avatar_comrade harps

Temco Long Horn: Article 36

Started by comrade harps, December 31, 2009, 04:39:43 PM

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comrade harps


The Long Horn story goes back to 1942, when Lockheed proposed a long ranged photo reconnaissance version of the P-38 Lightning to the United States Army Air Force. A three engined design, it would be capable of lifting a heavy internal and external fuel load to a cruising altitude from were fuel could then be conserved with one engine shut down. Although promising, it was passed over by the USAAF and no further work was attended to.

In 1946, the three engined P-38 re-surfaced when former Lockheed engineer David Leckie began work for the new Temco company. Temco's management were looking at ways to capitalise on the surplus military market and focused on refurbishing and customising P-51s and P-38s. When the U. S. Geological Survey was looking for a new long range photo and radar survey aircraft for use in the Pacific, Leckie gained the rights to the "tri-Lightning" from Lockheed and had a prototype built from surplus P-38Ls by late 1947. Marketed as the Long Horn, the USGS purchased three (the first entering service in 1949) and the type was promoted for survey and high-speed, long range courier work.

With the start of World War III in May 1950, the CIA raised an urgent requirement for a deniable long range reconnaissance aircraft. This saw CIA front airlines, the Taiwan based Civil Air Transport and the Miami based Southern Air Transport, place orders for the Long Horn as a courier plane.  While these civilian aircraft were useful in providing Long Horn production a white world face, additional airframes were delivered directly to the CIA as part of black ops program, with testing and training based at the new top secret joint CIA/Lockheed facility at Groom Lake. On missions over the Socialist Union, Long Horns flew as sanitised airframes without any identification, whilst on other routes they flew with borrowed or fictitious civil registrations.

When production ended in June 1954, 3 had been delivered to the USGS, 14 to CIA associated airlines and 43 directly to the CIA, although once delivered several swapped ownership.  Of these 60 airframes, no less than 9 versions were manufactured and another 4 variants produced through modification to meet the variety of missions demanded. Despite this proliferation, civil Long Horns were merely known by their marketing names of Long Horn Surveyor or Long Horn Courier and the CIA ordered airframes were allocated a Long Horn Article number.

The CIA used the Long Horn for a wide range of duties, including high-priority personnel transport and reconnaissance. From late 1951 they penetrated hostile airspace from Taoyuan in Taiwan (a UN member nation) and Peshawar in Pakistan (at the time, a neutral), overflying Red China and the Socialist Union heartland gathering photographic, radar, air sampling and signals intelligence. The Long Horn's most infamous mission is the shooting down of the DC-3 carrying Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh to Moscow in the early hours of 17 July, 1952, although this fact was not publicly confirmed until 1973. Together with the civil registered examples, Long Horns were also used on covert operations in Indonesia, Indo-China and Central and South America.

At least 17 were lost due to hostile action or in hostile airspace, but the program was brought to an end when a Skunk Works safety review identified severe structural deficiencies as the cause of at least 5 crashes.

The aircraft depicted here is Long Horn Article 36, delivered to the CIA by Temco in October 1952. The starboard nacelle features a nose housing ground mapping radar and a radar operator with an aft navigator's position. Article 36 mostly flew from Peshawar on missions over the Socialist Union, China and Indo-China. Long haul recovery airfields included Longyearbyen on the on the Free Norwegian held Svalbard Island in the North Atlantic, Taoyuan in Taiwan, Clark Field in the Philippines, Akrotiri in Cyprus and Masirah in Oman.  At around 8.30 hrs local on 8 December 1953, Article 36 crashed north of Asmar in Afghanistan enroute to the Socialist Union, killing its 4 crew members. When an American recovery team reached the crash site in February 1954, they identified structural failure as the likely cause of the crash.
Whatever.

Ed S

Interesting kit bash.  Well done.  The story sounds quite plausible.   :thumbsup:

Ed
We don't just embrace insanity here.  We feel it up, french kiss it and then buy it a drink.

PR19_Kit

Fantastic work, my eyes went crossed looking at the pics.  :lol: ;D
Kit's Rule 1 ) Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage
Kit's Rule 2) The backstory can always be changed to suit the model

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)

Regards
Kit

The Rat

Comrade, the idea of twinning a P-38 has been bandied around before, but I think you may be the first to bring it to fruition. It's certainly the only one I remember, and you've made it memorable!  :cheers:
"My mind is a raging torrent, flooded with rivulets of thought, cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives." Hedley Lamarr, Blazing Saddles
Youtube: https://tinyurl.com/46dpfdpr

John Howling Mouse

Very cool and you also did a fantastic job of photographing a black subject.  Now, where is Mr. Tophe?  He loves this sort of subject.
Styrene in my blood and an impressive void in my cranium.

Tophe

Quote from: John Howling Mouse on December 31, 2009, 07:58:40 PM
where is Mr. Tophe?  He loves this sort of subject.
Yes I do love this model!  :wub: Congratulations and thanks! :thumbsup:
(and thanks JHM for the mail alarm ;D )
[the word "realistic" hurts my heart...]

NARSES2

Do not condemn the judgement of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong.

rickshaw

Does the central nacelle also have an undercarriage leg?
How to reduce carbon emissions - Tip #1 - Walk to the Bar for drinks.

comrade harps

Thanks guys.

Yes, it does have a central boom undercarraige (necessary due to the heavy fuel loads - it does have 4 of those big p-38 drop tanks - hence the structural failure idea).

I forgot to mention that some versions (not this one) had extended wings too and that the type is sometimes mistakenly called the U-1.

As for orginality, I'd been looking for a Zwilling concpet to build that didn't look too dificult and had seen the twin-Lightning here somewhere and then again the same model cropped up in Fine Scale Modeller http://www.whatifmodelers.com/index.php/topic,25811.0/highlight,twin%20lightning.html after I'd bought the necessary pair of Dragon kits - P-38 BTO and P-38M night fighter; Paul Boyer's F-76B Twin Lightning used Hasegawa, but his model doesn't have a BTO nose nor the aft crew position. The parts breakdown works quite nicely for this kit bash.
Whatever.

BlackOps

Most excellent! And my favorite color too :)
Jeff G.
Stumbling through life.

PR19_Kit

Quote from: comrade harps on January 01, 2010, 04:08:41 PM
I forgot to mention that some versions (not this one) had extended wings too and that the type is sometimes mistakenly called the U-1.

Hehehe, I LOVE it!  :lol: ;D

Kit's First Rule of Whiffing says 'ANY aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings.....'  <_<
Kit's Rule 1 ) Any aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings, and/or a longer fuselage
Kit's Rule 2) The backstory can always be changed to suit the model

...and I'm not a closeted 'Take That' fan, I'm a REAL fan! :)

Regards
Kit

proditor

That's insane, and totally amazing.  Excellent work and history!   :cheers:

ysi_maniac

#12
Quote from: PR19_Kit on January 02, 2010, 09:14:08 AM
Quote from: comrade harps on January 01, 2010, 04:08:41 PM
I forgot to mention that some versions (not this one) had extended wings too and that the type is sometimes mistakenly called the U-1.

Hehehe, I LOVE it!  :lol: ;D

Kit's First Rule of Whiffing says 'ANY aircraft can be improved by fitting longer wings.....'  <_<
2nd rule Idem by fitting more engines
3rd rule Idem by fitting bigger engines
4th rule Idem by fitting jet engines
5th ...

BTW: wonderful model :wub: :wub: :wub: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
Will die without understanding this world.

batmancustoms

John 'Panzer' Hinton
http://www.batmancustoms.com/