Jump to content

Hladni rat


Recommended Posts



Forty years ago, in May 1968, the submarine USS Scorpion sank in mysterious circumstances with a loss of 99 lives. The tragedy occurred during the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. Now, drawing on hours of exclusive interviews as well as recently declassified United States and Soviet intelligence files, Kenneth Sewell and Jerome Preisler explain what really happened to Scorpion. When a Soviet sub mysteriously sank near Hawaii, hundreds of miles from its normal station, Soviet naval leaders mistakenly believed that a U.S. submarine was to blame. Using a cryptographic unit acquired from the North Koreans to decipher classified Navy communications, they set a trap for revenge. All Hands Down explains how the plan was executed and why the truth of the attack has been officially denied for 40 years.
Link to comment
  • 1 month later...

Israel Crosses the Threshold II: The Nixon Administration Debates the Emergence of the Israeli Nuclear Program

DOD's Paul Warnke Warned in Early 1969 that Israeli Nuclear Program is "the Single Most Dangerous Phenomenon in an Area Dangerous Enough Without Nuclear Weapons"

President Nixon Overrode Near Consensus of Senior U.S. Officials on Threat Posed by Israeli Nuclear Program in 1969

NSSM 40 and Related Records Released in Full for First Time



National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 485

Posted - September 12, 2014

Edited by William Burr and Avner Cohen

For more information contact:

William Burr - 202/994-7000 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu

Avner Cohen - 831/647-6437 or 202/489-6282В (cell); avnerc@miis.edu 



Some of the key players in the Nixon administration debate on the Israeli nuclear program standing outside the Pentagon on 14 June 1969, for Flag Day ceremonies. Shown from left to right are JCS Chairman Earle Wheeler, President Richard Nixon, and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird. Looking somewhat perturbed, national security adviser Henry Kissinger can be seen further to the right. (Photo source: National Archives, Still Pictures Division, RG 342B, box 1156)



Before he left office, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Paul Warnke played an important role in flagging the Israeli nuclear weapons issue to the new Defense Department leadership as it was coming to power in early 1969. (Photo courtesy of Office of Historian, Office of Secretary of Defense)





Another important player in the Israeli nuclear weapons issue, Deputy Secretary of Defense and Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard, shown at a meeting. (Photo courtesy of Office of Historian, Office of Secretary of Defense)




Nixon, Laird, and Wheeler inside the Pentagon on Flag Day. Standing behind Laird is his military assistant, U.S. Air Force Colonel Robert Pursley, who played a significant role in moving forward the relevant papers on the Israeli nuclear issue. Pursley had served as military assistant to Secretaries of Defense Robert McNamara and Clark Clifford. (Photo source: National Archives, Still Pictures Division, RG 342B, box 1156)




Washington, D.C., September 12, 2014  During the spring and summer of 1969, officials at the Pentagon, the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the White House debated and discussed the problem of the emergence of a nuclear Israel. Believing that Israel was moving very close to a nuclear weapons capability or even possession of actual weapons, the Nixon administration debated whether to apply pressure to restrain the Israelis or even delay delivery of advanced Phantom jets whose sale had already been approved.


Recently declassified documents produced in response to a mandatory declassification review request by the National Security Archive, and published today by the Archive in cooperation with the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project, show that top officials at the Pentagon were especially supportive of applying pressure on Israel. On 14 July 1969, Deputy Secretary of Defense (and Hewlett-Packard co-founder) David Packard signed a truly arresting memorandum to Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, arguing that failure to exert such pressure "would involve us in a conspiracy with Israel which would leave matters dangerous to our security in their hands."


In the end, Laird and Packard and others favoring pressure lost the debate. While National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger supported some of their ideas, he also believed that, at the minimum, it would be sufficient for U.S. interests if Israel kept their nuclear activities secret. As he put on his draft memo to President Nixon on or around July 19, "public knowledge is almost as dangerous as possession itself." Indeed, Nixon opposed pressure and was willing to tolerate Israeli nuclear weapons as long as they stayed secret.


In April 2006 the National Security Archive published Electronic Briefing Book (EBB) 189, titled "Israel Crosses the Threshold" and edited by William Burr and Avner Cohen (now with the Monterey Institute for International Studies). That collection included some 31 documents revealing how the Nixon administration responded in its first year in office to the challenge of the emergence of a nuclear Israel. The EBB focused largely on the tale of National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM) 40, a request for an interagency study and recommendations regarding Israel's nuclear program, the only NSSM from the Nixon era whose actual title was still classified in 2006. That EBB provided the first glimpse of one of the most sensitive policy debates that took place in 1969 among Nixon administration officials.


The documents published in 2006 illuminated only a limited portion of the drama, as a great deal remained unknown, especially the intelligence findings that made senior officials worry over how far Israel had gone in crossing the nuclear threshold. While the documents then available did show that the Pentagon favored putting pressure on Israel, it was unknown who exactly within the Defense Department was most responsible for generating the momentum that eventually led Kissinger to initiate the NSSM 40 process.


Earlier this year (2014), in response to a mandatory declassification review appeal filed by the National Security Archive in July 2009, the Interagency Security Classification Appeal Panel (ISCAP) declassified additional documents and information that shed brighter light on this highly sensitive policy debate. NSSM 40 is now declassified and published for the first time as is the formal interagency response to it. The intelligence reports prepared during the NSSM process remain classified, however.


These along with other documents in the ISCAP release (including records that were declassified in 2007 and material published in 2006) elucidate the complexity and the enormous sensitivity of the internal debate over how far to apply pressure and what exactly the U.S. should ask of Israel. The interagency response revealed unanimity in goals-Israel should sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and halt its weapons program-but exposed significant divisions over how far Israel should be pressed and whether Washington should use military sales-in particular, withholding the delivery of Phantom jets, as leverage. There were also differences in how various officials assessed and conceptualized Israel's nuclear status at that time, and what commitments could realistically be asked of Israel. It might well be that the split of opinion between Defense and State allowed President Nixon even more freedom in making his own decision.


It appears now that a long memorandum written by Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Warnke, a holdover from the Lyndon Johnson administration, to the new secretary of defense, Melvin Laird, was important element in the instigation of NSSM 40. Believing that it would be a danger to US interests if Israel acquired nuclear weapons, Warnke argued in his memo of 15 February 1969 that the United States must respond to the new Israeli nuclear reality and asked Laird to "consider another serious, concerted, and sustained effort to persuade Israel to halt its work on strategic missiles and nuclear weapons." Warnke believed that Washington must be ready to exert heavy pressure on Israel, starting with a presidential demarche.


The view that it would be a danger to US security interests if Israel acquired nuclear weapons was at that time a largely non-partisan matter. Senior Democrats and Republicans within both the Johnson and Nixon administrations held that view, and both Laird and his deputy David Packard were responsive to Warnke's arguments that the US should apply pressure. To some extent, as Packard suggested in his July memorandum, even Kissinger seems at one time to have been part of that consensus, though his views were somewhat more subtle and variable. This nonpartisan consensus highlights how at the end independent-in fact, secretive and aloof-President Nixon was as he made his own decisions on the matter. Thus, he ruled against using the Phantoms as pressure and in doing so left the United States with no leverage whatsoever.


ISCAP's declassification actions take away some-but surely not all-of the mystery surrounding NSSM 40. The details of the intelligence findings that raised U.S. government concerns about the Israeli nuclear program remain classified, and ISCAP upheld excisions made by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The CIA used its statutory exemption to withhold information, but it is not clear whether that was true of all of the intelligence details that were exempted from the documents presented below.


The historical picture is far from complete in other areas as well. Most intriguing, we still do not know much about President Nixon's direct involvement in the debate, in particular exactly how, when, and why he ultimately overruled strong advice from senior officials to use pressure against the Israeli government. A draft Kissinger memorandum, declassified in 2007 and included in today's publication, sheds some light on why Nixon may have concluded that keeping the Israeli nuclear program a secret was the optimum solution.


Certainly the outcome of the Nixon-Meir secret understanding-which left the Israeli program in place and secret-was significantly different from the recommendations of his key officials (not withstanding National Security Advisor, Henry Kissinger), but to this day we have almost no paper trail on the most important element in the policy puzzle: what exactly went on during the Nixon-Meir one-on-one meeting of 26 September 1969. Indeed, it appears that no record exists in the national archives of either country that reveals what was agreed to at the meeting.

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Danas je tzv. Petrov Day, odnosno dan kad je 1983. godine Stanislav Jevgrafovic Petrov doprineo da ne izbije globalni nuklearni rat, sa svim pratecim posledicama. U UN se lobira da 26. septembar proglase za Medjunarodni Petrovljev dan, posvecen razoruzanju, narocito strateskom. 

Link to comment
Computers in the USSR: A story of missed opportunities
September 24, 2014 Aram Ter-Ghazaryan, special to RBTH
The Soviet computer industry underwent rapid development until the beginning of the 1970s, when the government effectively curtailed innovation in this area. Some of this knowledge is still so valuable that it remains classified.
BESM-6 control panel in the Computing and Automatization Laboratory. Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. Source: Boris Ushmaykin / RIA Novosti
Immediately after World War II Stalin’s government began to recognize the need to achieve a technical breakthrough in industry and science as the burgeoning Cold War required the mobilization of the nation’s intellectual resources. By the early 1950s the USSR had established a modern computer industry. However, by the beginning of the 1970s, the Soviet government decided to put a stop to these unique developments and resolved to pirate copies of Western systems instead. As a result, an entire industry’s progress was halted. First steps: From the USSR to the future The first steps toward creating a small electronic computing machine (MESM) were made in 1948 in a secret laboratory in Feofaniya, near Kiev. The work was overseen by Sergei Lebedev, at the time Director of the Institute of Electrical Engineering. He proposed, justified and implemented the principles of an electronic computing machine with a storage program. In 1953 Lebedev led a team that created the first large electronic computing machine, known as the BESM-1. It was assembled in Moscow at the Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Engineering.
The original computer systems in the USSR were not unified under a common standard, even within the confines of a single series. Modern computers could not “understand” their predecessors. The machines were incompatible based on criteria like digit capacity and peripherals. Because of a lack of unified standards and a misguided development strategy, the Soviet computer industry had begun to seriously lag behind by the beginning of the 1970s. Andrey Ershov, one of the founders of computer technology in the Soviet Union, openly stated that if Viktor Glushkov had not ceased developing the Mir series, the world’s best personal computer would have been created in the USSR. The fatal flaw: pirating IBM In 1969 Soviet authorities decided to terminate these developments and start creating computers on the basis of the IBM/360 platform. In other words, they decided to pirate Western systems. “This was the worst possible decision,” says Yury Revich, a historian and programmer. “The Soviet government and partly the builders themselves were to blame for the fact that the industry ceased to develop independently. Each group cooked in its own juices and the regime of secrecy made it easier for several technological solutions to be borrowed from Western scientific journals.” In Revich’s opinion, this caused the Soviet computer industry to lag behind. By the time the USSR launched its first ES EVM mainframe in 1971, the U.S. had already transitioned to the next-generation IBM/370.
The fatal flaw: pirating IBM
In 1969 Soviet authorities decided to terminate these developments and start creating computers on the basis of the IBM/360 platform. In other words, they decided to pirate Western systems. “This was the worst possible decision,” says Yury Revich, a historian and programmer. “The Soviet government and partly the builders themselves were to blame for the fact that the industry ceased to develop independently. Each group cooked in its own juices and the regime of secrecy made it easier for several technological solutions to be borrowed from Western scientific journals.” In Revich’s opinion, this caused the Soviet computer industry to lag behind. By the time the USSR launched its first ES EVM mainframe in 1971, the U.S. had already transitioned to the next-generation IBM/370.
“Developers had to perform a momentous amount of work – no less than they had to do to create computers from scratch – including translating the programs and much more,” Revich explains. “But the result was totally inadequate. World science lost a lot because of that decision.” In the 1980s the computer industry stagnated. “I caught the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s when there were two or three types of computers in the country,” recalls Maxim Moshkov, the founder of Lib.ru, Russia’s first electronic library. “At work I had two boxes the size of an office desk, 1.5 meters tall, that handled ordinary wage calculations for employees.” He explained that the boxes contained 16 megabytes of RAM and were maintained by a 15-member team of programmers, administrators and technicians. “Foreign computers worked in a similar way,” Moshkov added. Many masterminds behind Soviet computing moved abroad. Vladimir Pentkovski, who worked at the Lebedev Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Engineering, became the leading microprocessor developer at Intel and it was under his leadership that the company created the Pentium processor in 1993. Pentkovski used knowledge acquired in the USSR to assist in Intel’s developments. By 1995, Intel had launched the more modern Pentium Pro processor, which in terms of its capabilities was close to the Russian El-90 microprocessor of 1990.

Edited by Zaz_pi
Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Pojekat avionskog lasera, kasnije realizovan kao Beriev A-60. Interesantno je da su pokušali i sa mnogo manjim dimenzijama, tj. probali su da ugrade laser na MIG 23. 





Link to comment

How Aleksandr Yakovlev's Rivalry with Pavel Sukhoi Did Him In



Aleksandr Yakovlev

The 1950s and 1960s in Russian combat aircraft development were marked by intense rivalries between the various design bureau (OKBs) heads. Nowhere else was this seen than with the rivalries between the respective OKBs of Artem Mikoyan, Pavel Sukhoi, and Aleksandr Yakovlev. During the Second World War, Yakovlev's OKB was one of the dominant forces in Russian aviation, having built thousands of fighters for the Soviet air forces. OKB MiG (Mikoyan and his partner, Mikhail Gurevich) was rapidly rising to prominence during the war. OKB Sukhoi really didn't start to establish itself until well after the war (some say that Stalin had a dislike of Pavel Sukhoi as one reason). As the jet age dawned, Yakovlev took a conservative approach that saw the first Yak jet fighters as jet derivatives of his wartime piston engined designs whereas MiG and Sukhoi were willing to push the envelope and advance the state of the art. A rivalry between Sukhoi and Mikoyan developed with Mikoyan gaining the upper hand against both Yakovlev and Sukhoi with the MiG-15, MiG-17, and MiG-19 fighter designs which outclassed comparable aircraft from Yakovlev. When in the 1950s the Soviet military command wanted a supersonic interceptor, it was Sukhoi's delta winged Su-9 (NATO code name Fishpot) that edged out Mikoyan's design based on an enlarged MiG-21 fighter. First flying in October 1957, the Fishpot was certainly fast, but it was handicapped by the poor reliability of its Lyulka AL-7F turbojet. In those days, it was rare for an AL-7F engine to last beyond 200 flight hours- and that's not time between overhauls, the reliability of the engine was so poor that few engine units lasted past 200 flight hours, an abysmal figure. The radar set in the conical shock cone of the nose inlet was limited as well.



Sukhoi Su-9 "Fishpot"

Of course, having the Su-9 having much in common with the Su-7 (NATO code name Fitter) tactical fighter did make selecting the Su-9 for production much easier. But the Sukhoi OKB knew that the Soviet Air Defense Forces (PVO) was not pleased with the performance of the Su-9 and with only 924 examples built, an upgraded Su-11 was introduced. But it would be built in very limited numbers. At the time, the Soviet leadership had decreed that the "missile age" had made many aircraft designs obsolete, and like the infamous Duncan Sandys Defence White Paper in the UK that mortally wounded the British aerospace industry, numerous aircraft and engine projects were canceled and only those designs that were developments of existing designs were allowed to continue to develop. As the Yakovlev OKB had already in production the Yak-25/26 interceptor (NATO code name Flashlight) and attack variants, it proceeded with a supersonic design in the Yak-28 (the interceptor variant having the NATO code name Firebar and attack version being the Brewer). Three features made the Yak-28 more attactive than the Su-9/Su-11 family- first, it used the Tumansky R-11 turbojet was showing itself in the MiG-21 to be much more reliable and durable than the Lyulka AL-7F, secondly it had two engines which gave in a perception of safety over the single-engined Su-9/Su-11 family, and thirdly, having a nose free for a larger radar set than what was possible with the nose intake arrangement of the Sukhoi design meant that production was switched over to the Yak-28 instead, the interceptor version being the Yak-28P.



Yakovlev Yak-28P "Firebar"

Sukhoi wasn't going to be one-upped by Yakovlev, though. Taking as a baseline the limitations of the Su-9/Su-11 family. OKB Sukhoi set about to create a vastly improved interceptor in the shape of of the Su-15 (NATO code name Flagon). The Su-15 was designed from the outset to be superior to the Yak-28P- it used two of the same Tumansky R-11 engines and used lateral box intakes to leave the nose section free for the same large radar set used on the Yak-28P, the Oryol-D radar. Being a development of the Su-9/Su-11 family, though, it managed to avoid cancellation like so many other projects in the 1958-1959 timeframe in the Soviet Union. Interestingly, the Yak-28P and the Su-15 were produced in the same factory- in the Soviet Union, the OKBs only did design and flight test work with workshops for building prototypes. The designs were then handed off to independent factories for production. At the time, the Novosibirsk aircraft factory No. 153 was responsible for the Yak-28P production and it was assigned production of the Su-15 once it had passed its State acceptance trials in 1962. Given that both the Yak-28P and the Su-15 used the same powerplant and radar, producing both at the same plant made logistical sense. And there was irony in the decision as the same plant built the Su-9/Su-11 interceptors that were replaced in production at that very plant by the Yak-28P. And now the plant was gearing up to produce more Su-15s with the intent of replacing the Yak-28P with the PVO.



The sole Yakovlev Yak-28-64 prototype

Not willing to lose out to Pavel Sukhoi, Aleksandr Yakovlev dispatched one of his sons to the Novosibirsk plant to learn as much as he could about the Su-15 design (Yakovlev had two sons who worked for him- one would end up designing the Yak-40/42 airliners and the other would be responsible for the Yak-52 trainer). Seeing the threat posed by the Sukhoi design to the Yak-28P, Yakovlev set about designing an upgraded version provisionally designated the Yak-28-64 (due to work on it beginning in 1964). Many of the features of the Su-15 were incorporated into the Yak-28-64, primarily in moving the Tumansky R-11 engines to the rear of the fuselage from the wings. One of the criticisms of the Yak-28P was that having wing-mounted engines gave the aircraft a poor rate of roll and adverse handing characteristics in an single engine-out situation. Moving the engines to the fuselage resolved these concerns. The tail unit and the wings remained close to that of the Yak-28 and the unique bicycle landing gear was retained. The single ventral fin of the Yak-28P was changed over to a twin ventral fin arrangement for stability. Given that OKB Yakovlev had little experience with fuselage-mounted lateral intakes, Yakovlev incorporated a copy of the Su-15's lateral box intake design on the Yak-28-64.




The prototype Yak-28-64 was rolled out in 1966 and it proved in flight tests right off hand to be a dog. In fact, the Yak-28-64's performance was even worse than that of the Yak-28P, the very aircraft that was being superseded by the Su-15. Numerous unpleasant handling characteristics were also uncovered and some of the landing issues present in the Yak-28P thought to be cured in the Yak-28-64 persisted (such as aileron reversal at high speeds). It didn't take long to realize that the Yak-28-64 was a dead end and the project was abandoned by Yakovlev.



Sukhoi Su-15 Flagon

A look at some of the production figures during this rivalry is telling. Just over 900 Sukhoi Su-9s were built at the Novosibirsk factory. Less than 100 Su-11s were built. Replaced in production at the factory by the Yakovlev Yak-28P, over 400 examples were built before it was completely supplanted by production of the Su-15, of which over 1,200 were built. The attack versions of the Yak-28 had to be continually upgraded with no less than 10 versions, each in relatively small production batches around 200 or so. Having been topped by Sukhoi in the interceptor arena with the Su-15, the Soviet air forces replaced the attack versions of the Yak-28 with another Sukhoi design, the Su-17/Su-22 family (NATO code name Fitter) which proved more reliable and versatile operationally.

The Yak-28-64 and the rivalry with Pavel Sukhoi damaged OKB Yakovlev for good. His designs were considered by the Soviet air forces to be unreliable and obsolete, at the worst, limited in performance at best. For years no other Yakovlev combat aircraft design was taken seriously by the Soviet military high command and even the VTOL Yak-36 design was supremely limited in its utility. Even Yakovlev's submissions to the competition that resulted in the MiG-29 Fulcrum and the Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker (Yak-45 and Yak-47, respectively) were decidedly archaic in appearance and failed to use some of the latest advances in aerodynamics. Most Yakovlev designs following the abandonment of the Yak-28-64 were either light aircraft or airliners, areas that were more heavily influenced by his sons than by Aleksandr Yakovlev himself.

Source: OKB Yakovlev: A History of the Design Bureau and its Aircraft by Yefim Gordon. Midland/Ian Allan Publishing, 2005, p215-230. Additional material from Paul Martell-Mead at the Secret Projects forum.


Link to comment


One of the toughest targets in North Vietnam during the long war there was the Thanh Hoa Bridge over the Song Ma River. The bridge was a massive steel truss and concrete structure that carried a railroad down the center and a two lane road way on each side and was a major supply choke point from Hanoi and the harbor of Haiphong. Crossing the river at its narrowest point, sharp limestone ridges on each side gave it the nickname Ham Rong, or "Dragon's Jaw" as the American pilots referred to it. Because of its strategic nature on the supply route to the battlefields along the DMZ and to the Viet Cong in South Vietnam, the Thanh Hoa Bridge was a significant target and was recognized as such by the North Vietnamese who protected the area with some of the densest antiaircraft defenses outside of Hanoi and Haiphong.

Despite the initial attacks by F-105s from bases in Thailand, the bridge which was over-engineered, refused to drop. One USAF attack had 79 aircraft of varying times involved at the same time and yet the bridge still stood. Late that year the Armaments Development Laboratory at Eglin AFB in Florida had been doing research on using high-explosive weapons that focused their energy- similar to a scaled up version of a shaped charge used in anti-tank warfare. The command staff of the Pacific Air Forces running the USAF air campaign in Vietnam was notified of the possible destructive power of these new weapons, but they could only be carried by cargo aircraft and the only suitable would be the Lockheed C-130 Hercules. Since the AA defenses of the Thanh Hoa Bridge were so intense, a plan was formulated to have C-130s drop the weapons up river and let them float down to the bridge and detonate. The opeation was given the code name Carolina Moon.

Two experienced crews were chosen from the 314th Troop Carrier Wing at Sewart AFB, Tennessee. One crew was led by Major Richard Remers and the other crew was led by Major Thomas Case, both crews from the 61st Troop Carrier Squadron.

On 30 May 1966, Remer's crew took off first in a C-130E from Da Nang AB just after midnight local time. With a crew of seven, they flow at 100 feet above the South China Sea and then turned in towards the target area, remaining at 100 feet. There were two navigators aboard Remer's Hercules and there were two drop zones upstream from the Thanh Hoa Bridge selected. The first one was 2 miles up river and the second one was just a mile up river. Upon reaching the first point and meeting no resistance, Remer pressed on the the next drop point. Soon anti-aircraft gunfire opened up across the river valley but the successfully dropped their five Carolina Moon weapons in the river and flew all the way back to Da Nang on the deck, rarely exceeding 100 feet.

The following day reconnaissance photos showed the bridge still standing so that night, the second mission led by Major Case took off just over a hour after midnight from Da Nang. As with the previous night's mission with Major Remer, USAF F-4s conducted diversion strikes in the area and one of the pilots reported heavy anti-aircraft fire and large ground flash about 2 minutes before the drop zone for the weapons. Major Case's crew was never heard from again and it wasn't until well after the war ended into the present day that the crash site for the Hercules was finally identified with excavations under way.

It was later found that the special bombs did in fact detonate under the bridge as designed, but they simply lacked enough force to bring down the spans of the Thanh Hoa Bridge. It wasn't until 1972 during the Linebacker missions that F-4 Phantoms dropping brand-new laser-guided bombs (LGBs) managed to finally put the Dragon's Jaw out of commission.

Source: C-130 Hercules: Tactical Airlift Missions, 1956-1975 by Sam McGowan. Aero Publishers, 1988, p122-124.


Link to comment

Baptism of Fire; The North Vietnamese Air Force in 1965



Following the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 that resulted in the partition of Vietnam in to the North and South, the Ministry of Defense for the Communist north embarked on an upgrade of the country's military infrastructure which included laying the foundation for a modern jet-equipped air force. All the former French and Japanese airfields were modernized to handle jet fighters and by the summer of 1955, nine bases had been made operational. In March 1956 the first group of 110 North Vietnamese flight students were sent abroad for flight training- most went to China, some went to the Soviet Union. One-third of the students were earmarked for fighter aircraft, another third for transport aircraft, and the last third directed into helicopter training. At the end of the year, the Chinese military assisted in setting up local flight training programs at the air bases of Cat Bai and Gia Lam, with MiG-15UTI two-seat trainers soon to follow. By 1958, the Vietnamese People's Air Force (VPAF) had 44 operational airfields capable of operating the more capable Mikoyan MiG-17 "Fresco". Just a year later all primary flight instruction took place in North Vietnam, but advanced jet conversion to the MiG-17 still had to take place in the Soviet Union, the first group of VPAF pilots making the conversion to the Fresco in 1960. A few months later, the North Vietnamese had arranged for a second operational conversion site in China to accelerate the build up of jet fighter pilots. By 1962 the nascent VPAF had 36 MiG-17s as its front-line jet fighter along with a small number of MiG-15UTI trainers. On 3 February 1964 the VPAF established the 921st Fighter Regiment at Noi Bai AB as the first operationally-trained Vietnamese fighter pilots returned from the Soviet Union. It would be quite an accomplishment in just 10 years for a nation as limited in resources as North Vietnam.

Following the Gulf of Tonkin incident on 2 August 1964, President Lyndon Johnson ordered Operation Pierce Arrow which saw Navy aircraft from the carriers Ticonderoga and Constellation hit targets in North Vietnam, opening the first US air combat missions of the Vietnam War. The VPAF at the time was still not at an operational state to defend against these initial strikes but the perceived American aggression intensified Soviet and Chinese logistical support to bring the VPAF up the strength. VPAF commanders feared the USAF and US Navy would use their numerical advantage and tactical experience to vary their attack patterns, but to their surprise, US forces adhered to very routine and obvious patterns that made planning interception missions easy. Even worse, the Vietnamese could determine the possible target area as US reconnaissance aircraft would make repeated runs against certain areas the day prior to an attack. Continued escalation on both sides resulted in Operation Flaming Dart in March 1965 which then transitioned to the 44-month long Operation Rolling Thunder that would finally introduced air combat over the skies of Vietnam.


The first strikes of Operation Rolling Thunder took place on 2 March 1965 when a USAF strike force of Republic F-105D Thunderchiefs and North American F-100 Super Sabres hit an ammunition dump near Vinh in the far southern part of North Vietnam and out of range of the VPAF's small MiG force. As the air strikes of Rolling Thunder moved northward over the course of the month, the VPAF prepared for action. On 3 April 1965 the 921st Fighter Regiment went on alert and six MiG-17swere armed and prepared for takeoff. Observing the US reconnaissance flight patterns led the VPAF to conclude the rail bridges at Ham Rong were the target and ground radars were already tracking the inbound US Navy strike force. With pilots already sitting in their cockpits, the order was given at 0940 to scramble to intercept the strike force on the VPAF's first operational combat mission. Four of the MiGs were the "intercept flight", responsible for attacking the Navy strike force. Two more MiGs formed the "covering flight" to follow the intercept group and defend against any attacks. Flying in a "finger four" formation, Pham Ngoc Lan was the flight leader, with Phan Van Tuc as his wingman on the left, Ho Van Quy as #3 on the right, and Tran Minh Phuong in the #4 position. The group raced southward at low level to avoid getting targeted by an over-enthusiastic SAM units and it also masked the group from airborne radar.

Arriving in the vicinity of the bridge, the four VPAF pilots could see a mixed force of Vought F-8 Crusaders and Douglas A-4 Skyhawks attacking the bridge. The four accelerated and then pulled up to gain an altitude advantage against the strikers which had not seen their approach. Pham Ngoc Lan and his wingman zeroed in on a pair of unsuspecting Crusaders. His wingman, Phan Van Tuc, fired his MiG's cannon first before Pham Ngoc Lan had to cut across him to narrow the distance and fired on one of the Crusaders at only 400 yards, scoring hits and an explosion. Believing that another pair of Navy aircraft were closing in on them from below and to the right, Pham Ngoc Lan had his wingman take the lead and Phan Van Tuc fired again, scoring hits on a second aircraft that crashed. It would later turn out after the war that the Crusader Pham Ngoc Lan thought he had shot down was severely damaged, but its pilot, Lt. Commander Spence Thomas of VF-211 from the USS Intrepid, managed to nurse his stricken Crusader to an emergency landing at Da Nang where it had to be written off due to battle damage. Phan Van Tuc's kill was most likely the A-4C Skyhawk that was listed by the US Navy has having been downed by AAA fire.



The MiG force was then ordered to return to base before running out of fuel (the MiG-17s were short-legged, particularly as it took a lot of afterburner use in dogfights to maintain speed), but the flight leader, Pham Ngoc Lan, got separated from his men and his compass failed. Having trained in the area during his basic flight instruction, he had a rough idea where he was and with his fuel supply dwindling, he set up to make a crash landing on the banks of the Duong River south of Hanoi. Ignoring his ground controller's order to bail out, Pham Ngoc Lan wanted to try and save the MiG knowing that there were only a small number operational with the VPAF. Missing a sampan by only a few feet, his aircraft skipped along the water and knocked him unconscious before coming to rest on a mud flat. When he came to, he found himself surrounded by a local Vietnamese militia pointing their guns at him, thinking he was a downed American pilot. Despite showing them his identity papers, it took a local village elder to defuse the situation. Given that Pham Ngoc Lan was born and raised originally in the South, his accent made him sound like he was from South Vietnam which complicated matters. Before long a helicopter from his base arrived to retrieve him and the MiG was also recovered and put back into service, a testament to the toughness of the design. Returning his base, he found out that the other men of his flight had managed to land safely.

The aggressive performance of the VPAF that day surprised the Americans as they weren't expecting any significant aerial opposition. However, while the VPAF managed to learn and adapt into facing a numerically and technologically superior adversary in their subsonic MiGs, rigid doctrines and political interference would continue to handicap the US war effort for years to come. Pham Ngoc Lan would finish out the war with three kills and his wingman, Phan Van Tuc, would finish out the war as an ace with six kills.

Since that day in 1965, the Vietnamese government made the third of April a public holiday called "Air Force Day".

Source: MiGs Over North Vietnam: The Vietnam People's Air Force in Combat, 1965-1975 by Roger Boniface. Stackpole Books, 2010, p1-9.





In the spring of 1966 the airbases of the Vietnamese People's Air Force (VPAF) were targeted for the first time by American aircraft. Previously considered off-limits by Washington (and later in the war the bases were not allowed to be attacked), the attacks on the MiG airfields at Dong Hoi and Vinh forced a rethink of North Vietnam's air strategy against a numerically superior American military.

To provide rapid repair of the airfields, over 70,000 steel-reinforced concrete plates were stockpiled at the airfields. Large amounts of bamboo stems were also stockpiled to be used in airfield repairs. Camouflaged revetments were created and some were even disguised as huts along with the construction of underground command centers for the base staff. To protect the VPAF's small MiG-17 force, the aircraft were dispersed out into the country side, carried by large Mil Mi-6 helicopters to the dispersal sites and carried back to the airfields when missions were to be flown. Later in the war, fuel and ammunition were also dispersed at these sites as it was found an Mi-6 could carry a fully-fueled and armed MiG-17 to the airfields from as far away as 30 miles. Underground shelters were built into the mountains near the bases where the aircraft were prepared for their missions against incoming American strike packages. An Mi-6 would then carry the fighter as an underslung load to the nearest airbase where it would take off, fly the mission and then return to base to be carried back to the underground shelters miles away by the helicopters.

In areas where the terrain prevented construction of underground shelters for the MiG force, the fighters were dispersed into villages and agricultural co-operatives as well.

Source: Wings of Fame, Volume 8. Aerospace Publishing, 1997. "MiG-17 Over Vietnam" by Zoltan Buza and Istvan Toperczer, p106-107.



Interesantno, mi smo koristili traktore u te svrhe a oni helikoptere. 

Link to comment

Pravi "Top Gun"



How A Top Secret Program Restored American Air Superiority

At the height of the Vietnam War, the skies were filled with technologically-advanced American aircraft from both the US Navy and the USAF, yet the air battles were a thread-bare echo of past glories in the 1950s skies over Korea's MiG Alley. By 1967 the Navy had a kill ratio of only 3.7 to 1 (3.7 MiG kills for every Navy fighter lost to a MiG) and the USAF was even worse, with a kill ratio of only 2.2 to 1. By comparison, at the end of the Korean War, the USAF pilots of the North American F-86 Sabre alone had a kill ratio of 10 to 1. While various studies and reports like the Navy's Ault Report offered many suggestions, the basic fact of the matter was that the art of dogfighting as a skill had been lost. In the USAF, for instance, the solution in the 1960s to an increasing accident rate in the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II was to simply ban air combat maneuvering training (ACM)- the accident rate fell, but legions of Air Force Phantom drivers entered the skies of Vietnam with little experience in knowing that their aircraft could and couldn't do in a dogfight with North Vietnamese MiGs. While a the solutions that eventually restored American supremacy in the skies are complex and beyond the scope of today's blog post, the foundations were being laid down in the black world in the latter half of the 1960s.



The story begins on 16 August 1966 in the Middle East. Operation Rolling Thunder, the sustained air bombardment of North Vietnam, had begun the year prior and would continue until 1968. Monir Radfa, an Iraqi Air Force captain, took off in his Mikoyan MiG-21F from Rashid AB outside of the Iraqi capital for what was supposed to be a local navigation exercise. Instead, he made a dash to the southwest at low level, intending to defect to Israel. The Jordanians failed to intercept him as he streaked low across their country, the RJAF's Hawker Hunters too slow at low level. Once over Israel, he lowered his landing gear and wagged his wings to two intercepting Israeli Mirage III fighters, signaling his intentions and was escorted to Hatzor AB and given asylum. With the MiG-21 being one of the most potent fighters in the Arab air forces that threatened Israel, they immediately set about flight testing the MiG-21 for over 100 hours over the next 12 months, learning its strengths and weaknesses and teaching the Mirage III pilots (the French delta was the main fighter of the IDF in those days) how to defeat the MiG in a dogfight. Initially hesitant to share its prize with the United States, Israel eventually concluded an agreement brokered by the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) to loan the MiG-21 to the US for study in exchange for being allowed to buy the F-4 Phantom II, the American front-line fighter of the day. At the time the Israelis had made several overtures to the Johnson Administration to purchase the Phantom, only to be rebuffed out of a fear by President Johnson of escalating matters in the Middle East. Now that the Israelis had leverage, the Phantoms would be on their way and the US would finally get to study its vaunted adversary in the skies of Vietnam up close.

The MiG was disassembled and transported by a Lockheed C-5 Galaxy to the USAF's secret testing base at Groom Lake, Nevada (Area 51). Responsibility for evaluation of the MiG-21 was given to the USAF's Foreign Technology Division (FTD) that was part of the Air Force Systems Command based at Wright-Patterson AFB in Ohio. AFSC assigned all of its programs with the code word prefix "HAVE". For example, the original stealth demonstrator aircraft that gave rise to the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk was code named "HAVE BLUE". In the case of the MiG-21 on loan from Israel, it was code named "HAVE DOUGHNUT". Two categories of flight testing were performed on the MiG- the first type concerned technical analysis- performance, flight envelope, engineering, structures, and so on. The second part of the tests were operational- the MiG would be flown in mock dogfights against US fighter aircraft. Because AFSC/FTD's emphasis was technical in nature, most of the HAVE DOUGHNUT flying concerned technical analysis.

The first flight out of Groom Lake took place in January 1968 and continued until April of that year before the MiG was returned to Israel. For three intensive months, the MiG was flown in various profiles to determine how it could be detected by both radar and infrared systems, it flew against the bombers of the Strategic Air Command to see how well the bombers' systems could detect and counter it, and infrared signature tests were carried out using a specially-fitted T-39 Sabreliner that could mount the seeker heads of various missiles in the US inventory. Out of a total of 102 sorties flown as part of HAVE DOUGHNUT, 33 sorties were devoted to operational testing in mock dogfights with the USAF and 25 sorties were devoted to mock dogfights with the Navy.

Not four months after the end of HAVE DOUGHNUT, two Syrian MiG-17Fs on a navigation exercise got lost and inadvertently landed at an Israeli air base. Acquisition of the MiG-17s was of high importance to the United States as the MiG-17, though slow and dated, was nimble and the main adversary type encountered in the skies of Vietnam. Though limited to subsonic performance, VNAF MiG-17s were flying circles around American fighter pilots leading to the dismal kill ratios I mentioned above. After testing by the Israelis, the two MiG-17s were then turned over to the United States for analysis. The first MiG-17 made its first US flight at Groom Lake in January 1969 with the code name HAVE DRILL. The second MiG-17 then flew in March of that year with the code name HAVE FERRY. Both programs wound down by June 1969 and the findings were shared with the Navy's new TOPGUN school that was established to reintroduce dogfighting skills to Navy pilots. In addition, the findings of HAVE DOUGHNUT, HAVE DRILL, and HAVE FERRY were shared with the instructors at the USAF's Fighter Weapons School at Nellis AFB, Nevada, where they would go on to establish the Red Flag exercises.

On 25 November 1969 a Cambodian Khmer Air Force pilot defected to South Vietnam in the Chinese copy of the MiG-17F, the Shenyang J-5. The USAF pilot who flew the MiG-17 in HAVE FERRY and HAVE DRILL, Col. Wendell Shawler, was tapped by the AFSC/FTD to go to South Vietnam and make several evaluation flights of the J-5 to establish that it had the same flight characteristics as the MiG-17. This short program of just five flights from Phu Cat AB in South Vietnam was code named HAVE PRIVILEGE.



As a result of these four top secret exploitation programs, both USAF and Navy fighter tactics were changed and pilots were once again trained to exact as much capability and performance out of the aircraft as possible to win the dogfight. It wasn't until 1989 that a Pentagon official confirmed that in the 1981 combat of two US Navy F-14 Tomcats versus two Libyan Sukhoi Su-17 fighters over the Gulf of Sidra that the tactics used had been developed out of mock combat testing with US-operating Soviet fighters. Not long afterwards, HAVE DOUGHNUT, HAVE DRILL, HAVE FERRY, and HAVE PRIVILEGE were declassified. What didn't get mentioned was that a much bigger program succeeded those programs and would remain top secret for 20 years! But more on that program in a future blog post!

Source: Red Eagles: America's Secret MiGs by Steve Davies. Osprey Publishing, 2008, p16-20.



The Origins of Red Flag



I had started this blog out as a way of sharing a lot of the interesting aviation history I come across in the course of my reading. I'm a bit attention-deficit when it comes to reading, I usually jump between numerous books at once as I've really never been able to read one book straight through then start another. The benefit of this little quirk of mine is that what I post in this blog can be quite varied. Most of the time as I'm reading, I'll put a little dog ear on pages that I think have good material for this blog and over time, you can guess that most of my aviation books have little dog ears in the lower corners. I'll have several possible topics rattling around in my head at any given time and then when I have the chance to sit down and start a post, it's just a matter of seeing which one topic I've been ruminating over comes easiest to type! The topic I had planned for today got postponed as I learned via my regular Twitter stream this morning that on this date thirty-five years ago the first Red Flag exercise was held at Nellis AFB, Nevada. I just happen to be currently reading Steve Davies' wonderfully engaging book Red Eagles: America's Secret MiGs and it details the origins of the now-famous combat aircraft exercise that is held several times a year at Nellis.

This past weekend I had posted about those first secret MiGs that operated out of Area 51/Groom Lake. The operational exploitation of the MiGs was but one of the first steps taken by the US Air Force and the US Navy to reverse the sagging fortunes of US fighter pilots over the skies of Vietnam. In 1966 the Tactical Fighter Weapons Center (TFWC) was established at Nellis AFB as the leading school house of fighter tactics evaluation and training. One of the keys to the TFWC was making use of the 12,000 square miles of uninhabited desert terrain north of Nellis that gave in the words of Steve Davies "the playground for America's finest fighter pilots". One of the earliest projects based out of the TFWC was the "Red Baron" reports. Since 1966 the Department of Defense's Weapon Systems Evaluation Group had been collecting a wealth of information on every one of the 320 MiG encounters in Vietnam until July 1967 that involved either the McDonnell F-4 Phantom or the Vought F-8 Crusader. That exhaustive data set became Volume I of Red Baron. Volumes II and III analyzed another 259 MiG encounters by Republic F-105 Thunderchiefs as well as other US aircraft. That three-volume set of data became Red Baron I. In 1969, Red Baron II covered 625 MiG encounters from 1967 to the end of Operation Rolling Thunder at the end of 1968. Later, Red Baron III completed the comprehensive analysis of the air war.

The Red Baron reports were incredibly detailed with interviews of crew members and pilots with questions to be answered such as "Where were you when you first saw the bogeys?" or "What altitudes and speeds were being used in setting up the engagement?". The bottom line of the Red Baron reports was quite simply that American fighter pilots in Vietnam were not familiar enough with fighting dissimilar aircraft- what was needed was DACT- Dissimilar Air Combat Training. Red Baron went even further, recommending that the USAF provide its fighter pilots with realistic enough training based on the detailed study of all of the MiG encounters in the classified reports. One recommendation was the use of actual enemy aircraft (which stemmed from the programs I posted about this weekend) or realistic substitutes. That recommendation led to the formation of the USAF Aggressors, units operating Northrop T-38 Talon trainers and F-5E Tiger II fighters as surrogates for enemy MiGs. The pilots of the Aggressors specialized in emulating Soviet tactics, even using their own organic GCI controllers.

The first Aggressor squadron stood up at Nellis AFB in the summer of 1972, but some of the founders and proponents of the Aggressors wanted to push the training even further. While the first Aggressor squadrons were wildly successful to the point that two overseas Aggressor squadrons were established (one in the Philippines at Clark AB for PACAF and one at RAF Alconbury for USAFE), it was a well-known fact from the Red Baron reports that new fighter pilots in the skies over Vietnam had a disproportionately low life expectancy. Other USAF studies had shown that the majority of combat losses (even outside of Vietnam) occurred within a new pilot's first ten combat missions. Once getting the eleventh combat mission, a new pilot's survival chances quickly improved due to experience. The solution was an elegant one that dovetailed nicely with the mission of Nellis AFB, that of the Aggressors as well as the secret MiG force then based at Area 51/Groom Lake. Recreate the first ten combat missions for pilots in the training environment at Nellis AFB using not only the Aggressors and the MiGs, but also the air-to-ground ranges to improve the accuracy of strike aircraft crews. In May 1975, the Tactical Air Command commander, General Robert J. Dixon, gave his approval for the formation of Red Flag with the first exercises to be held in six months.

In that hectic six months, the most realistic training environment was created at the weapons ranges north of Nellis AFB. Not only were there to be fighter and strike aircraft, but also electronic warfare aircraft, transports and tankers. Reconnaissance assets would participate. Captured Soviet radar systems and facsimilies were arrayed in the ranges along with an integrated missile and anti-aircraft gun defense system. Targets were laid out and finally, the Aggressors would play the part of enemy MiGs (eventually even the secret MiG force participated). Right on schedule, on 29 November 1975, Red Flag I took place with 37 aircraft, 561 personnel and a total of 552 sorties were flown.

Today's Red Flag is a three week exercise in which entire squadrons deploy with their maintenance and support personnel as if on a wartime deployment. The average Red Flag exercise will have around 100 aircraft with several thousand personnel. Units from all branches of the US military participate as well as Allied nations where an invitation to Red Flag is considered an honor and testament to a foreign unit's professionalism. Since that first Red Flag exercise thirty-five years ago today, it's estimated that over half-a-million personnel have been trained, over 300 types of aircraft have participated and well over thiry nations have participated.

Source: Red Eagles: America's Secret MiGs by Steve Davies. Osprey Publishing, 2008, p24-37.



btw. Sovjeti su detaljno testirali zarobljene/oborene F5

Edited by bigvlada
Link to comment

Našao sam slike. Prve dve su Cessna A37 i Northrop F5, u poljskom muzeju u Krakovu. Nisam siguran da li su nabavljeni pre ili posle 1989. Sledeće tri slike su F5 na stajanci i u CAGI-ju. Po netu kruže i slike F14 sa petokrakom (navodno dobijen od Irana u privremeno/trajno vlasništvo) ali su to sve loše fotošopirane slike. 











Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...