OXCART RECONNAISSANCE OF NORTH VIETNAM (W/ATTACHMENT)

Created: 5/15/1967

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

OXCART

CENTRAL IN'^LLIGSNCE AGENCY

WASHINGTON 2b. D. C.

OFFICE OFDIRECTOR

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AN'Jl'M FOR: Tho Zteouty Secretary of Defense

^pocial As&-Stant to tho President (Mr. Rostow)

Tho Doputy Undor Secretary of Stato for Political A'falrs

Reconnaissance of North Viotnam

Tae attached documentorwarded to Theuor further considerationprovulesult of tho meeting on Friday,

elineates tho requirement foretitivo, high rosolution photography with particularto choso priority aroas whoro the omplacoment of o'fonsivo missile systoms is considored most likely.

II Is an operational plan to obtain this

photography - The planho use of tho OXCART vehicle, doiloycd to and operatingreparod base in Oklnuwa, to overfly and photograph the priority aroas of North Viutnam.

Richard Helms Director

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OXCART RECONNAISSANCE OF

NORTH VIETNAM

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CONTENTS

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Attachment I resent Photographic Coverage

North Vietnam

Attachment II riority Sensitive Areas

North Vietnam

II Attachment III

Attachment III ationale tor Search Area Selection II. OXCART Reconnaissance Planay by Gen. Bacalis) Attachment I XCART DeploymentXCART Deployment Route

-ypical OXCART Operational Mission North Vietnam

Attachment IV ample OXCART Target Coverage North Vietnam

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I. DETECTION OF OFFENSIVE MISSILES IN , NORTH VIETNAM THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY

GENERAL

1. Examination of operationalulnerabilities, *wi;h< widths and other related aspects of present photographic reconnaissance activities in North Vietnam reveals tha: it would be inadequate to provide timely and positive asaurancu of detection of offensive medium rings missile system* if thoy are introduced into North Vietnam. (For details see discussion of Current Coverage.) While the remedy suggested in this proposal will still not provide

"positive-assurance'1 of detection of such systems, it appears to be the only photo recce plan that will materiallyho likelihood of such detection.

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2. Tho primary requisite is, of course, nearly complete coverage of North Vietnam with particular attention to those priority areas where the emplacement of offensive missile systems is considered most likely. Ideally it would be desirable to obtain thorough coverage of the important rail transloading yards of Pingshiang and Kung Ming inrder to detect possible introduction of offensive missiles at the earliest possible. while they are in transit. This may be politically undesirable. Therefore this operational proposal confineso the likely areas in North Vietnam including marshalling yards and spurs in the North Vietnamese rail system as well as the port of Haiphong. A

second requirement is that the coverage bo repetitive. This is essential in

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order that now activity or changes in -he nature of previously observed activity, can bo detected promptly. hird and equally importantis adequate resolution to identify different types of missiles or missile-associated equipment. Resolution on the ordereet is needed to distinguish between missiles and missile-associated ground support equipment and other hardware such as armored vehicles and transport equipment.

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Current

3. Followingrief review of the limitations of the current photography on North Vietnam.

a. Satellite Coverage

High-resolution coverage is currently being provided

V/eatherimiting factor owing to the difficulties

in scheduling satellite coverage to coincide with periods of good weather.

The lower resolutionissions are capable of providing the necessary overall coverage oi North Vietnam because they photograph an areailes wide. Experience has shown, however, that only about oneear--they are launched aboutonth--finds North Vietnam sufficiently cloudless to obtain adequate overall coverage of the country. The quality ofhotography would generally permit the detectionissile site of standard configuration, but better resolution would be required to identify missiles or missile-associated equipment and toell-camouflaged site or one of a

novel configuration. (See Attachment Z)

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This reconnaissance aircraft, with any of Us camera systems, is capable of providing the required resolution to identify missiles and missile-associated equipment. The vulnerability ofo multiple launches ofissiles imposes serious operational limitations on the use of this reconnaissance vehicle in North Vietnam. Therefore, since the introduction of surface-to-air missiles into North Vietnamperations of these aircraft have been restricted to areas outside the range limitations of known SAM emplacements. This has generallyhotography to the northwestern portion of North Vietnam.

Since the beginning of tho year,issions have been flown,f which covered portions of North Vietnam. Much of the photography from these missions, however, had cloud cover. (See Attachment!)

.Reconnaissance Coverage

These missions range from higheet) to low0 feet) with the majorityeet. The quality of thiscoverage ranges from excellent to poor. The National Photographic Interpretation Center reports that it received photography from an average of

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f theseonth6onth this year.ercent of these, however, are flown to produce infrared or side-looking radarroduct that cannot generally be applied to identifying missiles. Much of the coverage consists of short film strips covering major road and rail segments, point targets such as the Thai Nguyen Iron and Steel Complex, and other strike targets. The shortness of the flight lines and tho narrow band of lateral coverage because of the relatively low altitude of the reconnaissance aircraft result in numerous gaps in photo coverage. Moreover, tactical reconnaissance aircraft are prohibited from flying in the sanctuary or buffer area--that part of North Vietnam withiniles of the Chinese border! Because this effort is utilized primarily to support strike operations, thephotographic coverage of North Vietnam by combat reconnaissance aircraft has been relatively limited. (Sec Attachment I) d. Drone Coverage

Low-levelave been recovered thus farre flown ateet and provide excellent quality photography. The low altitude of the drone, however, restricts the usable photography to approximately one mile on either side of the flight line. These missions are directed primarily against critical targets in the Hanoi and Haiphong areas.

The high-level drone "five out of twelve have beenlown at an altitudeeet but is vulnerable to theissile. Most of

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the high-level drone missions havo been programmed over the eastern portion

of the China/Nor tii Vietnam border where tactical aircraft do not operate, but for missile search purposes they have not provided any usable photography of that area, largely because of unfavorable weathor. High-level drone

photography is capable, however, of providing identification of missiles or

missile-associated equipment under optimum operational and weather conditions. The above notwithstanding, high-level drones have proved to be highly vulnerable. Thus neither the high-level drone with its vulnerability nor the low-level drone with its very narrow coverage, could provide timely repetitive photography necessary for the detection of the type of missile sites in question, (See Attachment I)

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Priority Search

he priority missile search areas delineated on the attached maplightly modified version of those first established by the LOOKOUT Task Forceear ago. These areas are receiving additional study.

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In general, our considerations for establishing priority search areas--particularly for fixed-site medium-range missiles--wero the availability of adequate road nets and the suitability of terrain for the emplacement of the site and for masking or camouflaging it. econdary consideration was the availability of air defense protection with such weapons as theurface-to-air missile. (Seend HI)

Attachments: 3

ap of Photographic Coverageap of Priority Missile Search Areasationale for Search Area Selection

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Rationale for Selecting Search Areas for MRBMs in North Vietnam Priority 1: Thishort distance north and wost of Hanoi--ii given first priority because it already has excellent SAM and AAA defenses and good interceptor defenses, good rail and road facilities, forested areas for concealment, and suitable plain to hilly terrain. Priority 2: This area along the rail line from Hanoi to China is given second priority because of the rail transportation available and its location well inland andarrier of SAM, AAA, and interceptor defenses. It also has extensive forests for concealment and large areas of suitable terrain.

Priority 3; This area well north of Hanoi is given third priority because of its rearward position, good roads, extensive forests for concealment, and generally suitable terrain. This is the best area for defense by Hanoi's interceptors. Much of the northwestern part of this area is too mountainous to be suitable.

Prioritywo areas have been assigned fourthtrip of hilly country along the Mocai Chau road in tbe northwest)trip along the northeastern coast from Haiphong to the Chinese border. Except for the SAM-defer.ded Haiphong vicinity, these areas

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would be difficult to defend from air attack. They have good roads,generally suitable terrain and good opportunity forfor Selecting Saarch Areas for Tactical

.The areas for these missiles were selected entirely on the basis of weapons range.

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II. OXCART RECONNAISSANCE OPERATIONS PLAN

Tho required photographic coverage of North Vietnam will bo accomplished by tho OXCART vehicle oporatlng from Eadona Air Ease in Okinawa. This operating location at Kadena has boon prepared for OXCART operation for some tloo.

Operational missions will be planned, directed and controlled by tho Central Intolllgonce Agency Operations Center. Throe OXCART aircraft and tho necessary task forco personnol will be deployod from Areao Kadona.

Vlth thisinimum ofuccessful operational missions per month can be flown consistent with available woathor. Overcast skiesredominate feature associated vlth the monsoon season and limit tho number of days suitablo for effective photographic reconnaissance. As tho monsoon season wanes, tho number of clear days increases permitting moro frequent, repetitive roconnalesance coverage. Missions will bo launchedwenty-four hour alert basis. This will pormlt maximum utilization of tho favorable weather available. In addition to the operational missions flown, necessary tost and proficiency sorties will bo flown from Kadena. OXCART aircraft will be

maintain tho required number of operationally roady aircraft at Kadena.

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Project OXCART has beenapability to deploy to Kadonn and to launch the first operational mission) days after approval of Implementation of this plan. Dopendo.it upon aircraft condition upon arrival at Kadena the first operational mission could be launchod on theth) day aftor approval. ays after approval is received tho supporting task force will be in placo, necessary logistical support will be airlifted and the supporting tanker aircraft will bo doployod. The OXCART aircraft will deploy on alternate days starting with theh) day after approval. Thi3 deployment schedule is included aso this plan.

Tho OXCART aircraft will bo flown non-stop from

ito Kadona with three aorial refuollngs enroute.will bo supported by tanker aircraft operatingAIB, California; Hickam AFC, Hawaii; and Kaduna AB.routo ia planned to provide for adequate fuolat designated recovery bases In the evont of arefueling or loss of one engine, Tho deploymentincludod as Attachment

a crisis situation dictate, an extension deployment route from Kadena for photographic coverage of

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Vietnam and return to Kadeha. Is possible. This would require two additional aerial refuelingsotal elapsed tiraoours andinutes.

typical OXCART operational mission from Kadena

with two aerial rofuolings enrouto is included as Attachment III.

Coverage of tho majority of thoefendedf North Vietnam northward from thot Demilitarized Zono is possible on one mission which will provide photographic ground resolutionsooteet. An enlargement of this typical route is included as Attachment IV. Flexibility of operation will permit several possible variations of this route to provide additional coverage of North Vietnam.

The OXCART vehicle Is virtually invulnerable tond other defensive systems in North Vietnam because of its high operational altitude, high speed and tho Electronic Counter Measures systems installed.

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black shield deployment schedule

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ATTACHMENT IV/PART II

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