Accession Number : ADA486697


Title :   Project CHECO Southeast Asia Report. BUFFALO HUNTER 1970 - 1972


Corporate Author : PACIFIC AIR FORCES HICKAM AFB HI CHECO DIV


Personal Author(s) : Elder, Paul W


Full Text : https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a486697.pdf


Report Date : 24 Jul 1973


Pagination or Media Count : 61


Abstract : Aerial photographic reconnaissance was a vital part of the U.S. intelligence effort during the Vietnam conflict. In addition to their more routine daily intelligence product, reconnaissance photographs occasionally disclosed extraordinarily significant information on increased enemy capabilities. For example, aerial photography provided the 9 January 1967 issue of Aviation Week and Space Technology with the first U.S. photograph of the Soviet ATOL heat-seeking air-to-air missile, the missile being under the wing of a MIG-21 aircraft airborne over North Vietnam. Subsequently, another photograph of a surface-to-air missile (SAM) site in North Vietnam revealed a man in a mysterious white cubicle atop a Fansong radar van. From that picture, U.S. intelligence personnel deduced that the North Vietnamese possessed an optical tracking capability for their SAMs. Both of these photographs provided the Southeast Asia (SEA) air commanders with invaluable intelligence concerning the air defense capabilities of North Vietnam at times when U.S. aircraft were vulnerable to those defenses. Responsible for these notable discoveries as well as for many thousands of additional feet of significant reconnaissance photography was a drone aircraft which had been gathering intelligence information over SEA, and especially over North Vietnam, since 1964. At that time, these reconnaissance operations functioned under tight security; and to maintain that security, the reconnaissance directors changed the nickname of the operation several times--BLUE SPRING, BUMBLE BUG, BUMPY ACTION, and finally BUFFALO HUNTER in February 1970. By the BUFFALO HUNTER era, however, the drone's use was no longer a secret. This report examines the entire BUFFALO HUNTER operation--management, targeting, drone capabilities, mission planning and execution, and operational results.


Descriptors :   *DRONES , *PHOTOGRAPHIC RECONNAISSANCE , *AERIAL RECONNAISSANCE , *VIETNAM WAR , LESSONS LEARNED , PLANNING , TARGETING , AIR LAUNCHED , SOUTHEAST ASIA , AIR FORCE OPERATIONS , LOW ALTITUDE , AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY , NORTH VIETNAM , RECOVERY , COMBAT EFFECTIVENESS , MILITARY HISTORY , CONTROL , AIR DEFENSE


Subject Categories : Pilotless Aircraft
      Cartography and Aerial Photography
      Military Intelligence


Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE