Target: North KoreaPosted on April 23rd, 2009 1 comment
This is the flight track of mission GRC 128, flown by Hsichun Mike Hua (華錫鈞) on December 6, 1962. This mission is unique in many ways. It is not only the first North Korea mission by the 35th Squadron but also the first operational mission since Huai Chen was shot down on September 9. So an important task for Mike Hua is to test the newly installed System 12 ECM. Google Earth users may want to download the associated kmz file to re-act Mike’s flight (at a much lower altitude, though) and also to see the many airfields in North Korea and in part of China that Mike had photographed in this mission.
The following paper discussed the feasibility of resumption of U-2 missions after the aircraft had been equipped with the ECM gear and the Single Side Band (SSB) radio. It also mentioned a “relatively safe area” for the initial flight. I wonder if this is why North Korea was chosen.
The defensive gear is System 12, a radar warning system. Article 355 received the modification in late November:
Before the mission, CIA technicians briefed the pilot (I guess) on the tactics when using System 12:
GRC 128 turned out to be the “one of the best ever flown by this project” in terms of the image quality.
It seemed that North Korea did not protest against the intrusion. However, Soviet Union’s officail news agency TASS reported the incident two weeks later:
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