Strategic SIGINT Targeting of The USSR
In the fifties, only aircraft platforms could obtain SIGINT over the USSR. A Soviet source pointed out that aircraft were of limited usefulness, due to being vulnerable to fighters and antiaircraft weapons. (Translator's estimate: in the period 1950-1969, about 15 US and NATO reconnaissance aircraft were shot down over the USSR, China, the GDR and Cuba). The US, therefore, undertook the WS-117L reconnaissance satellite project, approved by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954, within which was a signal intercept subsystem under Project PIONEER FERRET. By 1959, WS-117L had split into three programs:
The first experimental ELINT package would fly aboard a photoreconnaissance satellite, Discoverer-13, in August 1960. Translated from the Russian, it was equipped with "Scotop equipment was intended to record the signals of Soviet radars which were tracking the flight of American space objects."
Read more about this topic: Signals Intelligence In The Cold War
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