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Anigrand #AA2073 1/72 Myasishchev M-17 Stratosfera



 
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Kit #AA2073. 1/72 scale. This is a highly-detailed resin kit of the Soviet Myasishchev M-17 Mystic, complete with decals.

In May 1960, when an American U-2 spy-plane was shot down over Ukraine, America’s CIA stepped up use of an alternative reconnaissance vehicle – an unmanned balloon that, released from Allied territory, would be carried by prevailing jetstream winds completely across Soviet territory. The Soviet Air Defense Force, their PVO, found this stratospheric threat difficult to counter with existing technology. They directed the Myasishchev design bureau to develop an interceptor capable of reaching and destroying these high-altitude balloons. By way of Subject 34, nicknamed Chaika, this resulted in the M-17, NATO code-named Mystic-A.

The single-seat first prototype had an inverted gull wing, a single turbojet engine and a twin-boom design with high aspect ratio wings, and the plane was to be armed with two air-to-air missiles and two 23mm cannon mounted in a dorsal turret. This prototype was first flown in 1978, and crashed during a botched taxi test. However, when the Lockheed A-12 and later first-generation spy satellites replaced the balloons, the threat evaporated and the high altitude interceptor design was shelved.

The second prototype, built to a modified design and now called the Myasishchev M-17 Stratosphera, was first flown in 1982. As an ultra-high-altitude aircraft, which can reach 70,000 feet in 35 minutes, it was used for reconnaissance, aerodynamic and atmospheric research – and in flight, from above or underneath, it looks like a twin-boomed Lockheed U-2, reflecting their similar missions. In 1990, it set 12 international speed/ climb/ height records, several of which still stand. In 1992, the M-17 investigated the "hole" in ozone layer over the Antarctic. A later development was equipped with two turbojet engines and a revised airframe, and was known as the M-55 Geophysica, NATO code name Mystic-B. In this form, it set another 15 world records, all of which still stand.


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