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    C0 01900 94

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    Approved for Release: 2013/06/25

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    The Central Intelligence Agencyand Overhead Reconnaissance:The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954-1974

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    co o19009 4 Approved for Release: 2013/06/25

    The Central Intelligence Agencyand Overhead Reconnaissance:The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954-1974

    Gregory W. PedlowandDonald E. Welzenbach

    History StaffCe ntral Intelligence Agency

    Washington/ D.C.1992

    Approved for Release: 2013/06/25

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    Hiring U-2 Pilots ......................................................................................... 73Pilot Train ing ............................................................................................... 75Final Tests of the U-2 ............................................................................... 76Three Fatal Crashes in 1956 ..................................................................... 79Coordination of Collection Requ irements ............................................... 80Preparations To Handle the Product of U-2 Missions ......................... 82The Impact of the Ai r Force Project GENETRIX Balloons .................. 84AQUATONE Briefings fo r Selected Members of Congress ................. 88The U-2 Cover 89

    +Chapter 3U-2 Operations in the Soviet Bloc and Middle East. 1956-1958The Deployment of Detachment A to Lakenheath ............................... 94The Move to Wiesbaden ........................................................................... 95President Eisenhower's Attitude Toward Overflights ........................... 96First Overflights of Eastern Europe ...................................................... 100First U-2 Flights Over the Soviet Union .............................................. 104Soviet Protes t Note .................................................................................. 109The End of the Bomber Gap ................................................................. 111Tactical Intelligence From U-2s During the Suez Crisis .................... 112Renewed Overflights of the Soviet Union ........................................... 122Radar-Deceptive "Dirty Birds" ................................................................ 128The New Detachment C .......................................................................... 133Detachment B Flights From Pakistan .................................................... 135The. Decline of Detachment A ................................................................ 139

    142Declining Overflight 143Concerns About Soviet Countermeasures Against the U-2 147More Powerful Engines fo r the U2 149

    lebanon, 1958 152the U2 153

    157

    +Chapter 4The Final Overflights of the Soviet Union, 1959-1960

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    Chapter 5U-2 Operations After May 1960U-2 Operations in Latin America ........................................................... 197

    U2 Support to the Bay of Pigs Invasion ....................................... 197Aerial Refueling Capability for the U-2 ............................................ 198U-2 Coverage During the Cuban Missi le Crisis .............................. 199U2s Over South America .................................................................. 211

    U-2 Operations in Asia ............................................................................ 211Detachment C and the Indonesian Revolt of 1958 ....................... 211China Offshore Islands Dispute of 1958 .......................................... 215U-2 Support for DDP Operat ions in Tibet ...................................... 216U-2Cs for Detachment C .................................................................... 217U-2 Crash in Thailand ......................................................................... 219End of Detachment C Opera tions ..................................................... 219Detachment G Missions Over Laos and North Vietnam .............. 221New Detachment on Taiwan ............................................................. 222Use of Detachment H Aircraft by US Pilots ................................... 230U-2s in Ind ia .........................................................................................231Increasing Responsibilities, Inadequate Resources in Asia .......... 233Advanced ECM Equipment for Detachment H ............................... 237

    ~ " " ' n ' ~ " ' " Over PRC Nuclear Plants ....................... 238240

    The End of U2 ............................. 242Peripheral Miss ions by Detachment H ............................................. 244Operation SCOPE SHIELD Over North Vietnam ............................. 246

    Improvements in U-2 Technology .........................................................247Modification of U2s for Aircraft Carrier Dep loyment ................... 247Use of Carrier-Based U2 To Film a French Nuclear Test Site .. 249

    251

    Intended Successor: OXCART. 1956-1968

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    S ~ NNew Technologies Necessitated By OXCART's High Speed ............. 279Designing the OXCART's Cameras ........................................................ 281

    Pilots for OXCART .................................................................. 283Selection of a Testing Site for the OXCART ...................................... 283'"'l!""''v of the First OXCART ................................................................ 286

    Changes in the Project Management ................................................... 286OXCART's First 288Speed-Related Problems .......................................................................... 290New Versions of the OXCART ............................................................... 291The Question of Surfacing a Version of the OXCART ...................... 292Additional Problems During Final 295Discussions on the OXCART's Future Employment ........................... 297First A-12 Deployment: Operation BLACK SHIELD ............................. 304The End of the OXCART Program ........................................................ 307Possible Successors to the OXCART .................................................... 312Summary of the OXCART Program ...................................................... 313

    +chapter 7ConclusionU-2 Overflights of the Soviet Union ..................................................... 315Participation of All ies ln the U-2 Program .......................................... 319U2s as Collectors of Tactical Intell igence ........................................... 319Advances in 320Cooperation With the Air Force ............................................................. 321Impact of the Overhead Reconnaissance Program on the CIA. ....... 321

    +Appendix A: Acronyms ............................................................................ 325+Appendix B: Key Personnel+Appendix C: Electronic Devices Carried by the U-2

    327335

    0\letflioli'lts of the Soviet Union, ............................337May 1960+APPendiix E: Unmanned Reconnaissance Pr11tee1:s+ i b l i o g r ~ t p h y

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    Warning NoticeIntelligence Sources or Methods Involved (WNINTEL)

    National Security InformationUnauthorized Disclosure Subject co Criminal Sanctions

    Dissemination Control AbbreviationsNOFORN (NF) Not releasable to foreign nationalsNOCONTRACT (NCJ Not releasable to contractors or contractor/PROPIN (PR) Caution-proprietary information involvedORCON (OCl Dissemination and extraction of informationREL. This information has been authorized fo r re-WN WN!NTEL-Intelligence sources and meth-

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    FOREWORDThis History Staff Monograph offers a comprehensive and authoritative history of the CIA's manned overhead reconnaissance program,which from 1954 to 1974 developed and operated two extraordinaryaircraft, the U-2 and the A-12 OXCART. It describes not only theprogram's technological and bureaucratic aspects, but also irs political and international context. The manned reconnaissance program,along with other overhead systems that emerged from it, changed theClA's work and structure in ways that were both revolutionary andpermanent. The formation of the Directorate of Science andTechnology in the 1960s. principally to develop and direc t reconnaissance programs, is the most obvious legacy of the events recounted inthis study.

    The authors tell an engrossing story. The struggle between theCIA and the US Air Force to control the U-2 and A-12 OXCARTprojects reveals how the manned reconnaissance program confrontedproblems that still beset successor programs today. The U-2 was anenormous technological success: its first flight over the USSR in July1956 made it immediately the most important source of intelligenceon the Soviet Union. Using it against the Soviet target it was designedfor nevertheless produced a persistent tension between its programmanagers and the President. The program managers, eager for coverage. repeatedly urged the President to authorize frequent missionsover the Soviet Union. President Eisenhower, from the outset doubtful of the prudence and propriety of invading Soviet airspace, onlyreluctantly allowed any overflights at all. After the Soviets shot downFrancis Gary Powers' U-2 on I May 1960, President Eisenhowerforbade any further U-2 flights over the USSR. Since the Agencymust always assess a covert operation's potential payoff against thediplomatic or military cost if it fails. this account of the U-2's employment over the Soviet Union offers insights that go beyondoverhead reconnaissance programs.

    Indeed, this study shou ld be useful for a variety of purposes. [ t isthe on ly history of this program based upon both full access to CIArecords and extensive class ified interviews of its participants. Theauthors have fo und records that were nearly irretrievably los t andhave interv iewed participants whose personal recollec tions gave information available nowhere else . Although the story of the manned

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    reconnaissance program offers no tidy model for imitation, it doesreveal how resourceful managers coped with unprecedented techno-logical challenges and their implications for intelligence and nationalpolicy. For this reason, the program's history provides profitablereading for intelligence professionals and policymakers today.

    Many people made important contributions to the production ofthis volume. [n the History Staff's preparation of the manuscript,Gerald Haines did the final revision, i ]again demon-strated her high talent as a copy editor, and! 1providedstaunch secretarial support throughout. As usual, we are Indebted tomore members than we can name from the Publications, Design, andCartography Centers in the Office of Current Production and AnalyticSupport, whose lively interest in the publication went far beyond thecall of duty. Their exceptional professional skill and the masterlywork of the Printing and Photography Group combined to create thishandsome volume.

    Donald E. Welzenbach, who began this study, and Gregory W.Pedlow. w_ho completed it, brought complementary strengths to thiswork. A veteran of C[A service since 1960, Mr. Welzenbach beganresearch on this study in 1983, when he joined the DCI History Staffon a rotational assignment from the Directorate of Science andTechnology. After tireless documentary research and extensive inter-viewing, he finished a draft manuscript of the history before returningto his directorate. fn early 1986, Gregory W. Pedlow, a new memberof the DC[ History Staff, was assigned to complete the study. A JohnsHopkins University Ph.D. who has served as an Army intelligenceofficer and University of Nebraska professor of history, Dr. Pedlowundertook important research in several new areas, and reorganized,edited, and revised the entire manuscript before leaving CIA to be-come NATO Historian in late 1989. The final work, which has greatlybenefited from both authors' contributions, is the CIA's own historyof the world's first overhead reconnaissance program. +

    Kenneth McDonaldC[A Staff

    April 1992

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    s ~PREFACEWhen the Central Intelligence Agency came into existence in 1947,no one foresaw that, in less than a decade, it would undertake amajor program of overhead reconnaissance, whose principal purposewould be to fly over the Soviet Union . Traditionally, the militaryservices had been responsible for overhead reconnaissance, andflights deep into unfriendly territory only took place during wartime.By the early 1950s, however, the United States had an urgent andgrowing need for strategic intelligence on the Soviet Union and itssatellite states. At great risk. US Air Force and Navy aircraft hadbeen conducting peripheral reconnaissance and shallow-penetrationoverflights, but these missions were paying a high price in lives lostand increased international tension. Furrhermore . many importantareas of the Soviet Union lay beyond the range of existing reconnaissance aircraft. The Air Force had therefore begun to develop ahigh-altitude reconnaissance aircraft that would be able to conductdeep-penetration reconnaissance missions over the Soviet Union.President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his civilian scientific advisersfeared that the loss of such an aircraft deep in Soviet terriwry couldlead to war and therefore authorized the development of new nonmilitary aircraft, first the U-2 and later the A-12 OXCART. to bemanned by civilians and operated only under cover and in thegreatest secrecy. Primary responsibility for this new reconnaissanceprogram was assigned to the Central Intelligence Agency. but the AirForce provided vital support.

    The Agency's manned overhead reconnaissance program lasted20 years. It began with President Eisenhower's authorization of theU-2 project in late 1954 and ended with the transfer of the remainingAgency U-2s to the Air Force in 1974. During this period the CIAdeveloped a successor to the U-2, the A- 12 OXCART, but this advanced aircraft sa w little operation al use and the program wascanceled in !968 after the Air Force dep loyed a fleet of s imilar aircraft , a m il itary variant of the A- 12 called the SR -7! .

    Neither of these aircraft remains secret today. A great deal of informat ion about the U-2 and its overfl ight program became known tothe public a fte r I May i 96 0, when the Soviet Union shot down a C IAU-2 and pub licly tried its pilot. Francis Ga ry Powers. Four yea rs

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    later, at press conferences in February and July 1964, PresidentLyndon B. Johnson revealed the existence of the OXCART-type ofaircraft, although only in its military YF- l2A (interceptor) and SR-71(s trategic reconnaissance) versions.

    The two CfA reconnaissance aircraft have also been the subjectof a number of books, beginning with David Wise's and Thomas B.Ross 's The U-2 Affair in 1962 and then Francis Gary Powers'memoirs, Operation Overflight, in 1970. Two recent books give manymore details about the U-2 and OXCART aircraft : MichaelBeschloss 's Mayday: Eisenhowe r, Khrushchev and the U-2 Affair(1986) and William Burrows's Deep Black: Space Espionage andNational Securiry ( 1987). Although well written and generally accurate , these books suffer from their authors ' lack of access toclassified official documentation. By drawing upon the considerableamount of formerly classified data on the U-2 now available to thepublic, Beschloss has provided an accurate and insightful depiction ofthe U-2 program in the context of the Eisenhower administration'soverall foreign policy, but his book does contain errors and omissionson some aspects of the U-2 program. Burrows's broader work suffersmore from the lack of classified documemation, particularly in theOXCART/SR-71 section , which concentrates on the Air Force aircraft because little information about the Agency 's aircraft has beenofficially declassified and released .

    Afte r the present study of the Agency 's overhead reconnaissanceprojects was completed. a new book on the U-2 was published in theUnited Kingdom. Chris Pocock's Dragon Lady: The History of theU-2 Spyplane is by far the most accurate unclassified account of theU-2 prog ram. Pocock has been able to compensate for his lack of access to class ified documents by inte rviewin g many formerpart icipants in the program, especia lly former pilots. Pocock is alsoquite familiar with ai rcraft itse lf. fo r he had worked with Jay Milleron the latter' s excellent technical study of the U-2: Lockheed U-2( 1983).

    The re has also been a classified officia l study of the U-2 andOXCART programs. [n 1969 the Directorate of Sc ience andTechnology published a History of the Office of Special Activities by

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    Helen Hill Kleyla and Robert D. O'Hern. This 16-vo!ume Top SecretCodeword study of the Agency's reconnaissance aircraft prov ides awealth of technical and operational information on the two projectsbut does not attempt to place them in their historical context. Withoutexamining the international situation and bureaucratic pressures affecting the president and other key policymakers, however, it isimpossible to understand the dec is ions that began, carried out, andended the CIA's reconnaissance aircraft projects.

    In preparing this study of CIA's overhead reconnaissance program, the authors drew on published sources, classified governmentdocuments, and interviews with key participants from the CIA, AirForce, contractors, scientific advisory commitrees. and theEisenhower administration . The interviews were particularly important for piecing together the s!Ory of how the CIA became involved inoverhead reconnaissance in the first place because Agency documen-tation on the prehistory of the U-2 project is very skerchy and thereare no accurate published accounts. Research on the period of actualreconnaissance operations included the records of the Direcror ofCenrral Intelligence, the Office of Special Activities in theDirectorate of Science and Technology, and the IntelligenceCommunity Staff, along with documents from the EisenhowerPresidenrial Library in Abilene, Kansas, and additional interviews.

    Both authors are grateful for the assistance they have receivedfrom many indiv id uals who played important roles in the events theyrecount. Without their help a good deal of this story could never havebecome known . The assistance of Agency records managementofficers in the search for documents on the overhead reconnaissanceprogram is also greatly appreciated.

    To ensure that this study of the Agency's involvement in over head reconnaissance reaches the widest possible audience, the aut horshave kept it at the Secret classification level. As a result , someaspects of the overhead reconnaissance program, particularly thoseinvolving satellites and re lated interagency agreements, have had tobe described in very general term s. The om ission of such informationis not significant for th is book, which focuses on the Agency's recon naissance aircraft. +