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  1. #1
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    Default Lockheed Martin's Skunkworks to build successor to SR-71 Blackbird

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    A new hypersonic spy plane is coming from the company that helped invent the technology -- and this one will fly six times the speed of sound.

    Dubbed the SR-72, or Son of Blackbird, the new unmanned spy plane is under development at Lockheed Martin’s famed Skunk Works division, where some of the company’s most advanced projects have been developed. It will be the successor to the famous SR-71, which the U.S. Air Force operated for decades but retired almost 20 years ago.
    Lockheed built the Blackbird in the early 60s after Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane was hit by surface-to-air missiles over the Soviet Union, a Cold War crisis that revealed the real need for faster planes and better spy capabilities. Built and tested at Groom Lake in Nevada -- right around the corner from Area 51 -- the Blackbird was designed to fly far faster than anything else around, maintaining speeds in excess of 2,000 mph.

    - Brad Leland, Lockheed Martin program manager for hypersonics

    The SR-71 was flown from New York to London in less than two hours in 1976 by U.S. Air Force crews, reaching speeds exceeding Mach 3 and setting world records that have held up for nearly four decades.
    But Son of Blackbird? The SR-72 should make its aging ancestor look like a Sunday driver out taking in the fall foliage.
    “Hypersonic aircraft, coupled with hypersonic missiles, could penetrate denied airspace and strike at nearly any location across a continent in less than an hour,” said Brad Leland, Lockheed Martin program manager for hypersonics. “Speed is the next aviation advancement to counter emerging threats in the next several decades. The technology would be a game-changer in theater, similar to how stealth is changing the battlespace today.”
    The plane would achieve those mind-numbing speeds through a new engine designed in partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne; the two companies have been working for seven years on a technique to integrate air-breathing "scramjets" with turbine engines, Lockheed’s Brad Leland told AviationWeek.
    “We have developed a way to work with an off-the-shelf fighter-class engine like the F100/F110,” Leland said. The plan builds off a conceptual design called the Blackswift created in recent years. That plane never succeeded, but the design proved viable.
    “It was controllable and kept the pointy end forward,” Leland said.
    An SR-72 could take years to be realized, however. The path calls for a demonstration model that would fly by 2023. Working planes could arrive by 2030, boosting U.S. military secrecy and might not through anti-radar coatings and invisibility but by sheer speed.
    “speed is the new stealth,” Al Romig, Skunk Works engineering and advanced systems vice president, told Aviation Week.
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    serpa6 (11-04-2013)
  3. #2
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    Nice post jamie but why the fuck do they build these new ones when they have the technolgy already proven They say to retool and all that crap they would save money if they bought new Now with all planes that have come out they are way to expensive they should build on already proven aircraft Look at the b-52 the a 10 the only plane i see replacing anything that is in our inventroy is the b-1 for the b52 The dam 117 is already our of service it did not have a long life at all pretty soon the b-2 spirit will meet the same fate If they where to retool and rebuild brand new say f-15s f-16s f18 I bet two of the planes would be cheaper then this thing
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  4. #3
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    Well, tech wise, it would be a superb plane, but why? IT's expensive as hell and its job is done by modern spy satellites already. I just don't see the need for it.

    As for speed, rocket technology is not standing still either, by 2030 there will be something flying as fast as well.
    Last edited by MadeInRu; 11-06-2013 at 03:19 AM.
    Welcome to my home country - Planet Earth!

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    serpa6 (11-06-2013)
  6. #4
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    I thought the same thing MIR. Something tells me this will NOT be a Spy-plane or jet for that matter... at all.

 

 

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