Register here

Author Topic: TR-3 "Black Manta"  (Read 18315 times)

Online flateric

  • Deputy Administrator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 8186
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #30 on: May 10, 2014, 01:14:44 pm »
...
"There are many disbelievers in
stealth, more than a few of them truly technically ignorant and proud of it." Sherm Mullin, Skunk Works

Ian33

  • Guest
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #31 on: May 10, 2014, 06:46:09 pm »
OK, that's just crazy.
 
 :o
 
 

Offline Black Dog

  • CLEARANCE: Confidential
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2014, 02:31:03 am »
I see a lot of talk around of a 'F-117 companion' which is basically what the TR-3A was/is rumoured to be.

Maybe such an aircraft or similar actually exists  :o Would definitely be pretty impressive if such an operational aircraft was kept deep black for such a long time.

Offline Mr London 24/7

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 350
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #33 on: May 20, 2014, 02:01:22 pm »
Talk of a 'TR-3A' or 'F-19' completely discredited all early mention of an F-117 Companion from late-Eighties/early-Nineties (and continues to do so).

However... the former boom operator who has given brief details of such an aircraft on ATS in the last year is the real deal:

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/confessions-of-a-usaf-kc-135-flying-gas-station-boom-op-1578048155

(See also http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,16089.msg170370.html#msg170370)
« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 02:21:05 pm by Mr London 24/7 »

Offline quellish

  • Top Contributor
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 1983
  • I am not actually here.
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #34 on: May 20, 2014, 03:12:52 pm »
Talk of a 'TR-3A' or 'F-19' completely discredited all early mention of an F-117 Companion from late-Eighties/early-Nineties (and continues to do so).

However... the former boom operator who has given brief details of such an aircraft on ATS in the last year is the real deal:

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/confessions-of-a-usaf-kc-135-flying-gas-station-boom-op-1578048155

(See also http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,16089.msg170370.html#msg170370)



The idea that the "TR-3" serves as a high altitude lasing platform for the F-117 is odd. Lasers don't work so well from high altitude, or through weather. The F-117 wasn't designed to hit mobile targets which might necessitate such a "buddy" platform.


Throughout the 80s the press reported that the stealth fighter was the product of the "CSIRS" program (Covert Survivable In-Weather Recce/Strike). When the F-117 was revealed to be a strike aircraft, some people wondered where the covert recce component was. This may have been where the idea of a "buddy" aircraft came from, at least in relation to the "TR-3". Now there is some certainty that there was no "CSIRS" program at all.

Offline xstatic3000

  • CLEARANCE: Confidential
  • *
  • Posts: 70
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #35 on: May 20, 2014, 04:44:49 pm »
Talk of a 'TR-3A' or 'F-19' completely discredited all early mention of an F-117 Companion from late-Eighties/early-Nineties (and continues to do so).

However... the former boom operator who has given brief details of such an aircraft on ATS in the last year is the real deal:

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/confessions-of-a-usaf-kc-135-flying-gas-station-boom-op-1578048155

(See also http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,16089.msg170370.html#msg170370)



I just re-read the Jalopnik article. Although the mentions of refueling classified and presumably operational platforms were intriguing, I saw nothing that would specifically point to the nature and mission of the aircraft being discussed. I am presuming, based on the context and timeframe that he may have been alluding to some of the "unknown" UAVs (and not UCAVs) sighted over Iraq and Afghanistan during that period.

Offline quellish

  • Top Contributor
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 1983
  • I am not actually here.
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #36 on: May 20, 2014, 06:07:48 pm »

I just re-read the Jalopnik article. Although the mentions of refueling classified and presumably operational platforms were intriguing, I saw nothing that would specifically point to the nature and mission of the aircraft being discussed. I am presuming, based on the context and timeframe that he may have been alluding to some of the "unknown" UAVs (and not UCAVs) sighted over Iraq and Afghanistan during that period.


Actually, there were refueling tests with UCAVs in the western US in the late 90s. The X-45A was supposed to do a set of tests like he describes but I do not believe those ever happened as part of the DARPA UCAV program.

Offline Mr London 24/7

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 350
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #37 on: May 20, 2014, 11:53:51 pm »
Then I suppose both of you have missed the point: I replied to Black Dog as he is referring to posts made on ATS. My point was that a particular poster there is the source for the jalopnik article. The idea of a companion aircraft has credibility for me due to that one individual. Companion mission is something still only hinted of ('buddy-lasing' is of the TR-3a/F-19 theme).

Offline Mat Parry

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 373
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #38 on: May 21, 2014, 01:02:09 am »
The idea that the "TR-3" serves as a high altitude lasing platform for the F-117 is odd. Lasers don't work so well from high altitude, or through weather. The F-117 wasn't designed to hit mobile targets which might necessitate such a "buddy" platform.

Throughout the 80s the press reported that the stealth fighter was the product of the "CSIRS" program (Covert Survivable In-Weather Recce/Strike). When the F-117 was revealed to be a strike aircraft, some people wondered where the covert recce component was. This may have been where the idea of a "buddy" aircraft came from, at least in relation to the "TR-3".

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20795.msg204336.html#msg204336

I suppose another alternative for the "emitter" could have been a TR-3 type aircraft using a LPI bi-static radar to illuminate/designate targets for a passively observing F-117 / payload combination

However,
  • no evidence of this type of targeting system on the F-117. Although, is it only the weapon that would need the sensor? (e.g no IR system on the F-15 but it uses sidewinders quite successfully)
  • More tellingly....
"Now there is some certainty that there was no "CSIRS" program at all".

... it was in interesting speculation (to me at least) but it seems to be just that
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 06:52:06 am by Mat Parry »

Offline Mr London 24/7

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 350
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #39 on: May 21, 2014, 01:26:44 am »
Mat: I think this was the emitter in test (cancelled - and too large for smaller Companion airframe):

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,20795.msg204449.html#msg204449

Companion Platform in question would be still classified.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 02:55:15 am by PaulMM (Overscan) »

Offline phrenzy

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 278
  • as long as all they ask me about is the air war...
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #40 on: May 21, 2014, 02:19:40 am »
Wasn't the other theory that TR was Teledyne Ryan, indicating that it was an in house design designation?

As for the recce component of CSIRS the f-117 was there some talk of a recon version of the f-117 itself (f-117r)? I can see how a common platform for stealthy deep strike and then stealthy damage assessment could make sense.  Given that, I always wondered if the supposed secret companion triangular aircraft was just a slightly different f-117.

As for quartz and AARS, I thought that was aimed at very long range, very long endurance recon to track Road mobile ICBMs and other things that might move in between satellite fly overs.  Much more of a strategic recon platform than a companion to a tactical strike aircraft. As mentioned before this forum has collected some of the BEST information on quartz.  I can't remember exactly where but on one of the quartz/AARS threads there was a link to a fantastic in depth report by a former blue suit turned academic that briefly hinted at a high speed high speed NRO component of the program.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 03:22:17 am by phrenzy »
We train young men to drop fire on people. Yet their commanders won't allow them to write "fuck" on their airplanes because it is obscene.  -  Kurtz

Offline Mr London 24/7

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 350
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #41 on: May 21, 2014, 02:42:07 am »
Quartz/AARS was a different mission, ref from paper here:

http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,511.msg92819.html#msg92819

Offline Black Dog

  • CLEARANCE: Confidential
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #42 on: May 21, 2014, 05:41:28 am »
As for the recce component of CSIRS the f-117 was there some talk of a recon version of the f-117 itself (f-117r)? I can see how a common platform for stealthy deep strike and then stealthy damage assessment could make sense.  Given that, I always wondered if the supposed secret companion triangular aircraft was just a slightly different f-117.

Story of F-117 recon is outlined here:
http://aviationintel.com/it-could-have-been-the-rf-117-reconnaissance-nighthawk/

Just more fuel to the fire for TR-3A or similar.

Offline tacitblue

  • CLEARANCE: Confidential
  • *
  • Posts: 92
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #43 on: December 15, 2014, 04:12:58 pm »
About 10 years ago Tom Clancy spoke about his sources telling him about 3 still classified operational aircraft.  The gist was, two of them are manned, and one is supersonic.  I can no longer find that interview.

Offline Skyblazer

  • Global Moderator
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ****
  • Posts: 12939
Re: TR-3 "Black Manta"
« Reply #44 on: December 15, 2014, 04:50:05 pm »
Given that, I always wondered if the supposed secret companion triangular aircraft was just a slightly different f-117.

This notion of a "slightly different F-117" also reminds me of the rumored "Artichoke" that was spotted on several occasions during the 1990s.