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Why Do We Still Need Spy Planes?

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Sierra Mike, Jan 28, 2003.

  1. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Wow, The Slate actually asked a question that's kind of interesting.

    Read all about it here.

  2. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Well, what's the answer? :)
  3. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    Well, the suitable answer to almost every question is: "ethics is a girl."

    But to this one, the answer is: Yes, we need spy planes, because satellites can't provide erratic coverage...well, maybe they can if they launch thousands of 'em in overlapping orbits, but I don't think the space shuttle flies the slalom really well.

    So for now, it's spy planes...manned ones are best at the moment, though unmanned technology is really taking off...pardon the ol' pun.

  4. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    Stupid media. They say the SR-71 has fuel leaks and do not explain why. Idiots. Fools. Explanation:

    "One of the most amazing characteristics of the SR-71, was its habit of leaking fuel whilst cold on the ground. There were two reasons for this. The first was that during the design phase of the Blackbird series, Lockheed was unable to find a fuel tank sealant that didnt eventually break down from reduction caused by the fuel. The second reason was because of the aircrafts tendency to stretch during high speed flight, sometimes up to eight inches (20.3cm), it had to be built with the expansion joints through which the fuel would leak. When the airframe was hot, it would stretch and seal the gaps and joints tightly, but once it cooled down after landing, it would shrink back to the original length and the gaps would re-open. This fuel leak caused initial consternation to base fire crews, especially those at foreign bases such as Mildenhall and Kadena who werent used to handling the Blackbird all the time. Apparently some Blackbirds leaked worse than others (and were known as leakers), and this is probably due to the fact that, because the aircraft were all virtually hand built, no two were identical. This leaking tendency influenced the operating procedure for all Blackbird models, which would launch with minimal fuel on board, and then top up from a tanker aircraft before proceeding to cruising altitude."

    Spy planes are useful over just sats, imo, as they are more flexible. Satellites need to be repositioned at the cost of on-board fuel reserves and to put up the number to adequately cover every area would be prohibitive. You could send an airplane almost anywhere you needed it on relatively short notice with air refueling or from a base with over-flight rights. Just my .02.
  5. mikepd

    mikepd Veteran Member

    Ethics is a girl?!?! I just thought all along Ethics just looked sort of... Ukie ;)
  6. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Regarding the SR-71, you could drop a match into its fuel and it would not burn. Must be true, saw it on Discovery.
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Passed Away Aug. 19, 2006

    And we do need to create jobs for pilots.
  8. Sierra Mike

    Sierra Mike The Dude Abides Staff Member

    LOL...there is that, indeed!

  9. Stiofan

    Stiofan Master Po

    Well, the article kind of answered it's own question. One more reason would be to maintain a level of redundancy in our intellegence gathering ability. If for some reason the satellites go down, we have the "manual" method in reserve.
  10. bruzzes

    bruzzes Truthslayer

    Ahh, but with all the military satellites put into orbit, I wouldn't be surprised if there were few areas that are not covered.

    Also the use of specialized cameras, one which uncovered the old caravan travel routes in the Iraqi areas that has been covered by sand for many centuries. I wouldn't be surprised if it uncovered all the underground installations and passageways under the palaces. Perhaps this is the "secret" weapon that cannot be revealed.

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