This is coolbert:
From a previous blog entry my own comments:
"'Fiddler' and 'Mystic' did not come off the drawing boards until some time AFTER these balloon projects came to an end? There WERE NO shoot-downs as claimed because from 1956 onward there were NO balloons to shoot at?
NO MORE reconnaissance balloon flights over the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the U-2 reconnaissance "spy plane" successfully having flown many missions - - and the advent too of the various Corona outer space "spy" satellites. The reconnaissance balloon flights ended in 1959 [valid scientific CIVILIAN research flights did continue for sometime thereafter!], such a mechanism [balloon flights] to obtain valid high resolution photographs rendered null and void by that combination of high-flying aircraft and satellites?
Indeed - - the results of those balloon flights seems to have been quite meagre, scant, inconclusive, not even worth the time, energy, effort and money as put into the various recce projects. Continuing these overflights would not make sense as other means, much more effective, were available!
From this web site we find - - however - - an alternative view! Balloon flights it is claimed, according to Soviet sources - - continued even unto the 1970's, so it is possible that "Fiddler" interceptors of the PVO did fly missions against intruding balloons with SHOOT-DOWNS!
"Cold War Balloon Flights 1945:1965"
* "As another footnote, Russian sources claim that balloon reconnaissance missions over the USSR continued into the 1970s and beyond. According to Russian records, 1975 was a particularly active year for balloon activities, with 16 recorded intrusions and 13 balloons shot down. These claims that are not supported by what has been released about the US balloon reconnaissance effort. The records of encounters between Soviet interceptor aircraft and balloons are detailed and specific, and there's no good reason to doubt they happened -- but what were the balloons doing over the Soviet Union?"
"It seems plausible that the Soviets were actually excitably chasing after weather and research balloons that had strayed into their airspace, though it is of course difficult to rule out the existence of another 'black' [black referring to secret and off-the-books projects - - hidden!] reconnaissance balloon program that hasn't been declassified yet. However, the puzzle then is what the mission might have been, since by the 1970s space reconnaissance was well-developed and the 1950s balloon reconnaissance effort had been an embarrassing bust; if the balloons were part of a reconnaissance program, it must have been a specialized one. Who knows? Maybe it was an effort to test Soviet air defenses, and the balloons were supposed to be shot down."
Personally I would not preclude the possibility of nations OTHER THAN THE U.S. launching balloon missions over the Soviet Union! Constituent members of NATO or the French perhaps desiring their own autonomous intelligence gathering high-altitude - - high-resolution photographic capability!
"Fiddler" and even "Mystic" were active [?] in the effort to combat balloon overflights, the latter aircraft having a GUN as the means to attack the balloons, a type of aerial combat as not seen since the Great War!
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The simpler explanation for the limited deployment of the Fiddler may be the appearance of the XB-70/F-108 on the deployment horizon in the mid-60s. The Soviets needed greater capability to address this new threat, hence the MiG-25 "Foxbat". This corresponds with the larger story that the Soviets were reduced to a reactive development cycle by this time, as a consequence of the mounting Western advantage in aerospace.
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