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 Definition A United States Air Force aircraft for collecting measurement and signature intelligence, primarily on foreign missiles. A COBRA BALL aircraft can be converted to a RC-135 RIVET JOINT. [d] [e]
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 Workgroup category Military [Categories OK]
 Subgroup categories:  Measurement and signature intelligence, United States Air Force and Intelligence
 Talk Archive none  English language variant American English

Is there some reason the aircraft's name is ALL CAPS? Is that the usual orthography, or only the occasional usage? I clicked through on notes 1 and 2, and I noticed that "Cobra Ball" was used more than "COBRA BAR" in the note sources...

It makes sense with Radar MASINT since that's an acronym, by the way--but, again, not RC-135 RIVET JOINT... --Larry Sanger 19:28, 4 July 2008 (CDT)

I am guilty of not being consistent, but the military regulations on CODE NAMES (i.e., two-word references to something) state they should be in all caps. No, it doesn't make a lot of sense, but that is the convention. I'll dig up the regulations if you like -- IIRC, there are both Department of Defense and individual service regulations. There are nuances between NICKNAMES and CODE NAMES.
The regs themselves are somewhat inconsistent with practice, in that code names are supposed to be unclassified but nicknames are classified. For example, to use something declassified, the term BYEMAN identified the operations of the intelligence satellites run by the National Reconnaissance Office. When it was in effect, writing out BYEMAN in full produced SECRET information (yes, classifications are supposed to be all caps). If you looked in the Defense Department phone book, the DIA office that administered BYEMAN access was listed as "B policy". What BYEMAN meant, however, was TOP SECRET.
In G. Gordon Liddy's hysterically funny (much to my surprise) autobiography, Will, he speaks of a security briefing where "the first letter of the term was SECRET, the nonsense word was TOP SECRET, and the information it protected could be given by God the Father to the Holy Ghost only on a need-to-know basis."

The two-word CODE NAMEs come from a randomly generated block, but the alphabetic range often does identify the organization that owns them. C and R were Headquarters, U.S. Air Force. COBRA were measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT), RIVET was communications intelligence, COMBAT was communications intelligence, and SENIOR was either imagery intelligence or something the U-2 carried. These are first-words with unclassified meanings; there are lots that simply say (meaning classified).

Howard C. Berkowitz 19:43, 4 July 2008 (CDT)

Howard C. Berkowitz 19:43, 4 July 2008 (CDT)