Warning Star

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Warning Star

Postby norri » Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:26 am

Although in military service since 1943
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The US Navy didn’t acquire the C-69 until 1949, adapting it to carry two large early warning radars.
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A dorsal AN/APS-45 height finder radar and a ventral AN/APS-20 air search radar. Originally known as ‘Willie Victors’ (WV-2)
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as the concept was developed it was standardised in 1962 by the Dept of Defence as the EC-121.
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142 were ordered and deliveries started in 1953. Of those, the USAF took 84. ‘Warning Stars’ operated Picket duty over both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
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Augmenting land and sea based early warning radars, to counter the Soviet threat.
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EC-121’s also operated in Vietnam and coordinated the first ever airborne interception, resulting in F-4's shooting down two Mig 17’s.
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This restoration started out as an EC-121K from NAS Point Magu CA, employed to track missiles fired at the Pacific Missile Testing Range.
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But halfway through the painting, I stumbled across the story of PR-21 a EC-121 of the Navy Fleet Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron One (VQ-1).
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Nevermind, i'll just change the codes
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On the 15th April 1969 PR-21 took off from its base at NAS Natsugi Japan for an intelligence mission off Musu Point over the Sea of Japan.
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6 hours into the flight ground based radar detected two North Korean Air Force MiG-21s taking off from East Tongchong.
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A warning was transmitted to the pilot in command, LCDR James Overstreet, but there seems to be some debate as to whether or not it was received, much less acknowledged.
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A routine activity report appears to be the last confirmed transmission made by ‘Deep Sea 129’ approximately 30 minutes before being intercepted by the Migs.
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Even though it was clearly over International waters and had likely aborted its mission, PR-21 had no hope of outrunning the rapidly approaching Mig 21’s
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and it was later thought PR-21 was hit by a single AA-2 ‘Atol’ air to air missile.
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PR-21 and the crew of 31 didn’t stand a chance.
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Even the Soviets who were shocked by the unprovoked attack helped in the SAR effort, which yielded some floating wreckage and 2 bodies.
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Nixon, although he talked tough, was at a loss as to what to do. Indecision turned to indecisiveness.
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Communication between the White House and CINCPAC was muddled, the moment for retaliation passed.
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So apart from a vow to continue the missions (this time with a fighter escort) no action was taken.
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A VQ-1 Warning Star with a VF-51 F-4 escort (the subject of an earlier restoration).

viewtopic.php?f=29&t=1499

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Secretary Kissinger lamented, ‘our conduct in the EC-121 crisis was weak, indecisive and disorganized’.
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Easy to see why the Kim regime has been getting away with thumbing their noses at the International community for so long.
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AN/APS-20 radome
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I was so impressed by an earlier post which featured an Air Force EC-121, that I never contemplated such an undertaking.
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but then stumbled across some suitable moulds for the radar domes, so thought I may as well
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the last Navy Warning Star was retired in 1987. Besides the combat loss of PR-21, 31 Warning Stars were destroyed in operational accidents, by both branches of the service, at a cost of 179 crew.
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This restoration is a tribute to the memory of LCDR Overstreet, his crew and indeed all the airmen who lost their lives serving on EC-121's.
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PR-21 as it really was, Japan circa 1969
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norri
 
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Re: Warning Star

Postby MichaelB » Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:07 pm

Beautiful work - as I have come to expect!
BTW, the US Navy never had any "C-69"s. The original WV-1s (PO-1W) was a short body Constellation. Follow ons - which are more common - were the WV-2 and -3, also known as the EC-121, which was the long body "Super" Constellation.
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Re: Warning Star

Postby norri » Tue Jan 05, 2016 2:44 pm

well I got it half right! many thanks for the feedback Michael.
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Re: Warning Star

Postby MichaelB » Tue Jan 05, 2016 3:08 pm

As a reminder...Red Box Toys...the successor to Dyna-Flites and etc...has a nice toy WV-2. It's a bit chunky but a Constellation none the less - and affordable! It can be hard to find but is often seen at air shows.
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