This unique diecast coin is 3 inches long. Most of you probably recognize this aircraft as the famous SR-71 Blackbird. Although they are very similar in details the A-12 was developed first by Lockheed Skunkworks program for the CIA. With the failure of the CIA’s Project Rainbow to reduce the radar cross section of the U-2, preliminary work began with Lockheed in late 1957 to develop a follow-on aircraft to overfly the Soviet Union. After development and production at the Skunk Works, in Burbank, California, the first A-12 was transferred to Groom Lake, NV also known as Area 51. The first official flight took place on 30 April 1962 and its first supersonic flight was on 4 May 1962, reaching speeds of Mach 1.1 at 40,000 feet. The recorded maximum speed was Mach 3.35 at 95,000 feet.
A lot of people think the A-12’s sister, SR-71 Blackbird, was the fastest plane and is usually the one that receives all of the attention. The SR-71 fastest speed recorded was only Mach 3.2, compared to the A-12 at Mach 3.35. The A-12 was faster mostly because it was a lot lighter than the SR-71. The SR-71 was developed specifically for the US Air Force to carry a larger payload and travel further than the CIA version. The A-12 OXCART wast retired early by the CIA in 1968 and remained classified until 1981.
This Central Intelligence Agency A-12 Oxcart Diecast challenge coin is the 5th aircraft in our latest collection It is made out of polished black nickel with the patches laser etched into the belly of the aircraft and hard enamel paint for detail. The patches are from the Central Intelligence Agency while this project was being developed by Lockhead Martin and tested at Area 51. The CYGNUS patch came from Lockheed who unofficially dubbed them “Cygnus”, named after the constellation of Cygnus the swan. The Road Runner patch was from a group of CIA and US Air Force members that worked with the A-12 Oxcart.
The SR-71 Blackbird will probably continue to get all of the recognition as the fastest and one of the baddest aircraft ever made, but hopefully I have given you a little history lesson about the A-12 Oxcart that most people never new existed.
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