Register here

Author Topic: Project Moonflower  (Read 2324 times)

Offline Flyaway

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 1450
Project Moonflower
« on: December 30, 2016, 01:35:39 am »
Is this the F-117A that they are referring to here?

Quote
Another top secret prime ministerial file on Project Moonflower is worded in such an obscure manner that its so-called black subject is not immediately apparent.

“Dear Margaret,” a 1986 US telegram recorded, “I am delighted to hear that you will be able to see Cap [Casapar Weinberger, the US defence decretary] to discuss the special program I wrote you about … I look forward to receiving your reaction. Sincerely, Ron.”

In a top secret personal message, on which someone wrote in faint pencil “STEALTH”, an enthused prime minister wrote back after the secret meeting: “Dear Ron, I was immensely impressed by your splendid achievement: three cheers for America!

“I was also very touched by the generosity of the offer of participation which [Cap] brought. It brings home once again who our real friends are … I am so much looking forward to seeing you in Tokyo. With warmest best wishes, yours sincerely, Margaret.”

The offer of transatlantic cooperation on Stealth technology – which disguises an aircraft’s presence from radar detection – was one the MoD declined to take up.

An MoD letter in December 1986 to Charles Powell, the prime minister’s foreign affairs adviser, about Project Moonflower informed him that “Mr Weinberger has offered us a chance to purchase the current US aircraft but we have replied that we would not wish to actually buy hardware while the programme remains strictly black [secret].

“… [George] Younger [defence secretary] raised the subject very briefly with Mr Weinberger this morning … just sufficiently to test whether Weinberger is disappointed at our reaction so far. He certainly does not seem to be.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/dec/30/margaret-thatcher-us-french-military-technology-national-archives-top-secret?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
« Last Edit: December 30, 2016, 07:27:52 am by Flyaway »

Offline Hood

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 953
Re: Project Moonflower
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2016, 05:39:22 am »
Interesting. Probably was F-117, two RAF pilots had carried out an evaluation earlier in 1986.
Not surprising the RAF wasn't interested, the F-117 was not an all-weather platform suitable for northern European operations and lacking a multi-role weapons capability. Also, I guess the MOD didn't want the hassle of having to order and keep secret a foreign black programme and be responsible for blowing its cover until the US had publicly revealed its existence. Don't forget this was the time of the Trident argument too, could have been a real political hot potato.
Interestingly the Guardian journo assumes this means the MOD was rejecting an "offer of transatlantic cooperation on Stealth technology", but that's reading heavily between the lines, the F-117 was not the last word on the subject by 1986 and buying it isn't the same as technology sharing, which I assume was already happening anyway in some form.

Offline CJGibson

  • Top Contributor
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 1073
  • TAATH is coming...
Re: Project Moonflower
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2016, 05:50:01 am »
Might have been the 'sharing' of high-speed propulsion technology by Rolls-Royce.

Chris

Offline Flyaway

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 1450
Re: Project Moonflower
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2016, 07:29:55 am »
Interesting. Probably was F-117, two RAF pilots had carried out an evaluation earlier in 1986.
Not surprising the RAF wasn't interested, the F-117 was not an all-weather platform suitable for northern European operations and lacking a multi-role weapons capability. Also, I guess the MOD didn't want the hassle of having to order and keep secret a foreign black programme and be responsible for blowing its cover until the US had publicly revealed its existence. Don't forget this was the time of the Trident argument too, could have been a real political hot potato.
Interestingly the Guardian journo assumes this means the MOD was rejecting an "offer of transatlantic cooperation on Stealth technology", but that's reading heavily between the lines, the F-117 was not the last word on the subject by 1986 and buying it isn't the same as technology sharing, which I assume was already happening anyway in some form.

Didn't they try and sell a navalised version of the F-117A to the UK at one point, sure I've read that in a book?

Offline LowObservable

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 2024
Re: Project Moonflower
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2016, 10:58:38 am »
There were discussions regarding a variant of the A/F-117X family, which included a CATOBAR variant, but the latter was never a consideration for the UK.

Offline Mat Parry

  • CLEARANCE: Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 401
Re: Project Moonflower
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2016, 01:23:47 pm »
Might have been the 'sharing' of high-speed propulsion technology by Rolls-Royce.

Chris

HOTOL?

Offline XP67_Moonbat

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 2145
Re: Project Moonflower
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2016, 10:06:02 pm »
In God we trust, all others we monitor. :-p

Offline Flyaway

  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • ***
  • Posts: 1450
Re: Project Moonflower
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2017, 05:25:25 am »

Offline Harrier

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 874
  • BAe P.1216 book: harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm
Re: Project Moonflower
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2017, 07:04:45 am »
I saw the file earlier this month. No project is mentioned, although 'Cap' Weinberger's hotel arrangements get coverage!

It was clear that there was some interest from the UK side, but only to share technology, not make a project commitment. What the technology was is not really mentioned.
BAe P.1216 Supersonic ASTOVL Aircraft: www.harrier.org.uk/P1216.htm

100 Years  - Camel, Hurricane, Harrier: www.kingstonaviation.org

Offline Grey Havoc

  • Senior Member
  • CLEARANCE: Top Secret
  • **
  • Posts: 7636
  • The path not taken.
The sole imperative of a government, once instituted, is to survive.