Lockheed A-12
Air Force
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This aircraft was the worthy predecessor of the legendary SR-71

Lockheed A-12 was a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft that could fly at speeds greater than Mach 3. The aircraft was built for the CIA in the USA by Lockheed Martin. A-12 was the twelfth attempt of the “Archangel” series. In 1959, it was selected over the FISH and Kingfish design and won the GUSTO program. The aircraft acquired its own program called Oxcart.  
In the first place, the CIA seems like selected FISH by Convair due to its reduced radar cross-section but they ended up in A-12 due to its better specifications and better price. Another devise reason was the reputation of each company: Covair had delayed the B-58 and also increased its cost while Lockheed had produced the U-2 in the limit and funding limits that were agreed. Lockheed also has experience in confidential projects.


Lockheed A-12 was produced from 1962 until 1964 and was flying from 1963 to 1968. The aircraft was a predecessor of the YF-12, the D-21 drone, and the legendary SR-71 Blackbird. The last was a lightly improved version of A-12 that could carry more camera equipment and fuel. Lockheed A-12 started its mission in 1967 and did its first flight in May 1968. The program and the aircraft were retired in June of the same year. The whole concept and project weren't publicly known till the mid-'90s.  
A CIA officer stated: “Oxcart was just selected in a random list of names and was given in the research and development program of A-12. The aircraft was also named like that after some time.” 
The crew members named A-12 “Cygnus” after pilot Jack Weeks proposed to name aircraft like celestial objects.  



Lockheed A-12
Lockheed A-12
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