306 – Flying the RC-135S Cobra Ball
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 Hopkins00:01:53
Cobra Ball | Cobra Eye | Ballistic Missile (ICBM) | Air Show
Overview of the Missions00:03:38
Sputnik 1 | Ground Radar | Telemetry | Boeing B-47 | Electronic Warfare | KC-135 | RC-135 | Measurement and Signature Analysis | Shemya | Boost and Terminal Phase | Big Safari Program | Cobra Judi | Cobra Dane | Synthetic Aperture Radar | Reentry Vehicle
Boeing 707 | Infrared Sensor | National Technical Means (NTM) | SALT 2 Treaty | SS-20 | Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile | B-52 | Nuclear Verification | Rivot Joint | ELINT | COMINT | Desert Storm | Burning Wind Mission
Difference between Cobra Ball and Cobra Eye00:23:58
Strategic Defense Initiative | Warhead | Bus / Penetration Aid | Rivot Amber Incident | TC-135 | J-57 Engine | TF-33 Turbofan Engine | CFM-56 / F-108 Engine
Lisa Ann Mission00:30:33
Ballistic Framing Camera System | Multiple Reentry Vehicles
Flying, Operating and Living at Shemya00:37:18
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 Mission01:01:56
National Security Agency | SS-18 | Racetrack Pattern | Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty | Stellar Inertial Doppler System | Doppler-Shift | Looking Glas
The Book of Robert Hopkins00:03:23
The Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker: More Than a Tanker | Spyflights and Overflights
Open-Source Information <https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_intelligence | OmegaTau Episode about the Sofia Telescope
Was a very nice podcast, liked it. 5 Stars! Has Robert told you what the chances are that we will get Volume 2 and 3 of his Spyflight and Overflights book-series? – Thanks!
Great episode. I enjoyed this one very much!
Spyflights Vol 2 is in preparation. Expect in early 2021.
Nice epsisode. I am a regular listener and appreciate the cold war topics very much. There are some older episodes in the same direction, which I also liked a lot.
Thank you & please keep on with this activity!