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Military Concorde

Stormbreaker

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Curious to know if Concorde was ever considered in a military role, maybe as a recce aircraft or cruise missile platform?

Would this have been feasible?
 

flateric

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Not know about Concorde, but Tu-144 definitely eas considered as platform for several military utility versions, from ALCM carrier to ECM aircraft.
 

Jemiba

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As often, I cannot give the source, but in this case, it's just
because I found it in another forum : Mention of an version of
the Concorde for the RAF as a carrier for Blue Steel.
Don't ask me, how serious this proposal was ... ::)
 

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Stormbreaker

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Wow! I seem to remember reading about possible military uses of the Tu-144, perhaps in one of Gunston's books, but this Concorde concept is new to me and very interesting.
 

aemann

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Just had some info on the "Bomcorde".

It was dreamt up by one Arthur Gibson who appears to be/have been a painter. He knocked up that pic as a what-if, as if Concorde could carry 3 x Blue Steels at 15000lbs apiece and maintain supersonic performance. Launching would have been fun with the trim control system working overtime. However, it was never an official or an industry study.

The only other military application for Concorde was its use to simulate Soviet Backfire bombers in the early 1980s.

GA of "Bomcorde" attached.
 

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Jemiba

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Ah, thank you very much, aemann !
So we can delete it from the "serious projects list" I think .
But on his painting, Arthur Gibson seems to show a non-drooping
nose. That makes it more difficult for the What-If addicts ... ;)
 

TinWing

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aemann said:
It was dreamt up by one Arthur Gibson who appears to be/have been a painter. He knocked up that pic as a what-if, as if Concorde could carry 3 x Blue Steels at 15000lbs apiece and maintain supersonic performance. Launching would have been fun with the trim control system working overtime. However, it was never an official or an industry study.
Realistically, the whole notion of a British manned, supersonic, strategic bomber died in 1957 with the Avro 730.
 

Archibald

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But on his painting, Arthur Gibson seems to show a non-drooping
nose. That makes it more difficult for the What-If addicts ...
Such as me! I broke the dropping nose system of my concorde while building. So I decided to finished it as a Bombcorde, with a fixed nose. I canted the whole cockpit instead of dropping the nose! ;)

The quote on the Avro 730 is the sad thruth... :(
 

Thorvic

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To be honest if Concorde was considered as a Military Bomber than it would not have had the Blue Steels, they would have gone for the stand off cruise missile concepts that were envisioned for the TSR2 as supersconic cruise missiles or possibly the US Sram missiles.
I suspect they would have created a bomb bay of two to carry them or atleast have them semi recessed, with possibly a fairing to protect them during the outbound flight.

G
 

alertken

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The timing of formation of MoS' Supersonic Transport Aircraft Committee was just as M2.6 Avro 730 was deleted, partly due to SAMs, more to the pain of working in stainless steel. Try M2.2+alloy. RAE then had a wholly military ethos; the /Aero team that had defined the 730(Bristol/AWA T.188) layout moved to (to be) ogees, while /Weapons schemed means of conveying ASMs until they all realised that the weapon must have speed, the platform range. Hence 1961 sketches for Skybolt on VC10 and (Avro 776) DH.121(MR) - 3 view, D.Wood, Project Cancelled,1975, Ch.8 {P.146 in my {US}edition}. Not until March,1959 did RAE present to Ministers that what could best be transported was paying punters, and even then the peg was "to keep our position as a leading aeronautical power".

A factor in France buying in to this non-egalitarian project was a view that Mirage IV would benefit from structural fatigue data from a high-utilisation supersonic cruise vehicle, part-funded off-military budget.
 

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Below is a note given to me by Phil Butler (the author) when I asked him if he knew what serial number the RAF Concorde might have got, he also added a very interesting note which seems to point to the idea that it was considered quite seriously:

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

My best guess would be XW520, which would be a mid-1968 number. As a matter of interest, when I worked on equipment to go on Concorde it was always classed as 'Common Aeronautical Supply' - that is not civilian (CAA or ARB), nor military (AQD), but in the unusual 'CAS' category, meaning it could go immediately to either civilian or military use without further formalities. It would be interesting to know how that came about.....

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Cheers, Robert
 

archipeppe

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Interesting topic, I found out the same image of the "Concorde Bomber" in other forums.

I will try out to do a 3-views of the RAF Concorde (in V-Bomber fashion) taking into account that in the b/w image the nose is slight different from the civil version (fixed windshield and a bombing radar in the forward part).
 

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A user called Vega ECM made the following interesting statement at the bottom of a related thread at https://forum.keypublishing.com/showthread.php?52969-Concorde-for-the-RAF-(Zombie-Thread-from-2006)/page2:

"A good few years ago I was in the Concorde archive legitimately looking for something but couldn't resist from typing 'Military Concorde' into the search. Only two documents came up;- the first dated 1970, was a study on how much of military value could be learnt by the Chinese if they bought a few, but the second dated 1974, was a proposal to the RAF for military versions. This report was about 40 pages and detailed 3 potential versions;- The first was a transport version , a drawing shows a swing nose and landrovers driving down a long ramp. This proposal was covered by just 2 of the 40 pages and really had very little detail. The next is a supersonic strike aircraft. A drawing shows 3 nuclear strike missiles (looking a bit like AGM-69 SRAM's) within the fuselage launched on angled tubes exiting the fuselage underside. This proposal runs to about 10 pages. There's quite a bit of info on mission profile, tactical equipment fit etc. The third proposal is for a tactical recon version. This occupies the majority of the report. Lots of info on camera / radar / eves dropping kit / decoys / ECM mission profiles etc. I would suggest the number of pages in the report probably represents the relative interest from the customer.

Good stuff, all history now."
 

jsport

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we do all so much miss the Concorde.

That drawing of the transport version would be "priceless" :(
 

Archibald

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Hey, look who posted on top of page 2. An aviation buff whose username was Archibaald. I wonder what hapened to him. ::) (runs for cover)
They even stole our very own Altertken. Bad guys.
 

jsport

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TsrJoe said:
FICTIONAL 'RAF. Support Command' Concorde, RAF. Yearbook 1971
Thanks for posting.
 

litzj

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aemann said:
Just had some info on the "Bomcorde".

It was dreamt up by one Arthur Gibson who appears to be/have been a painter. He knocked up that pic as a what-if, as if Concorde could carry 3 x Blue Steels at 15000lbs apiece and maintain supersonic performance. Launching would have been fun with the trim control system working overtime. However, it was never an official or an industry study.

The only other military application for Concorde was its use to simulate Soviet Backfire bombers in the early 1980s.

GA of "Bomcorde" attached.
If it was tried, armament configuration could not be that way.

Because shock wave or disturbed flow from the missile affect inlet severely, designer should kept weapon inside of the internal bomb-bay.

Space between the engine room is also possible position, but there are landing gears, unfortunately.

Anyway it is interesting
 

martinbayer

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litzj said:
aemann said:
Just had some info on the "Bomcorde".

It was dreamt up by one Arthur Gibson who appears to be/have been a painter. He knocked up that pic as a what-if, as if Concorde could carry 3 x Blue Steels at 15000lbs apiece and maintain supersonic performance. Launching would have been fun with the trim control system working overtime. However, it was never an official or an industry study.

The only other military application for Concorde was its use to simulate Soviet Backfire bombers in the early 1980s.

GA of "Bomcorde" attached.
If it was tried, armament configuration could not be that way.

Because shock wave or disturbed flow from the missile affect inlet severely, designer should kept weapon inside of the internal bomb-bay.

Space between the engine room is also possible position, but there are landing gears, unfortunately.

Anyway it is interesting
This is exactly why I found the comment of Vega ECM so remarkable - the described arrangement keeps the weapons internal (assuming potential issues with the continuous centre wing structure and weapons deployment/ejection could be sorted out), and this is the only online reference discussing an armed or military Concorde variant that I'm aware of (and I've done a fair amount of searching on that topic) that does not start with some vague variation of "I heard...", but where the author (assuming (s)he is credible) refers to an actual concrete written report that (s)he firsthand found and read in an official database. Any additional insights would be welcome.

Martin
 

litzj

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martinbayer said:
litzj said:
aemann said:
Just had some info on the "Bomcorde".

It was dreamt up by one Arthur Gibson who appears to be/have been a painter. He knocked up that pic as a what-if, as if Concorde could carry 3 x Blue Steels at 15000lbs apiece and maintain supersonic performance. Launching would have been fun with the trim control system working overtime. However, it was never an official or an industry study.

The only other military application for Concorde was its use to simulate Soviet Backfire bombers in the early 1980s.

GA of "Bomcorde" attached.
If it was tried, armament configuration could not be that way.

Because shock wave or disturbed flow from the missile affect inlet severely, designer should kept weapon inside of the internal bomb-bay.

Space between the engine room is also possible position, but there are landing gears, unfortunately.

Anyway it is interesting
This is exactly why I found the comment of Vega ECM so remarkable - the described arrangement keeps the weapons internal (assuming potential issues with the continuous centre wing structure and weapons deployment/ejection could be sorted out), and this is the only online reference discussing an armed or military Concorde variant that I'm aware of (and I've done a fair amount of searching on that topic) that does not start with some vague variation of "I heard...", but where the author (assuming (s)he is credible) refers to an actual concrete written report that (s)he firsthand found and read in an official database. Any additional insights would be welcome.

Martin
I would love this possible project, however Concorde had serious problem for ‘military conversion’

1. when I saw this in Paris air museum, it has tall landing gear and very high height in order to obtain enough aoa at the ground. But it means that weapon load for internal bay and maintenance are very hard to ground crew.

2. as I talk in previous comment, external pylon for concorde is also not easy. this explains why b58 hustler has bizzare shape compare to concorde

3. age of supersonic bomber without stealth performance was already gone

4. fuselage of concorde is very narrow, it is not easy to integrate bomb bay on this beauty
 

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In the proposal there wasn’t a bomb bay, so no big chop out of structure or doors.

The 3 SRAMs would be carried inside the fuselage, there just 18inches in diameter, with one missile in front of each other along the length of the fuselage. The missile diameter is easily small enough to fit between the wing carry through spars which span across the fuselage floor. The launch tube are angled, one tube per missile.

When they first trialed Concorde as supersonic target, the RAF and others couldn’t get anywhere near it. The trials were suspended while there was a rethink of procedures. The latter trials did result in some successful interceptions but even these were very marginal. The interception turns had to be timed to very fine margins and profiles flown very precisely. There’s an account of an F4 that failed because he arrived at a key turn in the profile just a second and half late. The pilot noted his amazement at quickly the gap opens and the incept fails. I believe there were 18 flights in all over, about 3 years, I think in 3 batches. This was all done without the target and others deliberately messing with the tracking radar, launching decoys, radar killing missiles etc

Concorde probably had at least the same chance of getting through as a B52.
 

Archibald

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From memory, French Air Force Mirages (all three generations of them, III, F1 and 2000) played that game against concorde and failed repeatedly. They were already in trouble against Mirage IVs simulating Tupolev bombers, and Concorde was even worse.
 

LowObservable

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There is a useful PPrune thread on the topic of Concorde interceptions.

https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/505899-concorde-chasing.html

It seemed entirely possible to engage a high-fast with a snap-up attack, if you had enough time to position the interceptor in the target's path... which is why you had such things as the DEW Line and AEW.
 

JFC Fuller

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LowObservable said:
There is a useful PPrune thread on the topic of Concorde interceptions.

https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/505899-concorde-chasing.html

It seemed entirely possible to engage a high-fast with a snap-up attack, if you had enough time to position the interceptor in the target's path... which is why you had such things as the DEW Line and AEW.
Pretty much the same conclusion the RAF came to in 1956 when considering the future of the Avro 730.
 

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There was a magazine article on those Concorde intereceptions not so long ago. ISTR it was in 'Aviation Historian', can't find it at the moment.
 

Michel Van

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I don't know if A Military Concorde run under this Concept

There were British study for "The Very Rapid Reaction Force" in 1960s
a Supersonic, later Hypersonic transport Aircraft carry seventy Troops and there Equipment to needed Mission.
later study went to Mach 7 transporter like Hawker Siddeley HS.681
i wonder if Concorde even was under consideration for this "VRRF" proposal.

Just a Theory of me: misconception of BAC Warton P.42 as Military Concorde ?
BAC made several studies for Military hypersonic aircraft at mach 5, under Studies EAG.3273 to EAG.4446
Some of those design look very like a Concorde. could this design be mistaken by authors as Military Concorde ?

Source:
British Secret projects
Hypersonics, Ramjets & Missiles
by Chris Gibson & Tony Buttler
 

kaiserd

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Zootycoon said:
In the proposal there wasn’t a bomb bay, so no big chop out of structure or doors.

The 3 SRAMs would be carried inside the fuselage, there just 18inches in diameter, with one missile in front of each other along the length of the fuselage. The missile diameter is easily small enough to fit between the wing carry through spars which span across the fuselage floor. The launch tube are angled, one tube per missile.

When they first trialed Concorde as supersonic target, the RAF and others couldn’t get anywhere near it. The trials were suspended while there was a rethink of procedures. The latter trials did result in some successful interceptions but even these were very marginal. The interception turns had to be timed to very fine margins and profiles flown very precisely. There’s an account of an F4 that failed because he arrived at a key turn in the profile just a second and half late. The pilot noted his amazement at quickly the gap opens and the incept fails. I believe there were 18 flights in all over, about 3 years, I think in 3 batches. This was all done without the target and others deliberately messing with the tracking radar, launching decoys, radar killing missiles etc

Concorde probably had at least the same chance of getting through as a B52.
As noted in subsequent comments there is plenty of evidence that the UK and contempories abandoned high altitude high speed bombers before or roughly the same time any theoretical Concorde bomber would have been available. Even the stunning B-70 didn’t survive this reality.
The B-58 had to get used operating at low level before it was retired at an early age.
And the reality was that updated B-52s were more survivable and more effective when operating at low altitude then these later aircraft
 

martinbayer

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litzj said:
martinbayer said:
litzj said:
aemann said:
Just had some info on the "Bomcorde".

It was dreamt up by one Arthur Gibson who appears to be/have been a painter. He knocked up that pic as a what-if, as if Concorde could carry 3 x Blue Steels at 15000lbs apiece and maintain supersonic performance. Launching would have been fun with the trim control system working overtime. However, it was never an official or an industry study.

The only other military application for Concorde was its use to simulate Soviet Backfire bombers in the early 1980s.

GA of "Bomcorde" attached.
If it was tried, armament configuration could not be that way.

Because shock wave or disturbed flow from the missile affect inlet severely, designer should kept weapon inside of the internal bomb-bay.

Space between the engine room is also possible position, but there are landing gears, unfortunately.

Anyway it is interesting
This is exactly why I found the comment of Vega ECM so remarkable - the described arrangement keeps the weapons internal (assuming potential issues with the continuous centre wing structure and weapons deployment/ejection could be sorted out), and this is the only online reference discussing an armed or military Concorde variant that I'm aware of (and I've done a fair amount of searching on that topic) that does not start with some vague variation of "I heard...", but where the author (assuming (s)he is credible) refers to an actual concrete written report that (s)he firsthand found and read in an official database. Any additional insights would be welcome.

Martin
I would love this possible project, however Concorde had serious problem for ‘military conversion’

1. when I saw this in Paris air museum, it has tall landing gear and very high height in order to obtain enough aoa at the ground. But it means that weapon load for internal bay and maintenance are very hard to ground crew.

2. as I talk in previous comment, external pylon for concorde is also not easy. this explains why b58 hustler has bizzare shape compare to concorde

3. age of supersonic bomber without stealth performance was already gone

4. fuselage of concorde is very narrow, it is not easy to integrate bomb bay on this beauty
Once again, the described concept had internal weapon launch tubes, so no need for any external pylons.
 

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And nobody bought a military Concorde;- if anyone really wanted to chuck SRAM’s around they would have been much better off buying F111 which could carry 4 and fly at low level (or integrating it on Tornado) . The whole Concorde strike aircraft probably amounted to little more than a dozen or so pages in a futile attempt to sell just a few more when the writing was on the wall for the whole project.

That said;-
Tu 95 was not known for its low level performance but like B52, it’s still in service;- B52 has been used quite a bit but seldom if ever has it needed its low level capabilities;- most of it’s work is at medium level (even Nam). As has the B1 and when Tu160’s have come steaming inbound to test the UK air defences they’ve not been particularly low. SR71 was a high alt, high speed but it’s frequently claimed that it’s never been intercepted or missile locked. Does the real experience of the last 40 years really rule out high level high speed?

Maybe the real reason to kill ambitious projects/small fleets was far more mundane in particular very high costs.
 

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Interesting to consider if the Tu-160 had settled on this delta wing design. Range would have suffered somewhat, but in return, it would have much faster time-to-target.
 

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PaulMM (Overscan) said:
Interesting to consider if the Tu-160 had settled on this delta wing design. Range would have suffered somewhat, but in return, it would have much faster time-to-target.
Thx for Post. As far as I remember, Yefim Gordon's book also showed similar pic. of model.

Finally, VG was adopted to consider various flight region.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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The beginning of the Tu-160 were the blended-wing 160M, that one above is from later on- from the Tu-160 book by A. M. Zatuchny, V. Rigmant and P. M. Sineokiy.

More appropriate to the topic is this Tu-144 with ballistic missiles - the mechanism is interesting.
 

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Zootycoon said:
SR71 was a high alt, high speed but it’s frequently claimed that it’s never been intercepted or missile locked.
Some BAC Lightning pilots would dispute that, just as they would dispute that Concorde could not be intercepted. SR-71s were intercepted by Lightnings flying ballistic trajectories above the SR-71's flightpath.
 

sferrin

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Kadija_Man said:
Zootycoon said:
SR71 was a high alt, high speed but it’s frequently claimed that it’s never been intercepted or missile locked.
Some BAC Lightning pilots would dispute that, just as they would dispute that Concorde could not be intercepted. SR-71s were intercepted by Lightnings flying ballistic trajectories above the SR-71's flightpath.
Flying a ballistic path over an aircraft flying under control is unlikely to result in an intercept. Just ask the many Soviet pilots who tried that against subsonic U-2s.
 

overscan (PaulMM)

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Indeed. Getting to 84,000ft in a zoom climb is one thing - doing at at the precise second to watch the SR-71 streak by out your window at Mach 3.5 is terribly hard.

Also you'll be travelling slowly on a ballistic path - good luck aiming your Red Top AAM. Which won't go fast enough to catch it in a tailchase....
 

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Your points are valid but the claim was that the SR-71 had "never been intercepted or had a missile lock". The Lightnings did both. Therefore, my point stands, the SR-71 had been intercepted and had suffered a missile lock.

Red Top was IIRC an "all angle" IR missile against supersonic targets and that describes the SR-71. Therefore, firing it in a stern chase wasn't necessary.
 

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I couldn't possibly d'iss the contributor's aircraft recognition skills, but they wouldn't happen to have seen this?
 

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Zootycoon said:
SR71 was a high alt, high speed but it’s frequently claimed that it’s never been intercepted or missile locked. Does the real experience of the last 40 years really rule out high level high speed?
Reading this
https://theaviationgeekclub.com/viggen-vs-blackbird-swedish-air-force-ja-37-fighter-pilots-able-achieve-radar-lock-legendary-sr-71-mach-3-spy-plane/
... makes me think JA37 Viggen and MiG-25 were able to achieve missile lock on an SR-71.
Almost every time the SR-71 was about to leave the Baltic, a lone MiG-25 Foxbat belonging to the 787th IAP at Finow-Eberwalde in the German Democratic Republic was scrambled. […] Arriving at its exit point, the “Baltic Express” was flying at about 22km and the lone MiG would reach about 19km in a left turn before rolling out and always completing its stern attack 3km behind its target. We were always impressed by this precision; it was always 22km and 3 km behind the SR-71. [this would seem to suggest that these were the parameters necessary for its weapons system to effect a successful intercept if the order to fire was ever given.] This is interesting, since US Air Force intelligence specialists and SR-71 crewmembers believed that the only possibility of an interceptor successful engaging a Blackbird would be head on, a position given further credence by the fact that the DEF systems designed to tackle an airborne threat operating within the X-band (DEF A2) was forward-facing]. When the SR-71 detachment at Mildellhall [Mildenhall] was deactivated, the 787th IAP re-equipped with new MiG-29 Fulcrum, but even after the withdrawal, we believe that at least three Foxbats remained behind at Finow-Eberswalde, just in case the “Baltic Express” returned!
As told by Crickmore, the first successful intercept of an SR-71 over the Baltic was carried out by Per-Olof Eldh, who recalls the incident: “In the 1980, I joined the 2nd Squadron “Blue Marlins” of Fighter Wing 13, equipped with the JA-37 fighter Viggen and based at Bravalla, just outside the town of Norrkšping, on the Baltic coast. Our mission was to conduct operational task and evaluation focused on air defence and air superiority. We were already equipped with a datalink from the air defence network; the next step was to establish it between fighters and we achieved this in 1981. Integrating this with the PS-46 air-to-air pulse-Doppler radar and the Skyflash missile provided the JA-37 with a significant enhanced capability. Looking at the map display on the MFD, the pilot could see other friendlies, the enemy, SAM sites, etc, and this information was constantly updated via the datalink by fighter controllers and other JA-37s, giving the pilot unprecedented levels of situational awareness. In fact, the system was so good that we could employ the same tactics – line abreast, box formations or scissors maneuvers – day or night in VFR or IFR [visual flight rules or instrument flight rules] conditions.

When i conducted the first Swedish Air Force intercept of an SR-71, the target had completed its north-bound pass of the Soviet coastline, and had turned west, south of the Finnish island of Aland, and was tracking south of a heading that would take it between Gotland and Öland. The datalink from the fighter controller was on, and I lined up for a head-on attack with a target angle of 180°. From my altitude of 8.000m I accelerated to Mach 1.35 then pulled up, very gently, continuing to accelerate to between Mach 1.7 and Mach 2.0, topping out at between 18.500 and 20.000m. All the target data was on my map display, including radar detection of the target at maximum range, which then locked on immediately afterwards. I simulated missile launches – the closing velocity was very high, between Mach 4.5 and 5.0; the SR-71 was flying at Mach 2.98 and 21.500m.
I had visual contact.

In total I have five hot intercepts against the SR-71 to my credit. All can be described as successful. I was visual three times; on a couple of occasions the SR-71 was contrailing, which was very useful because you could do a visual check to ensure you ended up in the right spot!

When we began conducting these SR-71 intercepts, the squadron began a special air safety program and we all underwent an intense series of emergency procedure checks in the simulator, because we were flying at the outer edges of the envelope and at higher risk.

On January 1986, while leading a JA-37 three-ship in aircraft tail number “38”, we received target data immediately after take-off from Bravalla. We flew in trail, receiving updated target information over the link from both the fighter controller and the other fighters in the formation. All three of us carried out successful intercepts between 13:14 hours and 13:25 hours, about 50km west of the town of Visby, on the island of Gotland. Major Moller was number two, in tail number “60”, and Captain Ulf Johansson number three in tail number “53”.
I remember that the SR-71 was flying at an altitude of 22.000m and a speed of Mach 2.9. Ulf had some difficulties coming back to earth – he actually reached the target’s altitude and passed the SR-71 head-on at the same altitude with some side separation, but suffered a high temperature engine stall! A cartoon drawn by SAS Captain Stefan Lofren to commemorate this event was used as a poster in our briefing room.”
 

sferrin

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Kadija_Man said:
Your points are valid but the claim was that the SR-71 had "never been intercepted or had a missile lock". The Lightnings did both.
Evidence?
 

sferrin

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Arjen said:
Zootycoon said:
SR71 was a high alt, high speed but it’s frequently claimed that it’s never been intercepted or missile locked. Does the real experience of the last 40 years really rule out high level high speed?
Reading this
https://theaviationgeekclub.com/viggen-vs-blackbird-swedish-air-force-ja-37-fighter-pilots-able-achieve-radar-lock-legendary-sr-71-mach-3-spy-plane/
... makes me think JA37 Viggen and MiG-25 were able to achieve missile lock on an SR-71.
Almost every time the SR-71 was about to leave the Baltic, a lone MiG-25 Foxbat belonging to the 787th IAP at Finow-Eberwalde in the German Democratic Republic was scrambled. […] Arriving at its exit point, the “Baltic Express” was flying at about 22km and the lone MiG would reach about 19km in a left turn before rolling out and always completing its stern attack 3km behind its target. We were always impressed by this precision; it was always 22km and 3 km behind the SR-71. [this would seem to suggest that these were the parameters necessary for its weapons system to effect a successful intercept if the order to fire was ever given.] This is interesting, since US Air Force intelligence specialists and SR-71 crewmembers believed that the only possibility of an interceptor successful engaging a Blackbird would be head on, a position given further credence by the fact that the DEF systems designed to tackle an airborne threat operating within the X-band (DEF A2) was forward-facing]. When the SR-71 detachment at Mildellhall [Mildenhall] was deactivated, the 787th IAP re-equipped with new MiG-29 Fulcrum, but even after the withdrawal, we believe that at least three Foxbats remained behind at Finow-Eberswalde, just in case the “Baltic Express” returned!
As told by Crickmore, the first successful intercept of an SR-71 over the Baltic was carried out by Per-Olof Eldh, who recalls the incident: “In the 1980, I joined the 2nd Squadron “Blue Marlins” of Fighter Wing 13, equipped with the JA-37 fighter Viggen and based at Bravalla, just outside the town of Norrkšping, on the Baltic coast. Our mission was to conduct operational task and evaluation focused on air defence and air superiority. We were already equipped with a datalink from the air defence network; the next step was to establish it between fighters and we achieved this in 1981. Integrating this with the PS-46 air-to-air pulse-Doppler radar and the Skyflash missile provided the JA-37 with a significant enhanced capability. Looking at the map display on the MFD, the pilot could see other friendlies, the enemy, SAM sites, etc, and this information was constantly updated via the datalink by fighter controllers and other JA-37s, giving the pilot unprecedented levels of situational awareness. In fact, the system was so good that we could employ the same tactics – line abreast, box formations or scissors maneuvers – day or night in VFR or IFR [visual flight rules or instrument flight rules] conditions.

When i conducted the first Swedish Air Force intercept of an SR-71, the target had completed its north-bound pass of the Soviet coastline, and had turned west, south of the Finnish island of Aland, and was tracking south of a heading that would take it between Gotland and Öland. The datalink from the fighter controller was on, and I lined up for a head-on attack with a target angle of 180°. From my altitude of 8.000m I accelerated to Mach 1.35 then pulled up, very gently, continuing to accelerate to between Mach 1.7 and Mach 2.0, topping out at between 18.500 and 20.000m. All the target data was on my map display, including radar detection of the target at maximum range, which then locked on immediately afterwards. I simulated missile launches – the closing velocity was very high, between Mach 4.5 and 5.0; the SR-71 was flying at Mach 2.98 and 21.500m.
I had visual contact.

In total I have five hot intercepts against the SR-71 to my credit. All can be described as successful. I was visual three times; on a couple of occasions the SR-71 was contrailing, which was very useful because you could do a visual check to ensure you ended up in the right spot!

When we began conducting these SR-71 intercepts, the squadron began a special air safety program and we all underwent an intense series of emergency procedure checks in the simulator, because we were flying at the outer edges of the envelope and at higher risk.

On January 1986, while leading a JA-37 three-ship in aircraft tail number “38”, we received target data immediately after take-off from Bravalla. We flew in trail, receiving updated target information over the link from both the fighter controller and the other fighters in the formation. All three of us carried out successful intercepts between 13:14 hours and 13:25 hours, about 50km west of the town of Visby, on the island of Gotland. Major Moller was number two, in tail number “60”, and Captain Ulf Johansson number three in tail number “53”.
I remember that the SR-71 was flying at an altitude of 22.000m and a speed of Mach 2.9. Ulf had some difficulties coming back to earth – he actually reached the target’s altitude and passed the SR-71 head-on at the same altitude with some side separation, but suffered a high temperature engine stall! A cartoon drawn by SAS Captain Stefan Lofren to commemorate this event was used as a poster in our briefing room.”
Sure. F-15s did the same thing - when the SR-71s weren't treating them as a threat. When the Blackbird pilots treated them as threats there was zero success on the part of the Eagle pilots.
 
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