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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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.

Bear in the clouds

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soviet bear bomber cutting through clouds

The Soviet Russian Tupolev Tu-95 Bear, a large four engined turbo-prop with eight contra-rotating propellers, is the Russian B-52. Introduced in the 1950s, the swept wing 90-ton strategic bomber with 165-foot long wings, can cover over 8,000nm without refueling.

Russia maintains some 55 Tu-95MS strategic bombers and they see lots of service, often popping up the Alaska coat and overflying far-flung U.S. territories.

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