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After a disastrous helicopter rescue mission to retrieve 52 diplomats taken hostage by Iran in 1979 was left burning the desert, the US turned to the Lockheed corporation to procure an aircraft that could overcome the original plan’s weakest link. In Operation Eagle Claw, the RH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter had neither the range or speed to complete the mission in a single stage. Instead, the follow-up, Operation Credible Sport, would call for the development of a fixed-wing aircraft that could takeoff and land in a soccer stadium in Tehran. To accomplish this, over 20 rocket engines would be strapped onto a modified C-130, boosting it to take off in as little as one-hundred-feet and allowing it to come to a complete standstill in the air before dropping on a dime in the middle of the playing field…

 

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