Sunday, April 21, 2024



  I was scrolling social media earlier today and stopped to read this post which had the accompanying image...

 Link <<

The SR-71 was NOT CANCELED because of the Russian/ Soviet SA-5 missile. My father and his fellow RSOs and Pilots were not worried about being shot out of the air. You have to remember that the SR-71 had more than just cameras. SR-71 had big ears. The Electronic Warfare (EW) suite listened to the radar targeting frequencies for the missiles from the missiles. There were EW antennas throughout the SR 71. Even at three times the speed of sound, The antennas would pick up the radar pulse.
The SR 71 had a very clever deception jammer. The system received a tracking radar pulse, fiddled with it, and returned it. The returning pulse was just a little stronger. The enemy would be tracking the SR 71 and would find the location, but it was FALSE. The deception jammer had drawn the trackers away from the real SR 71. The enemy thought they were tracking, and in some instances, they felt they had a straightforward kill.
But the real SR 71 was far, far away. This interests me because my father, Colonel Richard “Butch” Sheffield, and Bob Spencer collected the SA 5 radar frequency in 1971. The SR-71 was soon after this risky flight (within a few feet of Russia) able to jam the SA 5.
The other reason for the early cancellation of the SR 71 was the Generals were jealous because they ( Two of them) were rejected from the SR 71 program before they were made General. They were so vindictive that they did not promote Lieutenant Colonels to full Colonels who deserved it. They demanded that the special orange flight suit be taken away from the SR 71 Crewmembers.. it was unprofessional and wrong what the two Generals did at the Pentagon. This is the information given to me by the pilots and RSOs who flew the SR 71.
Between the jamming system, the speed, and the altitude, I believe there was no chance of a shootdown. Of course, there could’ve been one million lucky shots, but that never occurred.
Source: BlackBird Rising: birth of an Aviation legend.
Paraphrased by~ Linda Sheffield



  1. Why aren't those 2 generals now E-1's and wearing chrome bracelets?

  2. yeah. saw shit like this first hand back in 78. there where 3 army generals watching us put the Carl G 84mm thru the paces. they could have not cared less. the 2 Marine generals where different. They got down in the dirt and fired it.
    asked us lots of questions and Took notes (??) . asked us no bullshit questions about how WE felt about it.
    it was worlds better than anything we had then. but we didn't get it. in the early 1980's we got the Dragon instead.
    a wonderful overpriced POS that didn't do 1/10 of what the Carl G did. and for a lot less money too !
    so, image how I felt watching the "news" in 2003-4 and seeing the Carl G in action with SF troops in the sandbox and them saying how wonderful it was. funny how that shit works ? I wonder who got paid off on the dragon POS ?
    the Carl G had like a dozen different rounds it could shoot. came in a 2 shell carrier that you could attach to your rucksack with no problem at all. and a back up iron sight for the optic too. it was fool proof and worked.
    but we didn't get it. so, yeah. I understand all too well how fucked up the military is.
    kind pf funny that the Carl G is still in use today , but the Dragon is in the waste bin. you never hear about that POS. dave in pa.

  3. I believe that Brian Shul took that photo. I have heard this story in person:

  4. At this point they are probably worm food.

  5. The SR-71 was one of the most amazing things ever made with wings, and one of the most beautiful as well. The engineering to conceive and create such a machine is mind boggling.

    1. Kelly Johnson was such a genius. The materials he had to learn to work with, the math to figure out exactly what dimensions to make certain panels that didn't even seal off at ambient temperature but stopped leaking after the friction of zipping through the atmosphere expanded them, creating a design that Could be shoved through the atmosphere at those speeds and survive the temperature and the Pressure of pushing through the drag..
      Only to discover it was destroyed by two petty egos ,, I didn't hear that the reason for retiring them fear of being downed. That ridiculous on its face. Military thinking is Everyone is expendable. Easy enough to destroy ev. Pilot punches out? Timer waits a while, blows the plane.

    2. I will often go to Tucson to the aerospace Museum and sit on a bench near the SR 71 display and I too am in aww of this most wonderful creation

  6. Meh. Sounds like the typical "I not a guy who said ..."

    Cost was a huge issue. Special fuel for the SR-71 only. Air refueling wings (multiple) dedicated to only the SR-71 at several location across the globe. Unique engine long out of production. Airframe getting tired. Several airframes lost putting further demands on the remaining airframes.

    I'm not saying there were no other nefarious things going on, but the cost of the program was very high. The generals may have had it in for the program, but they had a lot of factors on their side for cancelling it. Spite alone doesn't cut it in my book.

    1. And don't forget the special KC-135 tankers and support crews to keep the Blackbird fed in flight.

    2. Satellites were starting to do amazing things as well at that time. I always heard it was cost of sat vs sr-71 that was what killed it.


    3. The Black Bird had become a maintenance nightmare. The compromises required by the design also meant things like constantly leaking fuel unless the air skin was hot and so close up the seams. The things leaked fuel in the hanger and was a constant mess to clean up.

      It had become to expensive to maintain, and far too expensive to replace. That is why the U-2 is still flying.

      I have no doubts there were jealous officers. That was something the USAF, and the services as well, has long had a problem with.

      The problem with satellites is that an ephemeris is easy to generate and so things can be hidden before it makes to your facility. It also makes it easy to knock down in war, unless you are willing to expend some of the Delta-V available to you, and that is a very limited thing.

    4. And camera stabilizers were the final death knell. In the end, the imagery was becoming unreadable.

    5. I heard that CIA got most of the intelligence from the blackbirds and the Air Force got the bill. Dad was a squadron commander at Beale. We knew Brian Shul he was a cool cat. I played soccer with several kids who’s dads flew SR’s
      Air Force brat

  7. Many years ago, my Dad worked at a FAA Long Range Radar installation. The facility was for Controllers to pass on aircraft to the next facility or to an airport. One night I was visiting (the good old days when I could) he took me to 4 radar consoles, they spanned the US. Dad said watch that dot on the far left. I did, and watched it go across the Continental US. Amazing. One night he also took in and said the blip was a Quiet Flight, bring back Soldiers from VietNam for burial.

  8. My absolutely favorite plane of all time.

  9. ...another grand machine, designed before computers, never duplicated since. - Nemo

  10. All technology ages, the SR-71 took advantage of that but then it fell victim of the same thing. Things like A-10s stay alive due to constant innovation, like entire avionics and wing replacement. The SR-71 was a purpose built system that had a very narrow use. Satellites were a big reason for it's demise, but costs were huge. The bottom line the military industrial complex doesn't run on yesterday's accomplishments.

    1. Those of us who were in the AF and involved with Electronic Warfare really could not discuss much - some respected and still do respect their security clearances. The SR71 was an electronic wizard. Why then is the B52 still alive and kicking? Technology evolves, engines evolve, the equipment packages downsized and become more efficient and effective so to think the SR-71 lost it place because of aging Tech does not fly. The SR71 was born from the YF-12 Interceptor.

      The Air Force today is not what it was when I was in during the 70s. It turned into the US Woke Force.

  11. Who were the genrals if the author makes the calim at least name them!!

  12. Fuel leaked when on the ground, by design. Been in my top 5 for most of my life. Even had an Estes rocket model

  13. Amazing engineering.

    However, the name of the game now is 'Hypersonics'...and we're way behind.

    Part of the 'ISR': Intelligence/Surveillance/Reconaissance effort in war evolution, ie. Ukraine.

    While 'tech' is is the human 'intelligence' part.

    We got offtrack in the 80's as the SR-71 was aging with eggheads rationalizing 'We got satellites that can read a license plate from space.' at the expense of maintaining human intelligence (HUMINT).

    Somebody shoulda told 'em license plates don't fly themselves into skyscrapers.

  14. In the 90s, Aviation Week published three articles implying the Air Force had a classified replacement for the SR-71. In maybe 2-3 years, three highly credible, unrelated witnesses wrote in describing a jet that was a cross between an arrow head and an hour glass, with doors on the spine, like the space shuttle. Speculation was that the new jet launched low-earth orbiting satellites.

  15. B.S. flag thrown.
    Nobody "killed" the SR-71.
    It flew a faster NYFC to LA time the month it was officially retired than it had done the year it was built.

    And as for spoofing Russian SAMs? Yeah sure, they did that. But mainly, they just accelerated, and watched them drop off without being able to catch the SR-71 in the first place.

    If you think we - not just the nation, but the intelligence agencies - let it pass by the wayside because of some pencil dick at the Pentagon, I've got a bridge for sale, cheap, for cash.
    That story is pure Grade A horsesh....., er Rose Fertilizer.

    The SR-71 was retired because we developed something far, far better, with specs even the -71 couldn't ever hope to match.

    They really should make this news item required reading in school, for all the times I've had to drag it out and rub people's noses in it:
    That one's behind a paywall, but this one isn't.

    TL;DR? The gist is simple:
    Cal Tech seismologist Jim Mori kept seeing a peculiar pattern: shakes across California, always on random Thursday mornings, and always before 7a.m.
    Between computers and GPS, with thousands of seismographs from Oregon to Mexico, he drew connecting lines from each station, minute by minute and second by second.

    What he found wasn't an earthquake; it was sonic booms, in a chevron-shaped pattern ascending straight north from out over the Pacific Ocean, on a direct beeline to the AF base at Tonopah, NV (home of the F-117 stealth bomber squadrons, among other things).

    Except based on the speed of progression, whatever was shaking the ground was coming in for a direct approach landing at >4000 MPH. Mach 6.

    That's certainly not any F-117. And it's not an SR-71, which tops out around Mach 4.5.
    Popular Science picked it up as well as the L.A. Times.

    Though the Air Farce refused to confirm or deny it, it was obvious to even Stevie Wonder, as far back as 1992, that they'd developed an aircraft that could fly around at Mach 6, and didn't want to bring it in during broad daylight.

    A mysterious black triangle shaped aircraft that no one has claimed has been noted and photographed (distantly, and fuzzily) flying in formation with a KC-135 tanker and a couple of F-111 escorts at high altitude over the UK.

    It's Aurora, or whatever the Air Farce actually named it, and it goes anywhere, anytime, and is an order of magnitude more untouchable than the Blackbird.

    Bear well in mind that the SR-71 was flying and had replaced the U-2 for years before the USAF ever admitted it existed publicly.

    This time, they're not even copping to owning this one.

    Couple this with Russia and China pushing to develop hypersonic missiles over the last two decades.

    So if you think we dumped the SR-71 for politics, instead of because we had a yuuuuugely better intel platform, that we've been flying as needed in near secrecy for almost 30 years, please go back to watching Saturday morning cartoons.

  16. Oh Yea, Fond memories of the Great Habu. That fuel leaking while on the ground MFer at Kadena AB.

  17. Well, no matter if it was replaced, retired, or whatever, it still remains the blackbird is an impressive plane.


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