‘OXCART’ & ‘BLACK SHIELD’

For close on eight years, from selection to the programme’s termination, Ken Collins lived and breathed the CIA’s Project ‘Oxcart’ — testing the Mach 3-plus Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft from Area 51 and operating it over North Vietnam on the ‘Black Shield’ deployment, all in conditions of the utmost secrecy

CIA A-12 PILOT

Article 129, A-12 serial 60-6932, and CIA pilot Jack Weeks were lost without trace on 4 June 1968 during a check flight out of Kadena AB, Japan.
USAF

My first sight and my first knowledge of what I was going to fly came when I went to Area 51 in October 1962. I walked into this hangar with someone who ended up being a friend of mine, Gen Doug Nelson, and here was this big, long, black, beautiful aircraft that almost looked like a spacecraft, in the filtered light coming through the hangar doors. It was just amazing. Not to go too far here, but it was almost breathtaking. I’d never seen anything like it before. That was my introduction to the A-12.”

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