The CIA’s A-12 was Basically Obsolete Before it Could Fly

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The companion blog to this episode is over at Medium:

The Full Cold War Aerial Espionage Series!
Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:
Part 4:

Music: Dreamy Cosmos by Hakan Eriksson

Top and pants: Vixen by Micheline Pitt. Not sponsored or anything, I just love her and her company values and want to shout out an incredible brand! #dontshopfastfashion

  1. Gabriel Urias

    History well told, in great depth, and definitely worth the wait; And allowing the content facts to tell their own story respectfully even if it requires another video to do so is why I’m looking forward to the next one. Keep up the good work…. And, as usual, those bangs look great👍🙂

  2. Mico Mrkaic

    Yours is by far the best airspace history channel on YouTube. You do an amazing amount of research.

  3. Don R

    I probably wouldn’t have noticed it but I was stationed at Kadena AB, Japan and saw the SR 71 fly A LOT… The US pronunciation is Ka-Dean-ah Air Base. Just my Internet 2 cents :>) Keep up the good work!!!

  4. Clement Martinez

    In what order may I see all the grand sights? And where do I begin. Many thanks and stay safe and God bless.

  5. Tim Chuma

    The most important thing about these project is that they actually go into production but that military contractors get billions of dollars for the economy.

  6. galagachamp

    Great work, and thank you for making this! The A-12 and SR-71 seem crazier and crazier the more I learn about them. 🤯

  7. James Edington

    Yeah, but… it’s fast as fuck boiiiiiii

  8. Brian Day

    Thanks to you, I’m watching more History Channel. Love those documentaries that you do!

  9. Billy Todd

    Your amazing

  10. Mohammad Zuhair Khan

    Love the content! However, it would be much appreciated if you could add Closed Captions.

  11. The Centralist

    I’d just like like to say you’re very beautiful.

  12. K Roberts

    Great part 1. But the old div recce soldier in me kept cringing every time you pronounced reconnaissance with a loooooong second ‘a’. :) I think I’ll have to make a drinking game out of part 2!

  13. Rog

    I’ve missed seeing your beautiful self, and equally missed your content ❤️

  14. GoSlash27

    The answer to your question is “yes”. The A-12 Oxcart was necessary because Corona was still unreliable and we had a need for strategic photo recon that the U-2 couldn’t handle. Even in the later decades when Corona and Keyhole had worked their bugs out, satellites were still too predictable and easily fooled to bank on without verification. The Archangel aircraft overflew every hot spot in the Cold War and brought back vital intel, stuff you can’t get from satellites.

  15. Nick Thompson

    Can hardly wait for part 2.

  16. Alan Harris

    Holy crap, I just now heard your Canadienne accent…Ontario? (Californian here who has been throughout the commonwealth for various reasons)

  17. Nicholas Baum

    [slow applause] we want more! pweeeze!

  18. KANE

    Found your page through kaizo mario on twitch, glad I did… great video. Very informative

  19. John Wilhelm

    Your excellent work is appreciated! Thank you

  20. chifurbr

    did the MOL part get canceled like the program?

  21. lanesteele240

    38 min about the best jet ever, im down with this

  22. Ryan Feeheley

    I was TOTALLY wondering as the video was starting, if and when Mr. Pete was going to make an appearance!! 😂🤣😂

  23. Leandro

    It’s crazy we still have U2s to this day.

  24. Alex Wittenberg

    Hi Pete

  25. Midwestdoug36

    Wait, so did the guy get the girl?? Can’t wait for the next part!!!

  26. Jim Bulgerin

    I would like to know more about the Aerobee sounding rockets. Do you think there is enough history to make a good video?

  27. Buzz Beurling

    Yes but it was gorgeous 😍😍😍😍😍

  28. AKIRA 408

    She’s cute 😀

  29. Philippe Pariseau

    A thoroughly researched piece (as usual Amy) on my favorite plane. Can’t wait for part 2. Best regards from Montreal!

  30. G. Brent Wilson

    Nice job!

  31. Muad'dib2288

    What new information is in the paperback? I’m reading the hardcover right now

  32. Von Paraz


  33. Martin Jørgensen

    Great video Amy. Love that you are branching out. Spy planes are very fascinating.

    “Loving” all the comments from the armchair historians who retroactively know better than everyone ever did back then, or even know.

  34. johnkwebb1

    Are you ever planning on coming to the UK to do a presentation?

  35. root9065

    Glad you didn’t give up on the channel :)

  36. Gerbill742

    Wonderfully done!

  37. PalimpsestProd

    That’s ok, Amy, I need to be broken into 2 parts to be properly understood too.

  38. DSC

    A great plane that had no job after all.

  39. zambot3

    We needed it ! It flew many years! Cloud cover beats all cameras anyway.

  40. Jared Snyder

    Thank you Amy. My father was an engineer at P&W during this time period. He also went on a trip to USSR in 1962.

  41. Steven Clarke

    Sorry I forgot to mention, say hi to Pete , looking dapper as always.

  42. Steven Clarke

    Hi Amy, love you videos , it’s a subject that I’ve always been interested in, but it’s difficult to find people who share the same passion. I’ve just read your book “breaking the chains of gravity “ great work as always, a good read, thanks.

  43. Bitchute is better than Y

    Renaming it Area 51 really took the shine off it. If they stuck with the old, friendlier names i cant imgine many people would know of it now

  44. TheCimbrianBull

    Pete the Astro Cat would have made the perfect A-12 pilot. Fact! 🐈

  45. Chris Vogtmann

    Reconnaissance pronounced differently.. have I been wrong all along like how she explained the correct pronunciation of Gemini in regards to the space program? Or is that just a regional difference with reconnaissance? Lol

    It sticks out so strongly for me, I’m born and raised in Michigan.

    Not trying to be mean, or make fun, just curious lol

  46. Tim

    Amy’s videos provide better quality content than anywhere else. She’s eloquent and presents a clear explanation of the facts while making everything so interesting. The Vintage Space channel needs to be syndicated on the Discovery Channel or on mainstream TV. I always make sure to give her videos a smashing LIKE and thumbs up. Everyone needs to remember to give her credit for all her impeccable work.

  47. unsmartnerd


  48. Lou Ferrao

    I love the graphic and hello to Pete! What a cutie.

  49. wldtrky38

    Awesome upload !! Thanks Amy 👍👍

  50. Emperor Xander

    You’re so pretty and smart. Keep up the wonderful work!

  51. James Marshall

    awesome videos

  52. Rebecca Campbell

    The Mig25 Foxbat doesn’t seem that crazy anymore, on the contrary
    History gives credit to the SR71 Blackbird, I know it he he… but I’ll be waiting for part 2

  53. Hamish Barker

    great video, learned a lot, very entertaining and full of the dollar details.

  54. Vincit Veritas

    Another great and informative video
    Thank you Amy👍

  55. Petr Stuchlý

    This was so well prepared and so we’ll put together. Fantastic narration as well. Great work all around!

  56. Andrew Lawton

    Another great video. I love this series.

  57. Jayson Spain

    How is it I’m subscribed yet never get a notification of your vids?! I hate yt sometimes…. Amazing vid as always tho!

  58. Francois Lacombe

    Am I right to believe that much of the titanium used in those planes came from the Soviet Union through rather complex chains of indirect procurement?

  59. Nikolai

    There are two people on YouTube who are able to hold my attention throughout the video: Amy Shira Teitel and Scott Manley. They show what it’s like to make a video with passion and a desire to share it with your audience. Please never become those individuals asking for likes or subscriptions. Keep doing it with your heart, and even if you don’t get countless compliments, know that a hell of a lot of people admire your dedication.

  60. Jack

    Great work Amy, looking forward to the next installment!

  61. Delivery McGee

    I know it’s just a regional accent thing, but your pronunciation of “reconnaissance” (wow, I spelled it right first try :D ) sounds so weird to me.

  62. Clyde Cessna

    Amy triumphs again.

  63. Captain Robert April

    While I was in the US Air Force in the mid 80’s, we’d hear stories about a little something called Project Aurora, that had already rendered the SR-71 obsolete. Amongst the tales was one about an SR-71 being passed like it was standing still, with only a quick radio message, “Don’t worry, we’re friendly.”

  64. Beez

    I love the content and appreciate the amount of research you do!

  65. Primus54

    Thank you, Amy. As usual, your information is thorough while being entertaining. Hopefully we won’t have too long to wait for the final episode! 😉

  66. YankaRonin

    Love how you mention Myasishchev Design Bureau. That place held, IMO, the most advanced spacecraft project of their time (and possibly all of the current space era), M-19, or Gurkolyot. It was, reportedly, discontinued due to it “having no competition”, as the design was like half a century ahead of its time. They had functional mockups and good tech documentation by the early 1980s. Instead they settled for a Space Shuttle lookalike.

  67. David Baker

    I would’ve signed it off anyway-just for looking so off-the-scale awesome!

  68. Dave the Pear


  69. J D

    Are you CIA?

  70. Mark Bell

    I love this as it’s content I’m fascinated by, presented by someone I’m fascinated by.

  71. Jake Aikens

    A little Pete tail trolling there. Lol

  72. Geremy

    Good to see you again :)

  73. Hey Siri

    Can’t believe this documentary is free! Thank you so much Amy!

  74. Paula Bean

    I like your videos. They’re so well-researched, and well-presented!

  75. Jay Daniels

    Thank you for the content. Your awsome!

  76. Sean C

    Imagine how mind-blowing it would be if this information were in a Discovery channel documentary like twenty-five years ago. Since at that time it was speculation and fuzzy details.

  77. ROLEX 8000


  78. Jonny five

    Any chance you would do an episode on all of the art behind you? I’m always interested by it.

  79. Mats Ormhed

    Interesting video!

  80. Rich

    Military aircraft are always obsolete in some form by the time they enter service. Operating them at all is an exercise in obsolescence management.
    Is it a useful tool? Yes? Then use it. Success.

  81. Shadow warrior

    “But The CIA Disagreed” 😂

  82. FandersonUfo

    Avro Arrow please Amy – 🛸👽💚🍁

  83. Awesomus Maximus

    You always put out great content Thank you Amy

  84. H Q

    Hopefully, if it is open, you know the covid, I’ll take a walk there and take some pictures

  85. Ernest Mesa

    I beg to differ it wasn’t necessarily obsolete, it was a different airplane it had a larger camera than they SR71 actually had better performance but the SR-71 had a larger payload capacity and in time had better reconnaissance sensors but photographic intelligence the A-12 was actually Superior in the in performance to the SR-71 but the A-12 had to directly over fly a Target

  86. Chris Bullard

    Amy, are you going to cover Eric Schlosser’s book and documentary “Command and Control”? It’s interesting how everyone lionizes defense decisions that, in reality, are like any other business decisions in a bureaucracy: compromises caused by poor judgement and groupthink.

  87. cgruttke


  88. Macht

    A10 > A12 lol

  89. Philip Berthiaume

    Very interesting…

  90. mars rizzo


  91. Caleb Hultberg

    The ZR-71 > everything else

  92. Ashley389100

    Hi Pete

  93. atjays

    Amy talking about my favorite plane?! YES PLEASE!! <3

  94. KlingonCaptain

    Weird, didn’t realize that there were different planes that look exactly the same.

  95. Hanno Zwicker

    Hi Pete…….and Amy !

  96. Dan M

    Oh hell yeah love the A-12 thanks Amy!

  97. Matt Jones

    Loving that you’re doing aerospace content Amy :)

  98. Joseph Shaw

    Never heard of the A-12 before.

  99. Gear Whine

    Hello Amy!

  100. StarGazer4001

    Hi Pete

Comments are closed.