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Lockheed C-121 Constellation


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The Lockheed C-121 Constellation or "Connie" was an improved version of the C-69.

The first postwar improvement to the civilian "Connie" was the longer-range L-749 of 1947 which the USAAF purchased as the C-121.  By 1949 the demand for air travel was increasing which resulted in the L-1049 Super Constellation with a longer fuselage and capable of carrying 109 passengers.  The L-1049 was in turn replaced by the L-1649 Starliner with a completely redesigned wing with a far greater fuel capacity.

Military applications included transport, VIP transport, airborne early warning, electronic countermeasures, reconnaissance and weather reconnaissance.  On Oct. 24, 1967 over the Gulf of Tonkin, an EC-121D (S/N 53-555) guided a U.S. fighter by radar into position to destroy a Mig-21. This was the first time a weapons controller aboard an airborne radar aircraft had ever directed a successful attack on an enemy plane.

When production ended in the late 1950s a total of 856 aircraft of all versions, civil and military had been built.  The "Connie" lived on for decades as an airliner and freighter in many smaller countries.

     
Specifications (C-121J)

Designations

 

 

 

Type: Transport
Engine: four 3,250 hp (2424 kW) Wright R-3350-91 turbo-compound radial piston engines
L-749: Lockheed designation of long-range L-649
L-1049: Lockheed designation for first Super Constellation
L-1649: Lockheed designation for improved Super Constellation renamed Starliner.  Redesigned wing and turbo-compound engines
C-121: USAF transport version
VC-121: USAF VIP transport version
PO-1: U.S. Navy patrol version
WV-1: U.S. Navy AEW version (aka "Willie Victor")
R7O: U.S. Navy transport version
R7V: U.S. Navy redesignated R7O
RC-121: Early designation of AEW version.  Changed to EC-121.
EC-121: ECM and AEW versions.  AEW versions were also known as the Warning Star.
     

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The Connie Group
79th & 966th AEW&C Squadrons
     

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Display Model:
1/72 scale
mahogany

Book:
Lockheed Constellation
Jim Winchester
 

 

 

 

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Kenneth W Shanaberger 2000 - 2010