306 – Flying the RC-135S Cobra Ball

(average: 4.44)

Guest: Robert Hopkins    Host: Markus Voelter    Shownoter: Bastian Hundt

Throughout the cold war, and til today, the Cobra-codenamed ground, sea and air assets have been used by the US to monitor Soviet/Russian ICBM missile launches and warhead reentries. The air component consists of the RC-135 Cobra Ball/Eye aircraft. Flying from Shemya in the Aleutians they used cameras and other sensors. Our guest, Robert Hopkins has been flying the aircraft in the late 1980s. In this episode he tells us about the mission and the flying — Shemya could be quite challenging.

Robert is also the author of the book on the KC-135, you might want to check it out.

Introduction of Robert Hopkins


Cobra Ball | Cobra Eye | Ballistic Missile (ICBM) | Air Show

Lisa Ann Mission


Ballistic Framing Camera System | Multiple Reentry Vehicles

Flying, Operating and Living at Shemya


Rat Islands | Boeing Stratocruiser | Eielson Airbase | Red Flag | Air Refueling | Wind shear | EB-47 | Precision Approach Radar | Microwave Landing System | King Crab | Queen Match Program | Lockheed Electra | Boeing 727

The Cobra Mission


National Security Agency | SS-18 | Racetrack Pattern | Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty | Stellar Inertial Doppler System | Doppler-Shift | Looking Glas

The End


Open-Source Information <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_intelligence | OmegaTau Episode about the Sofia Telescope