Even before the first operational flight of the U-2 spy plane, aircraft designers began work on the type's replacement. The result was the SR-71. First deployed on March 9, 1968, this tri-sonic 'hotrod' flew its first operational sortie over North Vietnam just 12 days later. Thereafter, the SR-71 roamed freely, capturing photographic, radar and electronic intelligence. This book examines the impact this aircraft had, not only on North Vietnam but during the Cold War as a whole, gathering information about the Soviet nuclear submarine fleet based in Vladivostok as well as the port's defenses, monitoring the actions of North Korea and flying four 11-hour, non-stop sorties into the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq War in the late 1980s.