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SR-72 Blackbird successor of the SR-71

SR-72 Blackbird successor of the SR-71

The End of a Legend

The SR-71 Blackbird capable of speeds of up to 2,600 miles per hour was always considered to be one of the most fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft on the planet. So when the last aircraft of this series was finally grounded in 1999, it truly marked the end of an era.

The SR-71 Blackbird

However, recent news revealed that Lockheed Martin will be launching a new version of the SR-71 called the SR-72. This military aircraft will be the first unmanned vehicle of its class. The unmanned SR-72 planned to be introduced in 2030 will have a Hypersonic engine that will combine ramjets and turbines in order to achieve a speed of 4,500 miles per hour making it twice the speed of the SR-71.

About the SR-71 Blackbird

The Blackbird project began in 1962 and a total of thirty two, SR-71 were built by Lockheed Martin in a private facility called Skunk Work. The SR-71 was called the black project during its development; it was a Strategic reconnaissance aircraft, with a titanium fuselage that was painted completely black, and it was as known the world fastest Jet propelled aircraft, able to reach speeds of 5,400 km at altitude of up to 80,000 feet. Between 1966 and 1988 the SR-71 managed to break many world records and again broke four additional records in 1990 while flying between Los Angeles to Cincinnati. The SR-71 nicknamed the Blackbird, Habu, Lady in black and Sled, served the US air force between 1964 and 1998.

The Blackbird was an extremely unique aircraft. The heat generated by this aircraft was so great that it galvanized the titanium, making the plane go even faster. The SR-71 was so fast that it could out-fly missiles. In fact, it stayed completely unbeaten and not a single unit of the thirty two blackbirds were lost during their military missions, twelve were lost by accident. In 1974, the SR-71 completed the famous New York to London stretch in 1 hour and 54 minutes and still holds the record for being the fastest aircraft in the world. Due to political reasons the SR-71 Blackbird program was officially terminated on the 22nd of November 1999. The last flight of the SR-71 was on October 9th, 1999. Many are now on display in museums throughout the United States and one in England.

List of Museums where the SR-71 Blackbirds are on display.

  1. Pima Air Museum Tucson, Arizonia, USA
  2. AFFTC Museum Edward Air Force Base, California, USA
  3. Kalamazoo Aviation History Museum Michigan, USA
  4. Museum of Aviation Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, USA
  5. USAF Armament Museum Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, USA
  6. Castle Air Museum Atwater, California, USA
  7. Kansas Cosmophere and Space Center Hutchinson, Kansas, USA
  8. Imperial War Museum Duxon, UK
  9. Beale AFB Beale Air Force Base, California, USA
  10. Strategic Air and Space Museum Ashland, Nebraska, USA
  11. Barksdale Global Power Museum Louisiana, USA
  12. Virginia Aviation Museum Richmond, Virginia, USA
  13. Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum McMinnville, Oregon, USA
  14. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museums Chantilly, Virginia, USA
  15. Blackbird Airpark Museum Palmdale, California, USA
  16. March Field Air Museum March Air Force Base, Riverside,California, USA
  17. National Museum of the United State Air Force, Wright-Patterson Air Force, Ohio, USA
  18. Airman Heritage Museum Lackland Air Force base, San Antonio, Texas, USA
  19. Armstrong Flight Research Center Palmdale, California, USA
  20. Hill Aerospace Museum Hill Air Force Base, Northern Utah, USA

The Futuristic SR-72

The SR-72 is aiming to be twice as fast as its predecessor. Unlike the earlier version, the flight will be completely unmanned. It is expected to be able to cruise at a speed of Mach 6. The aim of building this plane is to provide the US with a Hypersonic aircraft that will be able to conduct reconnaissance flight missions as well as act as a strike aircraft.The SR-72 will be so fast that it will be able to strike any target around the globe within an hour.

Lockheed Martin manager for Hypersonic, Brad Leland believes that the speed of the SR-72 will give the USA a huge advantage. The SR-72 will need slight modification to be able to launch missiles at six times the speed of sound! Giving the enemies very little time to react. Brad Leland believes that the SR-72 will be fully operational by 2030.

Lockheed Martin unveils the new SR-72 Mach-6 spy plane

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