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Lockheed M-12 and D-21

archipeppe

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Nice shot!!

One question: did was ever considered a manned version of M-21/D-21??
 

Steve Pace

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The mother ship is designated M-12 (not M-21), and as far as I know, a manned version of the D-21 was never an option.
 

shockonlip

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archipeppe said:
Nice shot!!

One question: did was ever considered a manned version of M-21/D-21??
There are several problems with that:
- The goal was smaller in size to aid stealth, and lighter in weight for higher altitude, and
adding a man contradicts those as you not only need suport for the pilot but you need
landing gear mechanisms etc.. A man makes it more risky for sensitive overflights too.
So it was designed as an autonomous vehicle. It was not an RPV.
- Because of the above, there is no room for a man - the only room in the front is in the
Q-bay, which is under the inlet duct.

You could however ride it Slim Pickens style - bareback! :)
 

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Stargazer2006

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shockonlip said:
You could however ride it Slim Pickens style - bareback! :)
Or perhaps in a special fairing on top, lying on your belly? I know I for one wouldn't go for a ride on that one, even for a large sum of money!!!
 

SOC

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XB-70 Guy said:
The mother ship is designated M-12 (not M-21), and as far as I know, a manned version of the D-21 was never an option.
Not sure about that, I always heard that it was designated M-21 to avoid any association with the recon A-12, with the combo being referred to as MD-21.

Check this out:
 

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Stargazer2006

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Funny this. Nearly every source I have on Lockheed (including the Jay Miller Skunk Works book) refer to the aircraft as the M-12 and the drone as the D-21... Could this be a typo?
 

archipeppe

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Stargazer2006 said:
Funny this. Nearly every source I have on Lockheed (including the Jay Miller Skunk Works book) refer to the aircraft as the M-12 and the drone as the D-21... Could this be a typo?
Yeah like the RS-71 that become SR-71.
Otherwise the lightning dosen't strike twice in the same place.....
 

Steve Pace

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Like the proposed RS-70 version of the Valkyrie that was not proceeded with, the RS-71 was a proposed reconnaissance strike (RS) version of the A-12 that was not put into service either. On the other hand, in the case of the M-12 and D-21 designations, the prefix M meant "Mother," and the prefix D meant "Daughter." The number 21 was just a reversal of the number 12 so there wasn't confusion between the A-12 airplane and the drone, which at first was designated D-12.
 

SOC

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Stargazer2006 said:
Funny this. Nearly every source I have on Lockheed (including the Jay Miller Skunk Works book) refer to the aircraft as the M-12 and the drone as the D-21... Could this be a typo?
Do you mean the big Skunk Works history? I've got the revised edition and it says M-21, as do Crickmore's latest books, Peter Merlin's recent book, and the recently published CIA history of the OXCART program.
 

Stargazer2006

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SOC said:
Stargazer2006 said:
Funny this. Nearly every source I have on Lockheed (including the Jay Miller Skunk Works book) refer to the aircraft as the M-12 and the drone as the D-21... Could this be a typo?
Do you mean the big Skunk Works history? I've got the revised edition and it says M-21, as do Crickmore's latest books, Peter Merlin's recent book, and the recently published CIA history of the OXCART program.
Oops. Funny how memory can betray you. Not only the Aerofax book has "M-21", but the Warbird Tech book on the Lockheed Blackbirds by Landis and Jenkins also does! And to top it all, Lockheed's Blackworld Skunk Works by Crickmore in the Osprey Aviation series follows suit!

I'm positive that I've also read the M-12/D-21 story somewhere, but evidence seems to go against that...
 

Steve Pace

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Back in 2004 when Crowood of the U.K. published my book LOCKHEED SR-71 BLACKBIRD, I devoted a whole chapter to the M-12/D-21 air vehicles. However, suffering from a "Grand Illusion," I erroniously called them M-21/D-21. Apparently I was wrong because today I believe the M-12 and D-21 designations are the correct designations.
 

Michel Van

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that mix up is easy explane

M-21 aircraft based on A-12. so allot makes the mistake and label it M-12

here more Picture of M-21 / D-21
http://jpcolliat.free.fr/f12/f12-4.htm
http://jpcolliat.free.fr/f12/f12-5.htm

[flash=200,200]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5w64fyqmLEU[/flash]
after disaster M-21 they change name to D-21B Senior Bowl
and launch with rocket from B-52
http://jpcolliat.free.fr/f12/f12-6.htm
http://jpcolliat.free.fr/f12/f12-8.htm
http://jpcolliat.free.fr/f12/f12-9.htm
 

SOC

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"Crowood of the U.K. published my book LOCKHEED SR-71 BLACKBIRD"

Hey, I've got that one. Really well done. It wasn't as detailed in some areas as some of the others (which were written to focus on specific topics for the most part), but I think it did a very nice job providing an overview of the entire family. The problem with these damn books is that they constantly fall out of date with new info being declassified at a more rapid rate nowadays, but without being focused too much on the A-12 or the operational missions of the aircraft I think you successfully avoided a lot of that.

I've got your old Aero-series book on the XB-70 as well, that one was one of my favorites growing up. It's still the only place I've seen the photo of Walt Spivak "holding up" the XB-70 published.

"after disaster M-21 they change name to D-21B Senior Bowl
and launch with rocket from B-52"

That launch video demonstrates one D-21 issue that nobody else has ever caught onto: flight test D-21s meant to be fired had the two leading edge probes. They were not a SENIOR BOWL D-21B upgrade, else they wouldn't be visile in the video! Pause the video at 15 seconds and they can clearly be seen. I mentioned this here: http://geimint.blogspot.com/2008/12/blackbirds-in-imagery.html Nobody else has apparently ever noticed!
 

XP67_Moonbat

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A little something on the D-21's booster.

www.wvi.com/~sr71webmaster/AIAA-2007-5761%20Header%20%20Copyright.pdf

Moonbat
 

XP67_Moonbat

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NASA had at one point considered re-using leftover D-21's for research.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20000004765_1999206927.pdf
 

quellish

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XP67_Moonbat said:
NASA had at one point considered re-using leftover D-21's for research.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20000004765_1999206927.pdf
2 or 3 were in outdoor storage at Edwards, they should still have them but I have not heard anything about them in a while
 

The Artist

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quellish said:
XP67_Moonbat said:
NASA had at one point considered re-using leftover D-21's for research.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20000004765_1999206927.pdf
2 or 3 were in outdoor storage at Edwards, they should still have them but I have not heard anything about them in a while
Or were they dispersed to museums? I've seen a D-21 in the Air Force Museum.
 

F-14D

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The Artist said:
quellish said:
XP67_Moonbat said:
NASA had at one point considered re-using leftover D-21's for research.

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20000004765_1999206927.pdf
2 or 3 were in outdoor storage at Edwards, they should still have them but I have not heard anything about them in a while
Or were they dispersed to museums? I've seen a D-21 in the Air Force Museum.
NASA got four D-21s from USAF and returned them in 2006. Two were shipped back to Davis-Monthan (where I think one is on display) the following year, one went to the March ARB museum and the other went to Blackbird Airpark in Palmdale, CA. There are a few others on display, mostly in the West.
 

F-14D

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Machdiamond said:
There is another one in the Museum of Flight in Seattle.
--Luc
When I gave out my info, I was just referring to the ex-NASA ones. In addition to the ones we've already discussed (the one in Seattle, BTW is displayed on the only surviving M-21), the ones I know about are at:
McMinnville, Oregon
Beale AFB, California
Robbins AFB, Georgia
Grissom ARB , Indiana
Pima Air Museum, Arizona
Davis Monthan AFB, Arizona (1 on display and all the other survivors stored)
 

Justo Miranda

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I have found some additional info
From
-Air International-Feb.1978
-Air Power-Jan.2003-Sept.2002-May.2002
-Flight Journal Feb.2000
Post-1
 

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Justo Miranda

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I have found some additional info
From
-Air International-Feb.1978
-Air Power-Jan.2003-Sept.2002-May.2002
-Flight Journal Feb.2000
Post-2
 

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Justo Miranda

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I have found some additional info
From
-Air International-Feb.1978
-Air Power-Jan.2003-Sept.2002-May.2002
-Flight Journal Feb.2000
Post-3
 

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Justo Miranda

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I have found some additional info
From
-Air International-Feb.1978
-Air Power-Jan.2003-Sept.2002-May.2002
-Flight Journal Feb.2000
Post-5
 

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Justo Miranda

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I have found some additional info
From
-Air International-Feb.1978
-Air Power-Jan.2003-Sept.2002-May.2002
-Flight Journal Feb.2000
Post-6
 

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fightingirish

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many spectacular Lockheed M-12 and D-21, many unseen before.
http://www.codeonemagazine.com/gallery_slideshow.html?item_id=58
 

quellish

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#536 at Davis Monthan, apparently they have 6 in storage:
http://www.amarcexperience.com/AMARCArticleD21Drone.asp

Ramjet removal from #537 and others. Poor thing looks so sad laying there.
http://roadrunnersinternationale.com/d-21_ramjet.html

Some good information on the ramjet, and photos of 2 D-21s in a C-17
http://www.wvi.com/~sr71webmaster/d21~1.htm

Some details on the flights, and other information
http://www.wvi.com/~sr71webmaster/srbowl001.htm
 

GeorgeA

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Interesting, albeit short, view of the D-21 launch from the M-12 POV, at about 9:30 in the video. Speaker is Al Romig (Skunk Works) at an AIAA conference (January 2102).


http://livestre.am/1e7SW
 

_Del_

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quellish said:
#536 at Davis Monthan, apparently they have 6 in storage:
http://www.amarcexperience.com/AMARCArticleD21Drone.asp
There was one (maybe two?) at Pima the last time I was down that way -- which has been a decade or so.
 

SOC

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George Allegrezza said:
Interesting, albeit short, view of the D-21 launch from the M-12 POV, at about 9:30 in the video. Speaker is Al Romig (Skunk Works) at an AIAA conference (January 2102).


http://livestre.am/1e7SW

Weird. That video clearly shows the lack of leading edge probes on the D-21, yet video showing a later launch attempt shows them on the D-21 (screencap attached). They clearly weren't part of the D-21B modification if the D-21B was simply conversion for B-52 launch. Nobody's ever really explained at what point they were added.
 

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GeorgeA

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D-21 Tagboard documents declassified by the NRO:

https://www.nro.gov/Freedom-of-Information-Act-FOIA/Declassified-Records/Special-Collections/D-21/
 

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The flight was as programed at near nominal: (1)
range, approximately 2950 miles, (2) course, within two
miles of centerline, except for momentary deviations
while in programed turns, (3) altitude i the drone attaining 96,588 feet at termination fuel off, and (4) speed,
approximately 3.3 mach
Look at the numbers guys. Sounds like sex predating puberty ;D
 

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A few items of trivia:

The OXCART/TAGBOARD mothership was indeed called the M-21 despite protestations to the contrary. All official documentation describes it as such.

Article 502 was used as a structural test article for ground-based static testing only. It was scrapped in February 1969.

The D-21B on display at Robins AFB was delivered with paperwork from AMARC identifying the vehicle as Article 538, but when the panels were opened up they were clearly marked 539. The drone allocated to Beale AFB is probably 538.
 

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Archibald

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I don't know what became of the idea.
Nothing, unfortunately. It was damn clever idea, incidentally.

In my Big G alternate history, the idea doesn't go to waste: since the D-21B program was halted by Nixon on July 23, 1971, and since the Shuttle is (ITTL ) cancelled in October, D-21B drones are used for high-speed research and flight testing of SERJ and MIPCC.
 
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