Black project revelations

Message posted by Peter Merlin on September 24, 2005 at 21:32:04 PST:

Since RcTeller is complaining that nothing has been revealed, maybe we should look at some of the "black" project aircraft that we have to look forward to seeing when they are finally unveiled. Many of these have probably already been discussed in this forum. (Some Air Force officials have expressed discomfort that these specific projects are being discussed in blogs and forums on the Internet.)

There have been at least seven (and as many as 11) classified manned aircraft flown at Groom Lake since the mid 1980s that have yet to be unveiled. This doesn't include the modified aircraft, foreign aircraft, or ordinary platforms (C-130, F-16, etc.) carrying experimental avionics.

In 1985, Frank Birk made the first flight of a "classified technology demonstrator." He won the Bobby Bond Memorial Aviator Award for his work on this project.

Since 1982, Dan Vanderhorst has flown at least seven classified aircraft, described as mostly "one of a kind demonstrators." One was TACIT BLUE. Another had internal weapons bays, suggesting stealth characteristics (Vanderhorst "holds the altitude record in this aircraft" according to his unclassified biography).

During the last part of a 20-year Air Force career, Doug Benjamin flew four classified aircraft. One of these was Bird of Prey. What were the other three?

In the early to mid 1990s, Dennis "Bones" Sager commanded the classified flight test squadron at Groom and became the first Air Force pilot to fly the YF-113G, a "classified protoype" that he took from development to first flight. Contrary to reports in Aviation Week & Space technology magazine, this was NOT a Mig-23 (which flew under a different designation).

During the late 1990s, "Broadway Joe" Lanni flew first flights of two classified prototypes, including the YF-24.

These are just the known "black" manned aircraft. How many classified UAV projects have there been? So far, only SENIOR PROM has been revealed (and not officially). When will we see pictures of MINOTAUR, or any of several others that have been tested?


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