The September 2016 issue of Air Force Magazine includes a feature on Ramenskoye, a former Soviet Union flight test center located outside of Moscow. The test center began operation in 1952 and housed new Soviet military aircraft. Shortly afterward, the United States began a reconnaissance mission on the location.
The article chronicles how imagery analysis played a critical role in gathering intelligence on Ramenskoye, highlighting photography taken from U2 spy planes in addition to satellite imagery. Those images helped to reveal objects hidden under canvas coverings and confirm details of Soviet aircrafts.
According to the article, Ramenskoye was listed as one of the highest priority targets for the August 1960 CORONA project. CORONA—the first imaging reconnaissance satellite—was created by a small group of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Air Force, and private industry experts tasked with finding a way to provide broad imagery coverage of the USSR to identify missile launch sites and production facilities. The CIA described Ramenskoye as the most important flight test center in the USSR. In May, the flight test center was converted into Russia’s new Zhukovsky Airport.
Read the Air Force Magazine article here.
Photo Credit: National Archives via GlobalSecurity.org