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Paul Hair is a national security expert and an author. He writes under his own name and as a ghostwriter. Connect with him at http://www.liberateliberty.com/. Contact him at paul@liberateliberty.com.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The OXCART Family and Pop Culture

One of the main purposes of this website is to show how culture and security intersect. Sometimes this comes in the form of how a declining culture negatively affects security. But it also comes in the form of simply showing how the two intersect in positive or neutral ways.

Last week I published, “What Really Happened at Smolensk?” which included a few comments from retired CIA Scientific Intelligence Officer Gene Poteat.

One of the projects that Poteat worked on during his CIA career was the OXCART family of stealth aircraft.

OXCART might not mean much to those outside the defense community; it might not mean much to those outside the intelligence community.

But one of the last variants of aircraft to emerge from OXCART will probably ring a bell with many more people: the SR-71 Blackbird.

In fact, the CIA website says that, “The best known version of the A-12 (above right) is the SR‑71 Blackbird (above left), whose nickname has become eponymous with the entire set of OXCART variants.”

The popularity of the Blackbird means that it appears in pop culture every now and then.

Below is a video of it as it makes an appearance in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen as the character, Jetfire.

The Blackbird has featured so prominently in the X-Men comic book and movie franchise that it essentially is part of the X-Men canon. (Although it has taken on different names over the years, with one such name being the X-Jet).

Screen Grab of the Blackbird as it appears in,
X-Men: First Class (20th Century Fox/Marvel Entertainment)
(On a side note, the X-Men seem to be a bunch of creeps. The X-Men started with Charles Xavier manipulating parents into sending him their kids ostensibly so they can attend his boarding school. Yet when they get to his school for “gifted children,” he secretly trains them in combat and subsequently has them go to war. Xavier and the X-Men would appear to have a lot in common with Islamic terrorists. I wonder if anyone else has ever noticed this.)

But back to the main point.

One of the latest appearances of the Blackbird in pop culture is in the Call of Duty: Black Ops video game.

Screen Grab of the Blackbird as it appears in,
Call of Duty: Black Ops. (Activision Publishing, Inc.)
And we probably haven’t seen the last of the Blackbird in entertainment.

The Blackbird has a unique place in the defense and intelligence worlds, and its history has appealed to pop culture, giving it a legendary status in that world as well.

It’s a perfect example of how security and culture intersect.

And the Gene Poteat interview is a perfect example of how S&CI focuses attention on this intersection.

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