How the Soviets picked up a Sidewinder for under $80

And Deutsche Bundespost almost lost it…

The full story: War is Boring

That the Soviet-made R-3S air-to-air missile — better known in the West by its NATO-designation AA-2 Atoll — is a copy of the AIM-9B Sidewinder, originally developed and manufactured in the USA, is relatively well-known.

How it came to be … isn’t so well-known. It involved the mail.

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Air transportation services were making mistakes back then at least as often as they make them nowadays, and thus Ramminger’s parcel first traveled from Frankfurt via Paris to Copenhagen, then back to Düsseldorf, before finally reaching Moscow – 10 days late.

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P-63 Kingcobra: post-WWII service

A successor to the P-39 Airacobra, the Bell P-63 Kingcobra never saw combat in American colors but was heavily exported via Lend-Lease during WWII, and was used on three continents after the conflict.

The prototype P-63 first flew on 7 December 1942, the one-year anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. The single-seat P-63 was 33′ long with a 38′ wingspan. It was powered by an Allison V-1710 liquid-cooled engine with a two-stage turbocharger. The ceiling was 43,000′ and the average combat radius was 450 NM.

Other than being larger and more sleek than the P-39, the P-63 shared it’s general shape. Improvements were the restoration of the turbocharger which had been deleted from the Airacobra, new laminar flow wings, a new tail for better stability, and a high-performance A64 11’7″ 4-bladed steel propeller. Except for the rudder, all of the P-39’s fabric surfaces were replaced by metal on the P-63.

Read the rest here: P-63 Kingcobra: post-WWII service

Move along, no loitering allowed

a-4_va-45det1_cvs-11_intercept_moss_nan8-73-over-med

A U.S. Navy Douglas A-4E Skyhawk (BuNo 152012) of Attack Squadron 45 (VA-45) Det.1 Blackbirds intercepting a Soviet Tupolev Tu-126 Moss AEW aircraft over the Mediterranean Sea in 1973. VA-45 Det.1 was assigned to Carrier Anti-Submarine Air Group 56 (CVSG-56) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CVS-11) for a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea from 24 November 1972 to 4 May 1973.