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Project Coldfleet

In May 1962 the Office of Naval Research and the CIA launched one of the most exotic and successful spy missions of the Cold War: the parachuting of two intelligence officers onto a hastily abandoned Soviet drift station on a deteriorating Arctic ice pack to collect data, and their retrieval using an experimental aerial recovery technique. This book, coauthored by one of those officers and a leading of CIA historian, offers a first-time description of the top secret mission. It combines page-turning adventure with a detailed inside look at the U.S.-Soviet race to conquer the Arctic at the height of the Cold War. Combating bureaucratic resistance, dwindling funds, untested equipment, and savage weather conditions, the small American team of researchers and intelligence specialists raced against time to take advantage of a rare opportunity to assess the Soviets' progress in meteorology, oceanography, and especially submarine detection - before the station disintegrated. The key to success was the Fulton Skyhook, a new technology designed to snatch the men from the ice on a 500-foot, balloon lifted line and reel them up into a specially outfitted B-17 bomber traveling at 125 knots. Based on station logs, after-action reports, and interviews with many of the participants, this one-of-a-kind account provides fascinating background on the participants, their special equipment, mysterious CIA aircraft and personnel, and Soviet and U.S. drift stations. The authors also place the mission in the perspective of the Cold War race to develop under-ice nuclear submarine operations and acoustic submarine detection capabilities.
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