Danger Zone

Volume 1: US Clandestine Reconnaissance Operations along the West Berlin Air Corridors, 1945-1990

Kevin Wright

Split into two for decades between the late 1940s and early 1990s, Germany was the hottest ‘battlefield' of the Cold War.
Date Published :
February 2023
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Illustration :
90 b/w photos, 3 maps, 21 color profiles
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781804510254
Pages : 88
Dimensions : 11.75 X 8.25 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-Order


Split into two for decades between the late 1940s and early 1990s, Germany was the hottest ‘battlefield’ of the Cold War. Its western part was dotted by dozens of major military facilities of the reconstituted national armed forces, and those of the NATO allies, foremost the USA, Great Britain and France. Even more so, whole third of East Germany was under the control of the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and housed several dozens of major air and ground units. On the ground, the city of West Berlin – situated in the center of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), and the three occupation zones there controlled by the USA, Great Britain, and France, was connected to the outside world only via tightly controlled railways, waterways or autobahns. However, in the air, three ‘aerial corridors’ connected it with West Germany. Far away from high-profile intelligence-gathering operations – like those by Lockheed U-2s – several intelligence agencies of the USA, Great Britain and France exploited this fact to run clandestine operations along these corridors.

Principally conducted by adapted transport or liaison aircraft – which received a host of clandestine modifications – such operations often took their crews into the very center of what was perceived as the ‘danger zone’ by NATO: the airspace over some of the most sensitive Soviet military installations.

Danger Zone Volume 1, is the first comprehensive and in-depth study of intelligence-gathering efforts by aircraft operated by, or on behalf of, the US intelligence agencies. It provides a carefully researched review of the involved equipment, modifications, maintenance, flight operations, post-flight activities and the resulting intelligence analysis, set within the context of the unique situation surrounding West Berlin during the Cold War, and its air corridors.

About The Author

Kevin Wright is a regular contributor to aviation magazines (including ‘Aviation News’ and ‘Aeroplane’) and is an accomplished air-to-air photographer. He has a lifelong special interest in Cold War intelligence collection and produced numerous articles on related topics. Other recent publications include co-authoring a book, with Peter Jefferies, on allied intelligence collection along the Berlin Corridors. He taught international security and politics for over 15 years at universities in the UK and overseas. His PhD was on the role of expert communities in arms control policy making which became the topic of his first book. He currently lives in the Republic of IE - Ireland.

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