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Entries in A-12 (2)


Hammers of Hell

On April 30, 1962 at the then super-secret Area 51 facility at Groom Lake, Nevada, those who witnessed the first flight of the new A-12 spy plane were awe-struck by the raw power it displayed. It was so loud that somebody named it "The Hammers of Hell" on the spot.  Built by Lockheed for the CIA, its mission was to spy on the Soviet Union and its client states. Construction plans called for it to be largely built from a rare material called titanium. This was the only metal known that could withstand the super heating the air frame would experience at 3 times the speed of sound and altitudes above 80,000 feet. Using a series of fake companies and import firms, Lockheed was able to obtain the Titanium from non-other than the Soviet Union itself. So they helped the United States build a spy plane that they were never able to shoot down. It just flew too high and too fast. At altitude A-12 pilots reported that the sky turned black, the stars came out and they could see the curvature of the earth. They often out ran missiles shot at them. None were ever lost to enemy fire.

A-12 Trainer

A-12 Trainer, originally uploaded by big_pixel_pusher.

This is the only 2 seat version of the A-12 spy plane ever built. Operated by the CIA, this aircraft was the predecessor to the SR-71 Blackbird. Only one of 2 Blackbirds not actually painted black. This aircraft is bare metal with the exception of the nose and twin tails. Cloaked in absolute secrecy for most of it's operational life, it's good that the public can see this amazing aircraft now.