As covered the sky of the USSR from the USA

In 1955, in the air rose the first copy of the new reconnaissance aircraft company Lockheed - Lockheed U-2, which was designed and built in secrecy in the so-called company "Skunk Works» («Skunk Works»). He had high flight performance, enable it to fly at high altitude and long range, which were the result of advanced engines and build a successful airplane. As the power plant used engine Pratt & Whitney J57 with recycled fuel supply system, the wing of the aircraft with high aspect ratio (like a glider) allows to increase the range by switching the engine on a small gas and flight planning long distance.
17 photos and a lot of letters via infoglaz

Designed for operation at altitudes above 20 km, where the detection and interception were unlikely U-2 plane was equipped with a large number of devices for data collection. Reconnaissance flights over the countries of Eastern Europe began on June 20 and the first flight over the USSR was carried out on July 4th 1956.

Flight over eastern Europe

Bissell has consulted with the command of the US Air Force in Europe, and then proceeded to develop a flight plan over East Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia. This flight was given code name "Target 2003" and outlined it on June 20th. The first was to go into the flight the pilot Charles Overstreet. He, however, learned of this last. He was on leave for a short while and went home. Harvey Stockman, to address the other five pilots instructed to report the news Overstreet, when he will return to the base.

On the morning of June 20 Overstreet dressed in a special suit pilot. Then he took the mask and began to breathe pure oxygen to remove nitrogen from the blood. This was necessary in case if in flight leakproof cab. Then Hover Street toward the U-2, and climbed into the cab. Having received permission to take off, he turned on the engine; aircraft dispersed on the runway and took off.

Route "Quest 2003" ran over Czechoslovakia, then turns to the Polish capital, Warsaw. Mounted on the U-2 with the camera A-2 worked fine. Flying over Warsaw, Auvers Street turned the aircraft to the west, passed over Berlin and Potsdam in East Germany. Four days before the flight in the German cities of raging anti-government rallies and demonstrations; on the suppression of popular unrest thrown Soviet troops. Air defense system countries over which flew Overstreet, made unsuccessful attempts to intercept the intruder, and Overstreet, completing a successful flight, landed safely in Wiesbaden.

Immediately after his landing with three cameras have removed the tape from the film and sent them to the US for processing. June 22 brought to the film department of the CIA aerial photography, where the experts rated the quality of pictures taken as "good".

"Setting 2014»: U-2 over Moscow

The main goal of the second flight of the U-2 ("Target 2014") became the capital of the Soviet Union. Moscow is not only the political and administrative center of the country, but also the focus of research and defense establishments, a large industrial city. Flight to Moscow was risky: armed defense systems, to cover the approaches to the capital, there were missiles "land-to-air" (GCR), which were created at the same time with the U-2.

The first information about these rockets appeared in early July 1953, when Western observers have noticed an unusual network of roads in the vicinity of Moscow. Three roads, each about two miles, walked strictly parallel to each other; they crossed the eleven tracks on 0, 5 km in length. These roads really looks like a giant fishing net. Soon in the area of ​​the "network" appeared long turf bunkers. Above each bin towered two plates locators - one for target detection - violator aircraft, the second - for the coordination of the missile.

By December 1955, there were around Moscow forty such sites for launching rockets, "air-land"; location twelve of them were able to establish exactly. The plots are situated approximately eight to ten kilometers away from each other by two concentric circles: the first - in 46, the second - in 80 km from Moscow. About 25 sites had been brought to full alert, the others are under construction. The Americans had information about the start of construction of a system of defense around Leningrad. Had information about the missiles themselves placed on the pad. Reported that in diameter, they are 0, 9 meter in length - from 6 to 9 meters. It was assumed that each of the finished floor housed up to 60 missiles "ground-to-air." At NATO, these Soviet missiles received code designation SA-1 "Guild". SA-1 were placed on trucks and before starting the installed vertically. How effective are these missiles - that had to find out in the course of "Quest 2014". The pilot of the aircraft was given the assignment to go twice over the double ring of SA-1, covers Moscow.

Depart on "Setting 2014" was scheduled for five o'clock in the morning on July 5. 24, 12 and 2 hours before departure Bissell had to transmit to the base of three coded commands; Each team consisted of one word. If at least one team did not arrive in Wiesbaden, this meant that the flight on the job is canceled.

Already the first team that waited at 5 pm July 4 not admitted. On the basis concluded that the flight has been delayed and you can relax. Most of the staff went to a party in honor of Independence Day. At seven o'clock in the evening from Washington received a message that the operation is resumed. At the moment the only one still sober driver turned Carmen Vito - and he was destined to fly on a "Quest 2014».

The following morning, put on a suit Vito pilot breathed oxygen, received instructions from the navigator "Compound A", meteorologist and unit commander. Received the last command, and two hours later he flew from Wiesbaden. He flew on the same №347, which passed inspection after the first flight, and was loaded with fuel. The pilot should observe complete silence in the air - even in heaven, he went up the light signal from the tower-based observations.

Troop 10-10

The second flight took place much further south of the first, and in Soviet airspace Vito had to penetrate much further. The plane passed over the GDR over Poland and headed for Kiev. As is the case with the first pilot, Soviet radar quickly spotted the intruder, and behind them rushed MiGs. James Killian, who was at the station during flight intercept Vito watched the work of American experts who are watching the negotiations the Soviet air defense services. They were puzzled by the fact that they had heard. Russian tried to withdraw its fighters to intercept aircraft that was flying at an altitude of 20,000 feet at a speed of 800 km per hour. Employees of American science services intercept did not know that there are planes that can reach a height of 20,000 feet; they were unaware of the existence of the U-2, and Killian was in no hurry to enlighten them.

All attempts MiGs intercept the U-2 proved as unsuccessful as the day before. Again fighters desperately rushed to a height where their engines glohli and they sank down; several MiGs and could not re-start the engine and fell to the ground. Flying over Kiev, Vito turned northwest toward Minsk. The weather worsened, there were clouds. Reaching Minsk, Vito turned towards Moscow and flew over the railway line Minsk-Moscow. Clouds gradually weakened, and Vito seen at the bottom of the mosaic of farm fields.

Ahead lay Moscow, almost hidden by clouds. Approaching it from the south-east, Vito noticed the Moscow River. His first goal was to bomb warehouses Ramenskoye - similar to the US airbase Edwards. Then the aircraft factory in Fili, which was collected by M-4 bombers. As we approach the Moscow cloudiness increased. Vito had time to photograph the city and the Kremlin before the clouds closed under it. Flying over the city, the pilot saw the keeper launch sites SA-1. Vito saw it very clearly, but it has not released a single rocket; Not only that, it seems, not even detected by radar. Later Vito asked what he felt when he learned that he had to fly over twice a double ring of SA-1. The pilot responded, "Gosh, it was my job, and the job I have done everything in my power." Vito was the only pilot, flown on the U-2 over Moscow; more aircraft to the Soviet capital was not sent.

After Moscow cloudiness dissipated, and Vito was able to photograph the missile plant in Kaliningrad and rocket engine plant in Khimki, just north of Moscow. Filmed defense facilities of the Moscow region, Vito flew another 200 miles to the northeast, and then turned west, walked over goals in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and headed for Wiesbaden. Downstairs again sucked all the clouds, and he flew to the base, following the instructions from the ground. Landing was successful; immediately after the tape was removed from the cameras to send them to "Automatic».

Because of the time difference in Washington was still early morning July 5, when Vito put the U-2 in Wiesbaden. When CIA director Dulles came to work in the morning, he asked Bissell, made whether the U-2 reconnaissance flights on Independence Day. Bissell said that one flight took place on the feast day, the second was completed this morning; pilots flew over the goal and over Moscow, Leningrad and over.

"Oh God, - said shocked Dulles - is this too for a start?" Bissell said, "Allen, the first time - the safest».

Eisenhower wanted to know how was the first flights, especially interested him, were able to track whether the Russian U-2 routes. He asked Colonel Goodpaster "convey to the Minister Allen Dulles that if there is information that the aircraft had been found and were able to trace their way, then maybe you should think about how to stop the operation." Eisenhower believed that if the Soviets will be able to trace the routes, U-2, it will dramatically increase the number of attempts to intercept. According to the results of flight June 20, President already knew that, despite all expectations, U-2 could be detected.

Colonel Goodpaster called Dulles and Bis-cell and learned that complete information about the flights and the actions of the Soviet air defense will be ready within 36 hours. The same day, a little later, Dulles and Bissell met Goodpaster to know whether you can continue to fly the U-2. Goodpaster said that, as he understood the designation of the president, the flights should continue until the first evidence that the Russian was able to trace the route of the aircraft.

Information on this issue regarding the first two flights, we extended only on July 6 .. It became clear that the Soviet radar can track the routes of the U-2, but not throughout their length. They managed to find a plane and spend "several unsuccessful attempts to intercept." Radar in the vicinity of Moscow and Leningrad, it seems, did not notice violators. Tips apparently never learned that over the two main cities of the country flown by American spy planes.

The flight lasted

After performing "Targets 2014» U-2 is not flying with Wiesbaden airbase in four days - perhaps because of the weather conditions. As a result, before the flights resumed, most of the ten-day period allotted Eisenhower passed. To catch up, Bissell appointed July 9, just two flight labeled "Target 2020" and "Target 2021».

The main part of the U-2 flight took place over the countries of Eastern Europe. Airplane flying over East Germany; after Berlin turned north and flew over Poland, and then entered the airspace of the Soviet Union and was zigzagging over Lithuania and southern regions of Latvia. After that, he turned south to Minsk, but before it reached the town, headed for the south-west and passed over the central regions of Poland, including Warsaw and over again crossed East Germany and returned to Wiesbaden.

U-2, went to "Set in 2021," has done a much bigger way over the central regions of the USSR. Rising from Wiesbaden, the aircraft entered the airspace of Czechoslovakia, flying over Prague, and then turned to the south-east, was over Austria and crossed the border of Hungary. Flying to Budapest, U-2 turned to the northeast and entered the airspace of the Soviet Union. Reconnaissance plane flew over goals in Lviv, Kiev and Minsk, and then through Belarus and Poland came back to Wiesbaden. After landing, it turned out that one of the three cameras are out of order; Hundreds of pictures were lost to US intelligence.

Ten days allotted president expires. The last flight was supposed to make over the southern regions of the USSR July 10th. According to the "Setting 2023», U-2 had to reach the Crimean peninsula. The plane passed over the GDR, Poland, the western regions of the USSR, northern Romania and re-entered Soviet airspace over the southern part of the European territory. The length of the route over the USSR ran over Sevastopol, Simferopol and Odessa, the aircraft turned to the northwest and through Czechoslovakia and East Germany back in Wiesbaden.

The same day, the American ambassador in Moscow was handed a note of protest of the Soviet government. It protested against the USSR flights in the U-2 July 4 and 5. The note gave an idea of ​​how well the Russian managed to trace the routes of flights. July 4, according to the Russian, the intruder entered Soviet airspace to a depth of 320 kilometers, was within the Soviet Union, one hour and thirty-two minutes and flew over Minsk, Vilnius, Kaunas and Kaliningrad. July 5 intruder allegedly flew to a depth of 150 kilometers, circled Brest, Pinsk, Baranovichi, Kaunas and Kaliningrad, staying in the sky over the USSR in one hour and twenty minutes. The note said that it was a "twin-engined medium bomber USAF intent to violate the air border of the USSR with the intelligence objectives».

Evening of July 10 as a protest note was delivered to the White House, Goodpaster called Bissell and ordered to stop all flights by U-2. The next morning, they met to analyze the results of the first flight. Bissell said that apart from those mentioned in the note of the two flights was made three more. July 16, Ambassador of Poland to the United States made an oral statement on the U-2 flights to Poland 20 June and 2 July. According to the ambassador, the first time the intruder entered the airspace of Poland in Zgorzelec, the second time - in the area of ​​Gubin. Protest the government of Czechoslovakia followed on July 21.

July 19 US responded to the Soviet note of protest: "Carefully conducted an investigation determined that neither the US aircraft from bases in Europe or conduct flights within European airspace, could not in those days, when allegedly was broken air borders of the Soviet Union, so strong escape from the planned route of flight. Therefore, the statement of the Soviet government is wrong. " Formally, Americans were absolutely right: U-2 is not a military aircraft. Protests from Poland and Czechoslovakia, the US simply did not respond.


Between 20 June and 10 July, eight flights over the Soviet bloc: five of the USSR and the three states of Eastern Europe. In "automatic" process and analyze mass shots. After the first flight Stockman all film immediately crossed into the United States. When they showed, workers OAF invited James Baker, so he could see how well they were made lenses. Overall shots were very good quality, although some objects of cloud cover.

During flights over the Soviet Union managed to shoot nine airfields far bombers stationed in the western part of the Soviet Union. In the pictures it was evident that at each airport were mine, which housed nuclear weapons. The plane taxied to a mine, stayed on it, and below the lift rose atomic bomb - right in the bomb bay of the aircraft. But much more important was the fact that the staff "automatic" not seen. None of the airfields were no new bomber M-4 "Bison". The Americans thought they had the Soviet Union at least one hundred.

It turned out that all the estimates on the number of new American bombers in the Soviet Union are greatly exaggerated. Pictures taken on board the U-2 piloted by Vito allowed to understand that production capacity aircraft factory in Fili, on which the M-4, are very limited. Fili only build fuselage bombers; then along the Moscow River on barges brought them in Ramenskoye - there is a fuselage mounted wings. What is the Soviet Union had "Bison", could not be determined, but it was clear that a little and overtake the US in the number of strategic bombers, the Soviet Union could not. Flying M-4 in the presence of foreign observers is nothing more than a ploy, a demonstration of a nonexistent force.

And he was right.

And so it happened.

How could?

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