HomeHistory and StudiesCenter for the Study of National ReconnaissanceD-21 Program

Center for the Study of National Reconnaissance

On March 21, 2019 the Southern Museum of Flight hosted historians from NRO’s Center for the Study of Reconnaissance in a public event about the D-21 drone recently unveiled in the museum’s new Cold War wing. The reconnaissance drone is a long-term loan to the museum from NRO. The event coincided with the release of recently declassified NRO documents about the drone program. The D-21 program foreshadowed the unpiloted aircraft of the 21st century. It was carried and launched from a modified A-12 CIA high-performance reconnaissance aircraft and then later from a modified USAF B-52.  Born of the Cold War, the D-21 tested the limits of technology available in the time period as a way of collecting reconnaissance imagery over denied territory.

 

Photos below courtesy of the Southern Museum of Flight: 

Drone 21 display

Drone 21 display