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EC-121Rs were operated by the 553rd and 554th Reconnaissance Squadrons of the 553rd Reconnaissance Wing, between 19 October 1967 and 15 December 1970, with approximately 20 Batcats on hand at any one time. Batcat EC-121Rs were camouflaged in the standard three-color Southeast Asia scheme while the College Eye/Disco early warning aircraft were not. BatCat missions were 18 hours in length, with eight hours on station at one of 11 color-coded orbits used during their five-year history, three of which were over South Vietnam, six over Laos, one over Cambodia, and one over the Gulf of Tonkin. EC-121Rs were used with ground sensors to detect enemy troop movements along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Twenty five EC-121Rs were deployed to Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, as a part of Operation Igloo White, a covert United States Air Force electronic warfare operation. This state-of-the-art operation utilized electronic sensors, computers, and communications relay aircraft in an attempt to automate intelligence collection. The system would then assist in the direction of strike aircraft to their targets. The sensor transmitters would relay their data to the second element of the system, an orbiting EC-121R aircraft of the Air Force's 553rd Reconnaissance Wing. The 553rd Reconnaissance Wing was deactivated 15 December 1970, and the 554th RS relocated to Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand. The final Batcat mission was flown 5 December 1971. The last remaining administrative and support personnel returned to Otis Air Force Base, Massachusetts, in January 1972. Signed and Numbered prints are available directly from the Artist.
January 21st, 2012
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