Aurora for Fun and Profit
Could secrecy be the new engine of economic growth? Hardly. But the classification of advanced surveillance aircraft is being exploited as the major selling point for a new set of scale models of "Aurora"-type spy planes for hobbyists.
Declaring that "the secret is out!" the Testor Corporation of Rockford, Illinois announced last month that it is marketing what it calls "the super secret SR-75 Penetrator" ("also known by the code word Aurora") and "the XR-7 Thunder Dart reconnaissance aircraft system."
The ad copy asserts that these craft "were designed to replace the aging SR-71 Blackbirds and are now flying missions from remote bases around the world." The Air Force denies this.
The models' designer, John Andrews of Testor, says they are based on "available government information, some expert aviation and aerospace contacts, his own engineering experience, and several technological guesses."
The marketing of a toy model has become something of a milestone in secret aircraft programs, suggesting that the time for declassification of some secret aircraft may soon be ripe. The Testor Corporation created an uproar when it released its model of a stealth fighter (which it called the F-19) in 1985, just a few years before the F-117A stealth fighter was finally unveiled. At the time, one bewildered Congressman demanded to know "how a secret aircraft that even Congressmen were not allowed to see could be reproduced by a model company." (Airpower Journal, Fall 1991, p.24).
As it turned out, however, the Testor model bore little resemblance to the actual F-117A. But more than one million F-19s were sold, making it "the best selling model airplane of all time."
Est' mnogo fotok modeley ot Italieri.
In knowledge we trust!