Operation Blind Twinkler

International Operation Name: not applicable

International Operation Dates:  not applicable

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Region Name:  North America

Location:  Greenland

Canadian Operation Name: Operation BLIND TWINKLER

Canadian Operation Dates: 1962/08/23 to1963/06/25

Mission Mandate: to gather data on the use of infrared as a method of detecting intercontinental ballistic missiles in flight.

Mission Notes:

Op BLIND TWINKLER was run by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and the Defence Research Board’s Canadian Armament Research and Development Establishment (CARDE) in support of a request from the United States.  The aim of this operation was to establish the feasibility of using reflected sunlight techniques to detect ballistic missiles in mid-course. 

Operating from the United States Air Force (USAF) base of Thule, Greenland, 22 members of the RCAF and five civilian scientists from the CARDE were the initial contribution to the operation dubbed “BLIND TWINKLER”.  Two specially equipped CF-100 MK IV aircraft from the Central Experimental and Proving Establishment were used on the operation for phases I and II and a MK V aircraft for phase III.  Also operating out of Thule, this was the furthest north these aircrafts had ever operated.  The CF-100s flew a series of high-altitude missions focused on capturing data related to the unusual infrared background effects that were likely to be detected during the “sudden warming” that occurs at altitude in the Arctic each spring.

The CF-100s participated in the following flights:

Phase I: 23 August 1962 – 6 October 1962:

21 were successful missions; six flying days were lost due to adverse weather.

Phase II: 12 February 1963 – 23 April 1963;

40 flights were completed: 17 flights successful, 13 flights partially successful and 10 flights unsuccessful;

Phase III: 29 May 1963 – 25 June 1963:

72 missions were flown during this phase.


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