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EO 12958 3.3( EO 12958 6.2(

26 September

1967

MEMORANDUM FOR: SUBJECT:

Committee Comparison

on Imagery

Requirements

and Exploitation

of SR-71 and A -12 Aircraft

'1. In response to a request from the Chairman, COMIREX the Director, NRO Staff has made available information pertinent to the comparison of the SR-71 and A-l2 aircraft. It is requested that members study this information and be prepared to discus s it at the COMIREX meeting on 28 September. Attached are a number of charts and a partial inventory of the assets of each program. NRO notes that:
a. With respect to aircraft performance alone, there is little difference in range between the two aircraft. The A -12 will have an altitude advantage of from 2,000 to 5,000 feet over the SR-7l at the same MACH number since it is a lighter aircraft. On the other hand, the SR-71 is a multisensor aircraft capable of integrated photographic, high resolution radar, infrared, and electronic collection while the A -12 carries only a single major sensor package on each mission. With regard to the problem of surveillance of No rtb, Vietnam for surface-to-surface missiles, the photographic sensors are the primary and probably the only s en s or s applicable; it appears to me that both aircraft sensor systems are adequate for this task. b. Aircraft performance figures shown ori page 3 of the attachment were obtained from the program offices and represent best current as ses sments of maximum capabilities of these aircraft. The actual current operations with these aircraft are at somewhat lower performance because of conservative operational practices with respect to fuel reserves and margins with respect to red-line speed limits. Partly becaus e of the longer period of operational training and experience with the A-12, the operational limits are currently somewhat closer to the maxima. However the current operational limitation of the SR-71 to MACH 3.0 is primarily due to heating limitations on the sealant for the wingtanks. B YE- 56580-67 APPROVED FOR RELEASE Copy 4, ( of 59 DATE: AUG 2007 OXCART

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c, In order to provide a basis for comparison of the intrinsic aerodynamic performance of the two configurations, Lockheed was asked to provide data bas ed on their flight tests and extrapolations from such tests. Thes e data are presented on pages 4 to 8 of the attachments, The current levels of performance of both aircraft are somewhat better in range and 'poorer in altitude than the Lockheed data. Improvements in inlets and inlet controls, propulsion system, fuel management techniques, e.t c . , which have been accomplished or are in process account for the small variations in performance figures which may be obtained from various sources. d, The radar cros s section of the two aircraft in a clean configuration is relatively low for both the SR-71 and the A -12, The SR-71 in its full sensor configuration is somewhat higher due to its larger size and appreciably larger with the side-looking radar antenna installed, but this will not increase vulnerability to the S -Barid, SA -2 significantly, providing installed ECM systems are utilized, Bas ed on simulator test results, it appears that the probability of kill in North Vietnam is nil for either aircraft with presently utilized configurations and flight profiles, as long as the ECM techniques used remain viable. In any event, if it should be <concluded that the radar cross section is too I:Hig,hforany particular operation, the side -looking radar can be removed from the SR-71; the same limitations would apply to optional use of a side-looking radar on the A-12.

Committee Attachments 10 charts Copies 2, 3 4

Hayden Channing ~ Executive Secretary on Imagery Requirements and Exploitation

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5,6,7,8

9, 10
11, 12

13; 14, 15, 16 17, 18
19,20,21

State TCO DIA (Mr. Hughes) DIA TCO OACSI TCO aNI TCO AFNIN TCO NSA TCO NRO TCO

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,CURRENT PERFORMANCE COMPARISON
SR-7l
Range between tankers 3050 NM

A .. 2 1
3000 NM
,:.;::":--"::-

Penetration altitude (Initial cruise altitude) End cruise altitude Spe~d (MACH)*

74,000 Ft 83,000 Ft 3.2

76,000 Ft 85,000 Ft 3.~

This above data has been· provided by the respective program offices.,

the 'present time it should be noted that the SR-7l is being flown at MACH 3.0 for training and ~he A-12 is nor.nally flown at MACH 3.1 with correspondingly lower figures fo'rother items of performance shown above •

* At

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COMIREX-D-12.1/1

PERFORMANCE Initial Cruise MaXimum Altitude to Range
!\:4.CH

Initial Cruise Altitude to 80,400 75,400

Altitude 89,400 84"";400

Maximum

3.0
A-12

72,000 70,500

~,5;8 2,648

S::\-71
:·:';CH 3.1

A-12

74,000 72,250
. "'t'

2,629 2,709' ,

81,450 77,400

90,;50 86,200

SR-71
:':'';'C:-l

3. 2

A-12 SR-71

76,000 74,000

2,700 , 2,770

82,500 79,400

91,700 88,000

Above performance has 'been provided by 'LOCKHEED based on their flight test data and as such are comparable.
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COMIREX-D-12.l/l

COMPARATIVE CONFIGURATION Configuration Technical Objeotive Camera Operational Objectiv~ pamara Terrain Objeotive Camera Bigh Reso1utio~ Radar Infrared Camera ELINT/ COMIm EWS
, I,

SR-71
2 2 1 1 1 1 ·3**

A-12 1*
0 0

SLR

1* 1* 1 3***

*

The SR-71 systems may all be carried and used on a single mission. Either the camera or the inf~ared system or radar sensor may be carried with the ELINT/COMINT system in the A-12. The SR-71 will be equipped with CFAX, APR 27 and System 13C. note 3 on ItECM EqUipment" char-tv) (See

**

*** The A-12 is configured with 3 EWS systems (PIN pm, BLUE DOl and either BIG BLAST or MAD MOTH) without removal of other sensors. Configuration with three systems provides redundancy should failure occur in any system.

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m:(KCART COMIREX-D-12.1/1

AIRCRAFT SYSTl!NS
SR-71 Operational Aircraft Technical Objective Camaral Operational Objeotive Camera
4..

19

A-12 6 10

15 36
18

Terrain Objective 9amara Infrared Oamara2 Side Looking Radar2 Gamma Spectrometer

.

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8 17
III

1 2 1

ZLI~'T Package?

4
19

9,

}~ssion Recording System Birdwatcher

13 204

ECM

285

l In the above table, the different types of A-12 cameras are lumped
as "technical objective" cameras (Type I - 7; Type IV and SLR was discontinued

3).

2 Because of the phase-out decision on Oxcart, the testing of the IR
in July 1967 for monetary savings. systems are available for reactivation if required.

Both

:3

Seven signal intercept Packages and two Systems VI oomprise the A-12 equipment.
;.?R-27

4

130 0FlJ.

-6 -5

-

9

5 PIN PEG

,3L1JE DOO

-8 II - 8 BIG BLAST -6 1IuU> MOTH - '6

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• COMIREX-D-12.l/l

SENSOR CAPABILITIES System Design Reso feet A-12 SR-7l Achieved Resolution-ft A-12 SR-7l liinear Coverage Mi A-12 SR-7l Swath Width lid. A.:.Jg SR-7l
6.3.** .
.'

I

Tech Obj Type I

Type IV

1.S
2

1.0

0.63

0.9 1.07

0.9

2800

2500 1690-

2140

2@5*

/' 39,'

Oper Obj Ter Obj Infrared Radar NOTE:

1.5 16.;

2000

-

_ -~30 21

16.5 .

8500 4250 10,200
1500 20 20

40
10X20

85
30

60

90
30

28

50

,;1.2X21 50

4000

Achieved resolutions represent the best achieved on a single £rame for the sensor, concerned. *Two 5 nm swath widths located up to 19.5 miles on either side of track. **The Type I camara is cUrrently employed for North Vietnam coverage. ***The 20 mile swath Width may be taken out to $0 miles on either side of the aircraft, one side at a time. The 10 mile swath width to 65 miles on either side of the aircraft.

The A-12 currently employed for coverage of North Vietnam is configured with the Type I camera. With this camera the A-12, With one pass over North Vietnam, produces on a single film strip, high resolution optical photography ~~th a 63~~ swath width. Resolution, depending on atmospherics, varies from 1.0 foot at NADIR to 2.5 feet at 25NM from NADIR to 3.0+ feet at the outer edge. Hith the SR-71, both the Technical Objective (TO) Camera and the SLR can operated at various range offsets either by pre-programming or under the control of the Reconnaissance Systems Officer on board the aircraft. The A-12 :~S different cameras, equivalent in mission to the TO camera, anyone only two of ",m.ch can be carried on a photographic mission as needed. Detailed performances and modes of operation and the choice will be determined by the particular needs of the mission. The A-12 has the capability of carrying a gamma spectro~ter or particulate samplers as auxiliary equipments.

oe

This data has been provided by the respeotive program offices.
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GOMIREX-D-IZ.l/l

Copy

1 22 23 24-26 27,28 29 30 31-40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55-59

DCI TCO for USIB /S TCO London DDP TCO CIA COMIREX Member C/ICRS Special Center TCO IRS ReqBr /RecceGrp Asst Ops/NPIC COMIREX Staff D/IAS TSO CIA DDS&T ASA/DI D/oSI

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