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Author Topic: TR-3 "Black Manta"  (Read 18300 times)

Offline Orionblamblam

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2014, 03:27:57 pm »

- A legend is born!


The "TR-3" is the result of some bad information and conjecture that has grown over time into it's own legend.

You and your "facts" and your "logic..."



Seriously, though, good summary. It's a damn shame that debunking is not as effective as bunking.
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And so the endless circle of life comes to an end, meaningless and grim. Why did they live, and why did they die? No reason. Two hundred million years of evolution snuffed out, for in the end Nature is horrific and teaches us nothing

Offline xstatic3000

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2014, 04:21:56 pm »
Agreed - great summary as usual.

I'll argue that this forum is still the definitive resource for open-source information about AARS.

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2014, 01:08:09 am »
I have a copy of the Aviation Week TR-3 article from 1991. Attached.


It is by William B. Scott - with "research assistance by Joseph Jones", the author of "Stealth Technology - The Art of Black Magic". So there's a direct link back to one person.


Reading it, it seems to be essentially talking mixing up scraps of info on Tacit Blue, Tier 3 and unclassified studies into a single aircraft.


THAP drawing:


« Last Edit: May 06, 2014, 01:46:43 am by PaulMM (Overscan) »
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Offline CJGibson

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2014, 02:40:49 am »
Aye, but who is/was Joseph Jones? I wrote to him via the publisher of his book and got no response. Probably normal situation, but I thought it odd back then.

Chris

Offline Skyblazer

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2014, 04:23:09 am »
Not the article I was thinking about. The TR-3 was mentioned briefly in passing in the middle of a long interview by some official.

Offline xstatic3000

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2014, 04:31:03 am »
I've always been curious about that as well, especially since nothing much has ever surfaced about him beyond what's been posted here. Apparently, he's been derided here as a notoriously poor source of information, going back to the early days of this forum

Joseph Jones' book "Stealth Technology -the Art of Black Magic" gets a kicking on this forum. 20/20 hindsight methinks.
1) Who was J. Jones?
2) Was it a nom de plume?
3) Did anything in his book turn out to be correct?

1) Self-proclaimed "insider", who was IMHO a bit too confident about his findings and alleged sources  ::)
2) Yes
3) In all the speculative paragraphs and chapters, I can't say that he got more correct data than anyone else at that time. He has the usual speculations ("Aurora", "THAP"), plus a few which I haven't seen elsewhere (Northrop "TSA" (Tactical Stealth Aircraft),  Lockheed "SCM" (Stealth Cruise Missile)). So far, none of these speculations have have been shown to be accurate. On the other hand, the book doesn't include the slightest hint towards the TACIT BLUE, which was secret then but is no longer now.

Apart from that, I had extensive e-mail contact with Jones around 2002/03, and had to find out that he is a bit too fast with his assertions and speculations (he tried to "sell" me some of his "facts" on aircraft designations - bad idea  ;D ). Also, I know that he had completely wrong ideas about the "Bird of Prey" project (claimed - a few years before its revelation - that it involved a heavily modified F-15).

All said, I don't regard J. Jones as a reliable source at all  8).

Regards
Andreas

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2014, 04:39:25 am »
Not the article I was thinking about. The TR-3 was mentioned briefly in passing in the middle of a long interview by some official.


Stephane, if you think about what you are remembering (a transcript of an audio interview, presumably) what do you think the chances are that the official said "TR-3" and not "Tier-3"? I think not very high. If its not clear to a non-native speaker, "Tier" and "TR" are very close phonetically - in New Zealand or South African accents they are almost identical for example. If the AWST person had heard of "TR-3" but not "Tier-3" its an easy mistake to make.
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Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #22 on: May 06, 2014, 04:45:26 am »
It was a reasonable collection of mostly real interesting concept drawings drawn from e.g. AIAA proceedings, Airforce reports, journals like Interavia, Flight, AWST and other non-secret sources, interspersed with rumours, conjecture, and wild speculation.


Possibly some forum members may still be in contact with him.
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Offline Skyblazer

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #23 on: May 06, 2014, 06:14:13 am »
Stephane, if you think about what you are remembering (a transcript of an audio interview, presumably) what do you think the chances are that the official said "TR-3" and not "Tier-3"? I think not very high. If its not clear to a non-native speaker, "Tier" and "TR" are very close phonetically - in New Zealand or South African accents they are almost identical for example. If the AWST person had heard of "TR-3" but not "Tier-3" its an easy mistake to make.

At that time I was a regular subcriber of AW&ST and a secret plane geek (and a lifelong designations freak for as long as I can remember). Believe you me, the sight of the designation "TR-3" in that interview is something I can never forget. Now there is of course a definite possibility that it was ill-transcribed by AW&ST and that the official actually said Tier 3, but it did appear in the page as TR-3 all right, a brief mention in passing.

And as someone else put it, even if it was Tier 3 it was still an acknowledgement that such a program was under development.

Offline Jeb

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2014, 08:24:48 am »
Stephane, if you think about what you are remembering (a transcript of an audio interview, presumably) what do you think the chances are that the official said "TR-3" and not "Tier-3"? I think not very high. If its not clear to a non-native speaker, "Tier" and "TR" are very close phonetically - in New Zealand or South African accents they are almost identical for example. If the AWST person had heard of "TR-3" but not "Tier-3" its an easy mistake to make.

At that time I was a regular subscriber of AW&ST and a secret plane geek (and a lifelong designations freak for as long as I can remember). Believe you me, the sight of the designation "TR-3" in that interview is something I can never forget. Now there is of course a definite possibility that it was ill-transcribed by AW&ST and that the official actually said Tier 3, but it did appear in the page as TR-3 all right, a brief mention in passing.

And as someone else put it, even if it was Tier 3 it was still an acknowledgement that such a program was under development.


AW&ST is an interesting thing. I knew a senior person there back in the early 2000s; he told me in conversation once that the magazine heard lots of interesting little tidbits about this and that off-the-record and without enough attribution to take to press (e.g. hypersonics, black stealthy platforms), but they came from people who would know. And he wasn't the type to pull *my* leg. He also told me that they had real heartburn over a couple of stories that they'd run with and which had been properly debunked.

Offline quellish

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2014, 12:43:12 pm »
I have a copy of the Aviation Week TR-3 article from 1991. Attached.

Yup, that's the THAP drawing I got from USAF. The AvWeek drawing appears to be almost directly taken from "The Art of Black Magic".


Jones and his co-author appear to still be around. There are public records of some of their FOIA requests. Interestingly enough, they were at one point fishing for code names from my old web site (and asking the wrong organizations).


If you go through "The Art of Black Magic" you can find many things that yes, in hindsight were way off. At the same time, there is plenty that is internally inconsistent. There is a section on the F-117 and at the same time a section on the F-19, claiming the F-19 is descended from HAVE BLUE while the F-117 is not. And the F-117 is a supersonic low level penetrator with ECM, that there were 75-100 (which was known to be incorrect at the time of publication), etc. etc.

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2014, 01:47:48 pm »
I have a copy of the Aviation Week TR-3 article from 1991. Attached.

Yup, that's the THAP drawing I got from USAF. The AvWeek drawing appears to be almost directly taken from "The Art of Black Magic".


Jones and his co-author appear to still be around. There are public records of some of their FOIA requests. Interestingly enough, they were at one point fishing for code names from my old web site (and asking the wrong organizations).


If you go through "The Art of Black Magic" you can find many things that yes, in hindsight were way off. At the same time, there is plenty that is internally inconsistent. There is a section on the F-117 and at the same time a section on the F-19, claiming the F-19 is descended from HAVE BLUE while the F-117 is not. And the F-117 is a supersonic low level penetrator with ECM, that there were 75-100 (which was known to be incorrect at the time of publication), etc. etc.

To be charitable it looks like the entire article was "inspired" by the book.
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Offline xstatic3000

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2014, 01:57:22 pm »

Sorry to drag this thread even further away from the "mystery aircraft" sighting - but after re-reading the AARS thread, it turns out that there may be just a bit more to the TR-3 legend.


In a thesis written by Dr. Thomas P. Ehrhard, the current Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, he mentions a lower-tech alternative to AARS designated "TR-3". It appears that this was likely the Grob Egret studied under the SENIOR GUARDIAN program:


[size=78%](pg 151).... Kier mentioned that several other concepts for manned alternatives to AARS popped up in the early 1990s, including a minimalist design called the TR-3 that he derisively called a "Cessna 172 compared to a 747 [AARS]." (Ref 341)[/size]


(Ref 341 pg 151) A likely candidate for a program fitting Kier's description was a moderately stealthy (all-composite) high altitude German airframe called Egrett.... Egrett was an optionally piloted 55,000 foot loitering aircraft that went by the codename SENIOR GUARDIAN....


So it appears that TR-3 may have been a potential designation for SENIOR GUARDIAN had it gone into production. Hopefully this, along with the information posted regarding Tier III, will help put the beliefs about it being a stealthy, triangular aircraft to bed once and for all.

Offline quellish

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Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #28 on: May 06, 2014, 02:14:10 pm »
[size=78%]So it appears that TR-3 may have been a potential designation for SENIOR GUARDIAN had it gone into production. Hopefully this, along with the information posted regarding Tier III, will help put the beliefs about it being a stealthy, triangular aircraft to bed once and for all.[/size]


This is one of the instances where I believe that Ehrhard may have been drawing a very tenuous connection. Kier may have actually been commenting on the "TR-3" press reports rather than a program he had personal knowledge of. Unfortunately this happens all too often with secret aircraft programs.


That said, Raytheon operated an Egrett (N520DM) as a test platform for a number of years[/size]. [size=78%]

Offline PaulMM (Overscan)

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"They can't see our arses for dust."
 
- Sir Sydney Camm