Mystery Airplane

Blog Post
This is your Sunday Sermonette. Lest you think that I’m reaching, my philosophy has always been, the higher the altitude, the closer to God.

Identify the mystery airplane, should you wish to hazard a guess.


  • It is a military aircraft
  • The pilot, standing to my right, is an old friend from SDVT-1* days when I was young, he was younger still, and I was his boss. Now he’s the boss and I’m a relic. Circle of Life (more sermonette)
  • Yes it is an Army aircraft, he took an Army commission and left the Navy.
  • This aircraft has flown on many low intensity conflict missions as well as higher intensity missions (Iraq and Afghanistan)
  • To “win” (and you don’t win anything except the distinction of identifying the aircraft), you need the designating military number (i.e. P-51) and the name (i.e.) Mustang. No, it’s not a P-51 Mustang. That was only an example.
* SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team One, DDS Platoon. 

Stock photo of Mystery Airplane
Yes, I spent some time horsing around with the airplane. Flying around and being cool. The aircrew was in civilian clothing and so was I. 

We discussed the relative merits of flying this airplane and locking out of a Dry Dock Shelter in a MK-8 SDV. We think that the DDS lock out is cooler than flying, though they both incorporate some of the same skills. The sermonette and Mystery Airplane contest is over. Let’s get back to the US Navy (world’s finest Navy).

Locking out on a Dry Dock Shelter with a MK-8 SEAL Delivery Vehicle (photos below)

A dry dock shelter (DDS) sits on the back of a nuclear submarine and carries
a MK-8 SEAL Delivery Vehicle.

Photos from USS Cavalla (no longer in commission – much like your blogger)

16 thoughts on “Mystery Airplane

  1. Which boomer with the DDS? I know Sam Houston (SSBN609) had one after it became a slow attack. She was my qual boat.

  2. RC-12 Huron. or Guardrail. King Air from 'I Spy'. Not a clue about the grey boat that sinks and refloats.

  3. The photos of the DDS were taken on the USS Cavalla (SSN-684), a Sturgeon Class. The were taken in the Sea of Cortez.

    The photo of the boat at the dock is not the Cavalla, it's a 688 Class boat. The first DDS's went on Permit and Sturgeon class SSN's. I think that USS Parche a 594 Class/Permit, was one of the very first to be equipped for a DDS and was one of the last of the 594's in service.

  4. The RC-12's are in the process of being phased out and are being replaced by the MC-12 Liberty, also based on the Super King Air.

  5. Parche was a highly modified 637. And the boat with the DDS picture at the pier is definitely a boomer. Note missile hatch cover hinges along STBD side.

  6. Missed that, you're right. I don't know which SSBN that is. For some reason, I thought that it was a 688 when selecting a photo for the blog post.

  7. I was gonna say RC-12, built on the Beech King Air frame and flown by the Army. I know it because I spotted two on the ground at an eastern WV airport a year or so back and got intrigued. But it appears that I'm late with the answer.

  8. Late, but correct. They're pretty cool. With the equipment racks, they are crowded inside and there is usually a port-a-poddy in the back, but they do lack in comfort during long missions. I have heard that the MC-12 Liberty has an actual head in the back, which would be luxurious indeed.

  9. I'll have you know life was hard at that time. I once had to go to work without a beer because the house-boy forget to but any. But we forged on.

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