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#51 Bob Riebe

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 04:51

indigoid-

 

A bit OT, but there is a great story behind how Lockheed obtained the titanium supplies for building the SR-71's.  Don't know if the story is entirely true, but because there was an economic embargo put in place by the US government on import/export of strategic materials/goods with the Soviet Union during the 50's and 60's,  Lockheed could not obtain the supply of titanium metals it needed to build the SR-71.  In order to circumvent the economic embargo, Lockheed purchased the material from the Soviets in the form of titanium shovels.

At the F-106 site, frequented by persons who flew and worked on military aircraft, a person with first hand knowledge of how they got the Ti from Russia relates it.

 

It was double dealing but I do not remember the specifics, you will have to dig through the site to find it.


Edited by Bob Riebe, 07 October 2013 - 18:01.


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#52 Greg Locock

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 05:54

f-106deltadart.com ? my search-fu is weak, I can find a sr71 titanium thread but no shovels. And no pilot I ever met would dream of embellishing stories on an internet forum. They are even more reliable than sailors.



#53 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 06:18

I have seen doccos on the Stealth bomber/ spyplane and they did leak/ weep on the ground but sealed up in flight. Reportedly the fuel is so 'weak' it is not flammable to a naked flame. It does not inspire confidence though.

I  have a flat-bladed aluminum coal scoop I use to shovel snow. I try not to scrape the edge on the pavement too much and wear it out quickly. 
 
Other than that, I use steel. A few years ago I looked at a garden shovel in the home garage and realized it was worn out, needed replacement. The blade and the handle were shot. Funny, because I remembered buying it new -- Stanley, a good one. That got me to thinking. When you've lived long enough to wear out a garden shovel, that's pretty goddamned old.

Less home renos and gardening. That wears out shovels.
My back wore out before I wore out my shovel. These days I mainly use it chipping off weeds or when sweeping the concrete or the workshop. It still scrapes the grease off the concrete really nicely.

#54 gruntguru

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 07:36

It still scrapes the grease off the concrete really nicely.

I wish I was allowed to let grease accumulate to the point where it was thick enough to shovel off!!



#55 Bob Riebe

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 18:03

f-106deltadart.com ? my search-fu is weak, I can find a sr71 titanium thread but no shovels. And no pilot I ever met would dream of embellishing stories on an internet forum. They are even more reliable than sailors.

That is the site.

If I remember correctly, it was in a thread, not the topic of a thread which is why I said dig.

 

I did not say it came from shovels, but then I am not going to say it did not.

Do not remember.

 

Just guessing it came through companies that did not exist.


Edited by Bob Riebe, 07 October 2013 - 18:05.


#56 Greg Locock

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 21:52

It's the shovels bit we're having trouble with, not the general knowledge that A12 was a CIA program and that the Ti was sourced by them from many countries including the USSR.



#57 Magoo

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 08:11

Magoo,

 

Here is what I said in my original post:

 

"A bit OT, but there is a great story behind how Lockheed obtained the titanium supplies for building the SR-71's.  Don't know if the story is entirely true, but because there was an economic embargo put in place by the US government on import/export of strategic materials/goods with the Soviet Union during the 50's and 60's,  Lockheed could not obtain the supply of titanium metals it needed to build the SR-71.  In order to circumvent the economic embargo, Lockheed purchased the material from the Soviets in the form of titanium shovels."

 

I said it was just a great story I had heard, and did not claim to know if it was entirely true.  There are numerous public sources that will confirm the fact that much of the titanium used for SR-71 production came from the Soviets and was procured through "unconventional" means.  It does not require a huge leap of faith to believe the story might have some factual basis.

 

Sorry that I can't give you with a bonafied "primary source" that provides irrefutable proof of the veracity of historical events I described as being a "story I had heard" regarding the source of some of the titanium used to manufacture the Lockheed SR-71 airframes.  I'm sure you'd agree that this request would be just as silly as me demanding that you provide a "primary source" confirming that your name is really Magoo.

 

Well, there you are. My name is not Magoo. It's simply a screen handle. Are you saying the shovel story is similarly crafted? 

 

I'm not trying to give you a hard time. I'm only saying the ti shovel story has the sense of folklore about it. I'd like to believe it myself, but my experience in tracking down these tales over the years prevents me. This sounds more like the invention of an aviation writer or perhaps an industry publicist than anything that happened in reality. And so I asked for a primary source. Was that wrong? 


Edited by Magoo, 08 October 2013 - 08:13.


#58 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 10:32

I wish I was allowed to let grease accumulate to the point where it was thick enough to shovel off!!

Do a driveshaft job, or major suspension work and you have grease everywhere. Scrape it off carefully before it builds up. I hate greasy floors!!
Though my fathers shed did have build up,, trucks and tractors will do that. I worked my backside off cleaning concrete to a reasonable standard when I got serious about working on cars. Though often worked out in the yard laying on the gravel. And jacking up cars with a windup jack or a small hydraulic bottle jack. With tree trunk firewood as stands!

#59 bigleagueslider

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 04:01

Well, there you are. My name is not Magoo. It's simply a screen handle. Are you saying the shovel story is similarly crafted? 

 

I'm not trying to give you a hard time. I'm only saying the ti shovel story has the sense of folklore about it. I'd like to believe it myself, but my experience in tracking down these tales over the years prevents me. This sounds more like the invention of an aviation writer or perhaps an industry publicist than anything that happened in reality. And so I asked for a primary source. Was that wrong? 

 Fair enough Magoo.  I have worked in the US aerospace business for almost 30 years, much of it spent working for big OEMs in southern California like McDonnell-Douglas, Northrop and Lockheed. I originally heard the story from an old-timer that worked on the SR-71 program, and I have no reason to think the story had no basis in fact.  Lockheed needed lots of titanium for the SR-71 program, and the only expedient way to get it was from the Soviets.  The titanium that was required needed to be in a form known as "CP" (or commercially pure). Purchasing the CP titanium in the form of an agricultural product like a shovel blade would cause the least amount of concern with the Soviets and the US Congress oversight commitees.



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#60 Canuck

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 23:57

Shenanigans!