest a constant amount of money in upgrading their air defenses, independent of changes in the strategic threat. And it is far from apparent that this long-standing historical pattern will change in the face of the B-2.

The B-2 began life in the late 1970's as a replacement for the B-52, with the relatively straight-forward mission of penetrating Soviet air defenses. But by the early 1980's a more challenging requirement was added - attacking Soviet "strategic relocatable targets" such as mobile ICBM's. Gen. Bennie L. Davis, former SAC chief, stated in the spring of 1985, that the "...advanced,state-of-the-art bomber offers the best potential for dealing with the growing threat posed by Soviet relocatable weapons systems."<45>

But this new mission required the addition of a large radar to the bomber, leading to an extensive redesign of the aircraft's wing structure, and greatly complicating its ability to elude Soviet defenses.

Doubts about the ability of the B-2 to perform its intended mission were expressed by the Defense Department. In the 1987 Posture Statement by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the B-2 was described as having the capability, "...to penetrate Soviet airspace and attack the full range of fixed and relocatable targets" (emphasis added).

But the 1988 Posture Statement downgrades this claim, asserting that the B-2 will be able, "...to attack the full range of fixed targets and present an increased threat to some relocatable targets (emphasis added)."<46>

With the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union, the case for the B-2 has become increasingly problematic. In the aftermath of the Desert Storm air campaign against Iraq, B-2 proponents focused on the potential contribution of the aircraft to conventional bombardment.

The Air Force contended that the B-2 would have been a much more cost effective delivery system than existing bombers in contingencies such as Desert Storm.<47> Defenders of the B-2 claimed that a pair of stealth bombers would have the same military effectiveness as a fleet of 75 conventional attack aircraft and their supporting jamming and refueling aircraft.

Proponents of the B-2 also pointed to the 1986 raid on Libya. It was suggested that a mere 6 stealth bombers could have delivered the same ordnance that was delivered by 84 combat aircraft with 35 support aircraft and a pair of aircraft carrier battle groups.<48>

While originally requesting 132 aircraft, the Bush Administration lowered its sights in 1991, reducing the requested fleet to 75 aircraft. Skeptics in the Congress proposed to halt the program at the 15 aircraft previously approved. Although debate continues in 1992, it is clear that no more than 20 stealth bombers will be built.

The case for buying a larger fleet of B-2's for the conventional attack mission foundered on two fundamental flaws. First, existing attack and bomber aircraft were generally regarded as having performed adequately during Desert Storm. In the absence of a perception of significant shortcomings in the current force, it was not apparent that a new bomber was needed.<49> Second, proponents of the B-2 made the case that a handful of these aircraft could replace a much larger number of conventional aircraft for missions such as the raid on Libya. This argument backfired, however, for it suggested that the 15 aircraft previously approved by Congress would be more than adequate for such "Silver Bullet" roles.

Like the A-12, the B-2 was ultimately a victim of the end of the Cold War. Conceived and nurtured in politically inspired secrecy, the program could not withstand exposure to the light of day, which revealed a singularly weak case for its continuation.


<1> Miller, Jay, Lockheed U-2, (Austin, Texas, Aerofax, 1983).

<2> Sloop, John, Liquid Hydrogen as a Propulsion Fuel, 1945 - 1959, (Washington, US Government Printing Office, 1978), NASA Special Publication SP-4404, Chapter 8 Suntan, remains the primary source of information for this program.

<3> Rich, Ben, "Lockheed CL-400 Liquid Hydrogen-Fueled Mach 2.5 Reconnaissance Vehicle," NASA Langley Research Center Symposium on Liquid Hydrogen-Fueled Aircraft, 15 May 1973.

<4> Miller, Jay, "Lockheed SR-71," Aerofax Minigraph 1, Midland Counties Publications, 1983, page 2.

<5> Atwater, James, "The Great A-11 Deception," The Saturday Evening Post, 2 May 1964.

<6> Streetly, Martin, "US airborne ELINT systems Part IV: the Lockheed SR- 71A," Jane's Defense Weekly, 13 April 1985, page 634.

<7> Atwater, James, "The Great A-11 Deception," The Saturday Evening Post, 2 May 1964.

<8> Butz, J.S. "Mach 4 Plane Could Be Built With Current Technology," Aviation Week, pages 55-60.

<9> Dornheim, Michael, "US Reconnaissance Weakened By SR-71 Program Termination," Aviation Week & Space Technology, 22 January 1990, pages 38- 41.

<10> "AF Reaffirms Decision to Kill SR-71 Program in Light of Gulf Crisis," Defense Daily, 27 August 1990, page 319-32

<11> Amouyal, Barbara, "Pentagon Cuts SR-71 Funding; Congressional Supporters Plan Inquiry," Defense News, 30 January 1989, page 18.

<12> "SR-71 Retirement is Marked at Beale Ceremony," Aerospace Daily, 2 February 1990, page 211-212.

<13> "Senate Authorizers Pushing for SR-71 Gulf Role," Defense Daily, 15 October 1990, page 74.

<14> "SR-71 Supporters Turn to Bush to Revive Program in Face of Cheney Stonewall," Inside the Air Force, 8 February 1991, pages 1, 4.

<15> Drendel, Lou, SR-71 Blackbird In Action, (Carrollton, Texas, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1982), Aircraft No. 55.

<16> "High Performance D-21 Drone Used with Blackbird, B-52," Aviation Week & Space Technology, 22 January 1990, pages 42-44.

<17> Cunningham, Jim, "Cracks in The Black Dike," Air Power Journal, Fall 1991, page 16.

<18> ibid.

<19> ibid, page 23.

<20> ibid, page 27.

<21> "Soviets Advance Stealth Fighter Technology," Tech Trends, 3 February 1986, page 1.

<22> "Senior Trend," Aviation Week & Space Technology, 19 December 1988, page 15.

<23> Wilson, George, "Air Force Plans to Hide Secret Fighter," The Washington Post, 21 March 1987, pages A1, A6.

<24>Schemmer, Benjamin, "Will Stealth Backfire," Armed Forces Journal International, January 1991, page 4

<25> "Iraq's Invasion of Kuwait Illustrates need for A-12 Avenger, Navy Says," Inside the Pentagon, 23 August 1990, page 18.

<26> 'A-12 Weight Creep Continues; Composites Disappointing," Aerospace Daily, 24 August 1990, page 319.

<27> "Norden Says GD Admits it Can't Prove A-12 Subcontract Default," Aerospace Daily, 30 August 1989, page 369-370.

<28> "First 200 ATAs to Fly With A-6 Avionics, Lawmaker Says," Navy News & Undersea Technology, 14 March 1988, page 8.

<29> "Major Aircraft Review," Inside the Pentagon, 27 April 1990, page 7-8.

<30> "A-12 Makers Are Running Out of Cash," Defense Week, 1 June 1990, page 1, 13.

<31> Wartzman, Rick, "Cheney's Bomb Rattles Aerospace World," The Wall Street Journal, 9 January 1991, page A2.

<32> ibid.

<33>"Development, Production Cost of 575 A-X Planes Put At $86.3 billion, Aerospace Daily, 15 May 1991, page 261.

<34>"AX funded for over $100 million in FY'92," Defense Daily, 4 February 1991, page 169.

<35>"Navy To Release RFI For A-12 Replacement Within A Month," Aerospace Daily, 29 January 1991, page 153.

<36>"Future of Naval Aviation Begins With Issuance of A-X RFP," Inside The Navy, 2 September 1991, page 8.

<37> "Stealth Aircraft," International Combat Arms, November 1985, page 11.

<38> Aerospace Daily, 10 February 1986, page 217.

<39>"Stealth Bomber Costs Questioned," Defense Daily, 27 June 1985, page 323.

<40> David Morisson, "Top Secret Stealth Bomber May Fly into Heavy Congressional Turbulence," National Journal, 11 January 1986, page 6

<41> ibid. page 67.

<42> ibid. page 69.

<43> ibid. page 69.

<44> ibid. page 69.

<45> ibid.

<46> Mark Thompson, "Stealth Plane's Cost Rises as Expectations Fall," Philadelphia Inquirer, 5 March 1988, page 3.

<47> "Air Force White Paper Details Hypothetical Role of B-2 Bomber in Iraq War," Inside the Pentagon, 14 March 1991, pages 6-8.

<48> Goodman, Glenn, "USAF's Case for the B-2 Open's Pandora's Box for the Navy," Armed Forces Journal International, September 1991, page 5.

<49> Knobloch, Kevin, and Brower, Michael, "B-2 or not B-2," Knoxville News- Sentinel, 2 June 1991, page F-1.

FAS | Intelligence | Programs | Mystery Aircraft | Search | Join FAS

Maintained by Steven Aftergood
Created by John Pike
VRML from Ocnus
Updated Tuesday, May 14, 1996 - 8:47:12 PM