RB-47E Overflight

This page is dedicated to one of the most significant pieces of history relating to RAF Fairford. The USSR Overflight by an RB-47E, flown by Major Hal Austin on the 8th May 1954.

The serial number of this aircraft remains a mystery to this day! 


Overflight Map (Chris Gibson)


A 30 day-deployment of eight RB-47E’s to Fairford and five supporting 91st ARS KC-97F’s to Mildenhall on 7th April 1954 received the mission name ‘Green Carter’. Wing records suggest that the deployment came as something of a surprise to the personnel involved and its official purpose was not explained to them until after their arrival in Britain. The RB-47E’s and their crews were drawn from the 322nd SRS (two), 323rd SRS (two) and 324th SRS (four) and they all arrived at Fairford on 8th April.

On the 6th May seven aircraft were launched on a mission towards the Barents Sea, turning back at Spitzbergen. This was to lull Soviet radars into thinking that the mission flown on 8th May, the final day of the TDY, would follow the same profile. On that day three RB-47E’s were dispatched to fly a similar route off Norway; two of them turned back before reaching the Russian coast but the third, that of Major Hal Austin, continued South to coast-in at Murmansk for a high speed reconnaissance run deep into the USSR, heading southeast to Arkhangelsk before turning southwest to exit Soviet airspace over Finland then Sweden and Norway. Austin and his co-pilot , Major Carl Holt, were later to describe a hair-raising flight during which they were subjected to repeated gun attacks from MIG 17 interceptors. Holt recounted up to ten aircraft firing, his own tail-guns being partially inoperative and the RB-47E taking hits in the port wing and fuselage. A 91st ARS KC-97F on strip alert at Brize Norton was launched to replenish its dangerously low fuel supply but, amazingly, the aircraft landed back at Fairford with relatively little damage and, on the face of it, was able to return to Lockbourne within a day or so. Wing records describe the redeployment as taking place between 9th and 12th May

This article in ‘Aeroplane Monthly’ February 1996 provides further information on the RB-47E overflight

Aeroplane Monthly Feb 1996


This article came from www.b-47.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Austin.pdf



This interview came from https://riversideca.gov/library/history_vet_austin.asp

Austin Interview