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"I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me"

flateric

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http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1933633328/ref=reg_hu-wl_item-added
I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon's Black World

by Trevor Paglen

In stock on June 10, 2008.

Editorial Reviews
Product Description
They’re on the shoulder of all military personnel: patches that symbolize what a soldier’s unit does. But what happens if it’s top secret?

Shown here for the first time, these sixty patches reveal a secret world of military imagery and jargon, where classified projects are known by peculiar names (“Goat Suckers,” “None of Your Fucking Business,” “Tastes Like Chicken”) and illustrated with occult symbols and ridiculous cartoons. Although the actual projects represented here (such as the notorious Area 51) are classified, these patches—which are worn by military units working on classified missions—are precisely photographed, strangely hinting at a world about which little is known.

By submitting hundreds of Freedom of Information requests, the author has also assembled an extensive and readable guide to the patches included here, making this volume one of the best available surveys of the military’s black world—a $27 billion industry that has quietly grown by almost 50 percent since 9/11.

Trevor Paglen is a geographer by training, and an expert on clandestine military installations. He leads expeditions to the secret bases of the American West and is the author, with A.C. Thompson, of Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA’s Rendition Flights, which The New York Times praised as “the real thing . . . and not on the evening news.”


About the Author
Trevor Paglen is an expert on clandestine military installations. He leads expeditions to the secret bases of the American west and is the author, with AC Thompson, of Torture Taxi.

I don't know how authentic are some of 'em, but they look at least pretty funny interesting...
 

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Skybolt

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Eheheh, now I know where Iain M. Banks found the names of the battleships in his "Culture" series...
 

flateric

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1,2) The Classified Flight Test patch was originally a part of the B-2 Spirit "stealth" project. The 509 in the patch denote the 509th Bomb Wing, which operates out of Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. It is the home of the B-2 Stealth Bombers. The alien image on the patch goes back to 1947, when the then 509th bomb wing was stationed at Roswell, New Mexico. The 509th Commander Colonel William Blanchard issued a press release that made headlines in the world: "Roswell Army Airfield Captures Flying Saucer on Ranch in Roswell Region."

Then the patch was modified and updated under the request of USAF. Instead of "Classified Flight Test," Air Force officials preferred "To Serve Man." This name was extracted from a classic episode of The Twlights Zone, which first aired on March 2, 1962 (Season 3, Episode 24). The Latin words "Gustatus Similis Pullus" means "tastes like chicken." See the knife and fork on the patch.

3). TSSAM: This is a patch that represents a classified cruise missile, which is a part of the Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missiles family.

The patch describes a "Tasmanian Devil" type of cartoon character with yellow lightning. This spinning, tornado-like image of the character represents the classified cruise missile.

4). This patch is a small branch of the original 413th Flight Test Squadron. The classified organization code is EWAH, located at North Base at Edwards. The 6 stars on the patch actually denote 5 + 1 stars and refer to Area 51, the Air Force’s secret “operating location” at Groom Lake.

5). The secret program F3XP was designed to repair and maintain the F-117’s radar absorbent coatings. This secret program had corrosion control specialists and sheet metal technicians. They were collectively called the Materials Application Repair Section (M.A.R.S.), also known as the “Martians.”

6) This patch was worn by the 22nd Military Airlift Squadron (MAS). The crews flew C-5 cargo planes out of Travis Air Force Space in Northern California. Their missions were to carry top-secret aircrafts manufacture plants in Southern California and deliver them to clandestine locations for testing and evaluation. The crew members usually conducted these mission in the thick of the night.

The crescent moon and the black background of the patch denote that they flew these missions at night. The question mark is that nobody knew what the heck they were doing. The gray/silver trim indicates the star lights.

When asked what their missions were, the answer was usually “NOYFB.” “Don’t Ask! None Of Your F@#!king Business.”

7). This patch identifies a collection of programs that involves developing tactical applications out of reconnaissance satellite capabilities. Whenever the word "special" is used on a patch, it almost always means classified.

The Roman writing, Oderint Dum Metuant, on the bottom of the patch translates to "Let them hate so long as they fear." The phrase is associated with one of the Roman emperors, Caligula, in the 1st century AD. This ruler represented tyranny, cruelty, depravity, and madness.

8'). This is a patch from the Scaled Composite project. It is still classified. The symbols on the patch are also unclear. The name Pete may refer to test pilot Peter Siebold at Scaled Composite.
 

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flateric

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1). This is a NRO Snakes patch. This patch is shrouded in mystery.
The Latin phrase "Nunquam Ante Nunquam Iterum" means "Never Before, Never Again."

2). Defense contractor Scaled Composites is responsible for the flight test of an unknown aircraft or system. Scaled Composite came to fame in October of 2004 when the company won the “X-Prize” after launching its “Spaceship One.” Scaled Composites does a lot of classified work for the Department Defense. They prefer to hire personnel in possession of a “DOD Secret Clearance.”

3). The Vindicator system was a highly classified project built by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works. This project was rumored to be even more secretive than the F-117A. The patch delineates the skunk mascot wearing a helmet and a scarf. The skunk holds a device that is shooting out a beam of laser., which is a laser anemometer optical data system. This system replaces the conventional pilot-static probes on stealth or high-speed aircraft where physical protrusions are undesirable. The device is a velocity indicator (V-indicator).

4). LO Flight Test refers to a low observables flight test. It is most likely to be a radar measurement test for a stealth aircraft at Groom Lake, Nevada. It is unknown when the test took place, but it was said to involve a B-2 stealth bomber. The sigma symbol in the middle of the patch refers to the unknown value of an aircraft’s radar cross section. Sigma/zero is the ideal radar cross section measurement for a stealth plane. “Huge deposit” means the bomb load dropped by the bomber on its target and No return” refers to the lack of a radar return, thus achieving stealth.

5). This patch remembers a classified flight test of an F-22 Raptor aircraft at Groom Lake. The raptor in the patch wears the costume of a wizard. A Greek letter sigma hangs down from the raptor’s neck. The collection of 6 stars, once again, refers to 5 + 1 (Area 51). The 1dB probably denotes the actual radar cross section (RCS) of the plane when it “passed through” the ground engineers who, at the time, were measuring the RCS. Size: 4" diameter

6). Red Hats was the nickname of the 6513th Test Squadron, whose mission was to test fly a collection of Soviet military aircraft obtained from foreign sources. The 6513thwas based at Groom Lake, Nevada. The base became known as “Red Square.” This classified program began in the late 60s to test Soviet MiGs at Groom Lake.

The collection of 6 red stars again refers to area 51 (5+1 stars). The 6513th was disbanded in 1992 and rolled into the present day 413th Flight Test Squadron.

7). The Special Projects Flight Squadron is the “black” flight test squadron of the USAF. It is charged with test flying classified prototype aircraft and advanced concept technology demonstrators.

Notice the 5 + 1 stars on the left side of the patch. This denotes the location of the unit’s operating location: Area 51. The wizard’s right hand hold the unknown value of an object’s radar cross section (RCS). Also notice and handle of the sword. It is the shape of a recently declassified Boeing aircraft called “Bird of Prey.”

8). Not much is known about this patch except for that it was a generic patch for an outfit called "VX-4, Enforcers," which was based in Point Mugu, California. This was a Navy squadron/unit in the 1950s charged with testing guided missiles, classified weapons, and airframes. In 1994, VX-4 was merged with VX-9 Vampires.

Their operations were extremely secretive, hence the black design and the intimidating wording. Its current existence is debatable and remains an enigma.
 

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flateric

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1). A classified program. The numeral “II” suggests that there may be a Night Stalker I program. Both remain secret and obscure.

2). This is a still classified program under Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs division called Skunk Works. The name Minotaur remains a mystery.
 

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flateric

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All the patches descriptions are taken from the eBay items descriptions from http://search.ebay.com/_W0QQsassZroad2oscar (where patches replicas' can be bought)
 

Orionblamblam

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I have yet to see the unofficial mission patch for "Operation Stiff Lift." A former co-worker served as crew on C-130/-141/-5 cargo planes with the "Jimmy Carter Peace-Time Fly-In Club," and was on duty when the planes came back to Dover from Guyana hauling the Jim Jones cultists bodies. Each body was in it's own sealed aluminum coffin... but these bodies had been left for several days in the hot jungle, *then* put in metal boxes, and *then* left in the sun for a while longer, and *then* loaded on board airplanes. Consequently, pressure within the coffins got kinda high. So when the cargo planes got to cruising altitude and the cabin pressure dropped... many of 'em popped. Reportedly the flight crews refused to get off the aircrafts oxygen supply until after the planes had been unloaded and hosed out.

My co-worker - who got to be in on that excitement - saw the design of the "Operation Stiff Lift" patches, but I've never seen reference to 'em elsewhere. As described, they've got the Kool-Aid Man busting in the side of a C-141 loaded with leaking coffins...




NOTE: I suspect much of this post might be mysterious to non-Americans. Such is life...
 

flateric

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Well, I remember reading of Jonestown suicide in Pravda when I was about 6...
 

flateric

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This one reminds me one patent image, but it's damn from Boeing...
 

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flateric

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The letters ATOP on this patch stand for "Advanced Technology Observation Platform," whose first flight was on October 28, 1990.
The Latin Phrase Furtim Vigilans translates as "Vigilance Through Stealth."
 

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flateric

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This patch is from the Special Projects Flight Test Squadron based near Groom Lake Nevada. The SPFTS is the Air Force's only "black" flight test squadron for classified prototype aircraft and advanced concept technology demonstrators.

The squadron's mascot is a wizard. A collection of 6 stars (5+1) on the patch references the unit's operation location: the secret base know as Area 51. The lower-case Greek sigma symbol in the wizard's right hand is the engineering symbol for the unknown value of an object's radar cross section (RCS). The ideal radar signature of a stealth aircraft is zero. While no stealth aircraft has yet achieved this goal, several have come close. On the right side of the patch , the falling globe references the hollow aluminum spheres dropped from the sky to calibrate radar equipment. A sphere of a given size has a known RCS value. Lightning bolts, such as the one emanating from the wizards staff, seem to refer to electronic warfare. The aircraft in the lower right is probably a generic symbol representing flight testing of advanced aircraft. The sword at the bottom of the image refers to a recently declassified Boeing stealth demonstrator known as the "Bird of Prey": the handle on the sword approximates the shape of the aircraft.
 

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flateric

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This patch represents and unknown project undertaken by the 413th Flight Test Squadron. The zipper seems to refer to the fact that the project cannot be discussed. The first part of the phrase "We make threats" might refer to making simulated (or real) electronic "threats" against aircraft.
 

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flateric

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This haunting patch is one of two patches connected with a Black Lockheed Martin Skunk Works operation titled "Prowler" or "Desert Prowler". The collection of five-plus-one stars may represent the classified operating location at Groom Lake, Nevada, also known as Area 51. This operation was active as of late 2005.
 

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flateric

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G.H.O.S.T. squadron patch. Squadron was based at Groom Lake (area 51) and judging by the footprints going across the skulls SPH-4 flight helmet we can assume a Jolly Green helicopter squadron. A helicopter used by the Air Force for Search and Rescue missions. The patch's acronym "G.H.O.S.T." seems to imply the name or mission of the unit, however, its meaning is unclear.
 

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flateric

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This patch was designed as a generic insignia for "black" projects conducted by the Navy's Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Four (VX-4) based at Point Mugu, California. It was reportedly used during the navy's involvement with the TSSAM program. It may still be worn by members of the VX-9 squadron formed from a merger of VX-4 and VX-5. VX-9's mission is to test strike aircraft, conventional weapons, electronic warfare equipment, and to develop tactics involving these weapons systmes. The latin phrase "Si Ego Certiorem Faciam...Mihi Tu Delendus Eris" roughly translates into a cliche commonly heard in the vicinity of "black" programs: "I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you."
But the phrasing here is unusual because it is written in the passive voice: a more accurate translation of the Latin would be "I could tell you, but then you would have to be destroyed by me." By employing the passive voice the patch's designer makes two references that don't exist in other phrasings. The first reference is to the Greek God of Chaos, Eris, about whom Homer wrote in book Four of the lliad:
"(Eris) whose wrath is relentless, she is the sister and companion of the murderous Ares. She who is only a little thing at the first, but thereafter grows until she strides on the earth with her head striking heaven. She hurled down bitterness equally between both sides as she walked through the onslaught making men's pain heavier."
The passive phrasing of the Latin also echoes the words of a Second century B.C. Roman senator named Cato the Elder, who roamed the Senate repeating the words "Carthago delenda est"- "Carthage must be destroyed." In 149 B.C., Cato go his wish and Rome attacked the city, which was located in North Africa near present day Tunis. Three years after beginning their assault, the Roman army overran Carthage, tore down its walls, and sold its inhabitants into slavery. After the Roman Senate declared that no one would ever live where Carthage had stood, legend holds that Rome salted the earth around the city in order to ensure that Carthage would remain a wasteland for generations.
 

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flateric

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The white Boeing 737 with a red stripe down the fuselage to the fleet of aircraft known as the "Janet Fleet," because they use the call sign "Janet" in civilian airspace. The fleet of aircraft are operated by the Special Project Division of the EG&G company; the company's logo provides the backdrop for the smiling aircraft shown in the patch. The purpose of the Janet Fleet is to shuttle military and civilian workers to and from their jobs at secret bases such as the Tonopah Test Range and Groom Lake. The Janet Fleet's headquarters is a terminal called "Gold Coast" at Las Vegas' McCarren Airport.
 

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quellish

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flateric said:
G.H.O.S.T. squadron patch. Squadron was based at Groom Lake (area 51) and judging by the footprints going across the skulls SPH-4 flight helmet we can assume a Jolly Green helicopter squadron. A helicopter used by the Air Force for Search and Rescue missions. The patch's acronym "G.H.O.S.T." seems to imply the name or mission of the unit, however, its meaning is unclear.

GHOST is the search and rescue squadron of HH-60 Pave Hawks that operate from Groom Lake in support of flight test operations.
 

Rickshaw

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Strikes me as rather strange from a security aspect, as to why these patches would be allowed to be created, let alone worn. If these projects are as "black" as is claimed, then I wouldn't want a mob of flyboys running around the countryside with readily identifiable patches on their flying suits. It would give away to much to potentially hostile intelligence agencies. Alternatively of course, they are a also a great way to sow misinformation. ;)
 

Stargazer2006

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I guess they're only worn within the physical boundaries of the bases that are concerned, so as to establish who gets what clearance. I don't think a pilot would wear them if he were to fly from another base or to participate in some international exercises or something.

Proof that these patches are authentic is found in Boeing's Bird of Prey patch, which displayed a dagger whose handle accurately represented the outlines of the real article!
 

Lauge

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Stargazer2006 said:
Proof that these patches are authentic is found in Boeing's Bird of Prey patch, which displayed a dagger whose handle accurately represented the outlines of the real article!

'Scuse me, but how exactly does that become proof of anything ?

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen
 

Stargazer2006

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I just figure that if any given number of these patches is later revealed to match a real program, it kind of validates the notion that all of them HAVE TO correspond to real programs!
 

sferrin

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Stargazer2006 said:
I just figure that if any given number of these patches is later revealed to match a real program, it kind of validates the notion that all of them HAVE TO correspond to real programs!

I could go have a bull$hit patch made up tomorrow. Does that mean a corresponding aircraft is going to materilize out of thin air out at Area 51? There are patches and coins galore for all kinds of crap that never got off the drawing board.
 

Orionblamblam

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Stargazer2006 said:
I just figure that if any given number of these patches is later revealed to match a real program, it kind of validates the notion that all of them HAVE TO correspond to real programs!

Bad, very bad, logic. The recently discovered archeological evidence that the fabled land known as "New York City" was an actual real place does not mean that the legendary Tales of New York (such as "Spider Man," "King Kong," "David Dinkins Goes to NYC," and the virtually incomprehensible lore around the Wizards Of Bureaucracy at the "United Nations") are also all real. Just as the discovery that a few random patches are found to be for real doesn't mean that any other random patches are necessarily real... or that they necessarily relate to some interesting unknown aircraft program.
 

bobbymike

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When it comes to speculation about the Black Budget, Area 51 and any and all secret military programs the evidence is so contradictory sometimes (intentionally so) as to defy civilian analysis. Everything is an educated guess. That said there are some people so immersed in the study that educated guesses can often times get close to the truth. We should all retain a level of healthy scepticism over all such matters.

I cannot say for certain what information I read is accurate and what represents only a partial truth or total BS. This forum represents an incredible knowledge and "investigative base" for people to use. The information found here is generally outstanding (my posts aren't so great but I'm learning).

My thoughts about current and near term advances in aerospace technology is general optimistic. I look at the wondrous technology of the late fifties and sixties and say "if we were building that then....what do we have now....it HAS to be better!"

I also hope my optimism is not just wishful thinking.
 

quellish

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bobbymike said:
When it comes to speculation about the Black Budget, Area 51 and any and all secret military programs the evidence is so contradictory sometimes (intentionally so) as to defy civilian analysis. Everything is an educated guess. That said there are some people so immersed in the study that educated guesses can often times get close to the truth. We should all retain a level of healthy scepticism over all such matters.

Yes and no.
When it comes to speculation, sure. And there is plenty of speculation. Some informed, some not. There are a lot of armchair theorists out there. More on other forums than this, but nonetheless, plenty.

On the other hand, civillian analysis is exactly why some of us are here and sharing information. There is plenty of open source material that can be used to find hard evidence of classified programs. The only reason that we all now know that SENIOR CITIZEN was not a hypersonic aircraft program was the open sources work of Paul McGinnis in the 1990s. This is just one example.
Each of these programs gets money from somewhere, and it is reported someone where the public can see it. Each of these programs also uses resources such as fuel, personnel, office space, range bandwidth, off the shelf parts, chase aircraft that can easily be tracked by civilian researchers. Unlike the mid 1990s when I started doing this we now have very easy access to overhead imagery, online government documents, search engines, patent databases and other tools. If you are willing to invest a little bit of time here and there you can find the answers yourself.

It has never been easier to be a civilian intelligence analyst.
 

Stargazer2006

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Thanks for your comments. I understand your reactions to my earlier post, and realize I may have sounded misled, or naive at best. I did NOT mean that just ANY mysterious patch is necessarily hiding a full-fledged Black program, of course, and if it sounded like it, sorry for being so awkward.

I was refering to the opus that is quoted in the title of this thread, a captivating collection of patches whose genuine military origin has not been put into question. What I meant was that there was no reason to doubt their authenticity since a few of them had already proved to designate real Black programs (Tacit Blue, Bird of Prey, Sneeky Pete...).

I hope this kind of sets the record straight!
 

Stargazer2006

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I have spent some time trying to make out the shapes that could be depicting aircraft in these patches. Although Bird Of Prey is now well-known, I've also included it there because it's the most obvious example of how a seemingly insignificant shape can conceal an actual aircraft to those who don't know better.

I'm not making any claim towards authenticity or accuracy, this is speculative work but I've tried to do it as seriously as possible. Top picture shows the original patch, middle picture zooms in on a particular shape that seemed relevant, while bottom picture is an attempt to give the shape an aircraft plan look.
 

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robunos

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Stargazer 2006,

The last shape in your image 'shapes3', is the stylised version of the USAF eagle logo....

cheers,
Robin.
 

flateric

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...and "ufo" at third patch at shapes1.jpg is obviously a radar antenna
otherwise, interesting attempt
 

Stargazer2006

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Thanks for the comments.

I've tried to imagine what kind of aircraft could be hiding behind the "NIGHT STALKER II" program.

Again, this is pure speculation and doesn't necessarily reproduce a type that could actually fly.

If a moderator thinks fit to eliminate this work from the thread on the grounds that it is undocumented guess, I will have no trouble complying to it.
 

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aero-engineer

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Stargazer2006 said:
I've tried to imagine what kind of aircraft could be hiding behind the "NIGHT STALKER II" program.

A mug showed up on ebay a year or two ago.
It said "US ARMY" on the opposite side.

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Stargazer2006

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You're right, this was probably more along the lines of a UAV than a piloted aircraft.
 
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sublight

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Stargazer2006 said:
I have spent some time trying to make out the shapes that could be depicting aircraft in these patches. Although Bird Of Prey is now well-known, I've also included it there because it's the most obvious example of how a seemingly insignificant shape can conceal an actual aircraft to those who don't know better.

I'm not making any claim towards authenticity or accuracy, this is speculative work but I've tried to do it as seriously as possible. Top picture shows the original patch, middle picture zooms in on a particular shape that seemed relevant, while bottom picture is an attempt to give the shape an aircraft plan look.
I didn't see anybody mention it, but the ATOP does indeed look like its patch.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/35042283@N07/
 

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flateric said:
6) This patch was worn by the 22nd Military Airlift Squadron (MAS). The crews flew C-5 cargo planes out of Travis Air Force Space in Northern California. Their missions were to carry top-secret aircrafts manufacture plants in Southern California and deliver them to clandestine locations for testing and evaluation. The crew members usually conducted these mission in the thick of the night.
This what they carried

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=13857.msg300594#msg300594
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=15800.0
http://www.afspc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123133904
 

flateric

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sublight said:
I didn't see anybody mention it, but the ATOP does indeed look like its patch.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/35042283@N07/
we did for sure
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,5253.0/highlight,atop+patch.html
 
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Ian33

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This Patch.



Lincoln Laboratory have the Airborne Seeker Test Bed (Gulf Stream airframe) which was (not sure if still is) used to test RF / electronic warfare and IRST technologies for hunting Low Observable platforms / perating in high EW effected areas as well as other classified payloads that went in wing mounted pods.

Not sure if the two are one and the same but in 2000 the Lab had a major push in the field of electronic warfare against air to air missiles and it was indeed slated for first flight in 2001.
 

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