TR-3 claims of the past(present)?

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Message posted by BlackWatcher (Member since 01/29/2012) on January 19, 2023 at 3:41:18 PST:


saw it on another forum, kinda interesting statement...
"Shortly after the retirement of the Blackbird, a friend of mine’s KC-10 flying brother came back home to Western New York from Seymour Johnson AFB for a weekend. While eating dinner, this pilot (who had been to Area 51 a couple of times and would be in the Desert Storm War Room) stopped eating at one point and casually stated: ““You don’t think the Air Force ever retires a plane without already having a replacement, do you?” He promptly went back to eating and never said another thing on that topic.

In 1992, at his grandmother’s wake, I asked this same person: ““What do you know about the Aurora Borealis (which was what the original name the project was thought to be)?” His response really threw me: “Which one?” I was kinda stunned and said: Wait, there’s more than one? He replied, again in that maddening off-handed way: ““There are two….one that flies really fast and the other that flies really slow and then really fast. Which one do you want to know about?” Of course, I asked about the really fast one because I figured that was the replacement for the Blackbird. “Well, the one that flies really slow and then really fast is the TR-3 (to which I, naturally, interjected as the U-2 is also known as the TR-1: “TR-3, what happened to the TR-2?” He completely ignored me on that one) and that was the one they used in the Gulf War. (In the Gulf War, I asked?) ““Remember how they had Marines on the ground during Desert Shield that labeled all the targets that the cruise missiles or other air strikes would then hit when the war started? (Shakes his head) Nope, TR-3. It flew over every target, hit it with a laser and logged it into the computer and went in to the next…then, when the war started, “we” just followed the list we already had.”

As far as I remember, Quellish was the one that covered it on skunk-works mailins lists at the time they were still active and online.

As far as I know, the TR-3 was never a dual slow/high speed asset but rather slow from the beginning to the end. Whatever it was doing may be truth in aforementioned post but... the main question is: was it really slow and then really fast? That kind of propulsion method would be very useful as "get fast, slow over the target to get the date, then, get the heck out of quickly"... what you guys think about it? I wonder whether Quellish would have anything to say on this:)


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