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Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird...The fastest plane in the World.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:15 pm    Post subject: Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird...The fastest plane in the World. Reply with quote

Haven't seen anything posted about this one, so...

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird... The fastest plane in the World.
The SR-71 was the world's fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft throughout its career. On 28 July 1976, an SR-71 broke the world record for its class: an "absolute altitude record" of 85,069 feet (25,929 m).[63][7][64] Several aircraft exceeded this altitude in zoom climbs but not in sustained flight.[65] That same day SR-71, serial number 61-7958 set an absolute speed record of 1,905.81 knots (2,193.2 mph; 3,529.6 km/h).

The Blackbird, code-named Oxcart during its development, flies on a tremendous 65,000 lbs. of thrust at an altitude of 100,000+ feet at Mach 3.5, and has a range of four thousand miles. That is not only four times faster than the U-2 but seven miles higher - and the U-2 was then the current high-altitude champion.
For a long time the Air Force claimed a maximum speed of Mach 3.2 and an operational ceiling of 85,000 feet, but we now know that the SR-71 can soar above 100,000 feet. Some military pilots claim altitudes in excess of 125,000 feet but this is probably stretching it a bit. Compared to the fastest jet fighter America had at the time, the SR-71 flew at least 60 percent faster than its maximum speed on afterburner.

Experimental rocket engines had flown this fast for only two or three minutes at a time before running out of fuel. But the Blackbird can cruise at more than three times the speed of sound, and fly coast to coast in less than an hour on one tank of gas. The aircraft can also survey more than 100,000 square miles of the Earth's surface in one hour. The Blackbird actually stretches a few inches during flight, due to the massive temperatures on its titanium hull. To many, the Blackbird is the epitome of grace and power, not to mention blinding speed.

Two other planes, the A-12 and the YF-12, could easiy be mistaken for the SR-71. The A-12 was the first plane developed out of the three. It is actually a host plane for the smaller, faster, and higher-flying D-21 drone, code-named Tagboard, which sat piggyback on the A-12 and used a ramjet engine once released for flight. The project was soon cancelled, however, due to a fatal accident, and the D-21 went on to use the B-52 as a transport host. The YF-12 was an SR-71 with an internal bay carrying three Hughes GAR-9/ AIM-47A air to air radar guided missiles, designed to shoot enemy airplanes flying at lower altitudes. Only three YF-12s were ever built.

As of 1st January 1997, two SR-71 air crews and planes were declared mission ready for the first time since the plane's retirement, seven years ago. In 1994, Congress appropriated funds to put two aircraft back into service, and these airplanes were taken out of storage, refurbished, and delivered to the USAF. (One was located at NASA's Dryden research facility and the other at the Skunk Works.) These two Blackbirds and their crews are now based at Edwards Air Force Base, though administratively, they are part of the 9th Recon Wing at Beale. These SR-71s are equipped with reconnaissance sensors, including the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar system that provides near real-time, all-weather, day or night imagery.

The SR-71 has seen much controversial debate over its true situation within the Air Force. On 6 March, 1990, the legendary SR-71 Blackbird was retired after Blackbird (serial number 64-17972) shattered the official air speed record from Los Angeles to Washington's Dulles Airport. The sudden discommissioning of the aircraft with little opposition from the USAF stirred controversy over the possibility of a successor aircraft, the Aurora.

Official reports said the supersonic spyplane was being retired to save the $200-300 million annual cost to operate the fleet in favor of advanced satellite systems. However, background research and reports suggest that it was no longer the zenith of the reconnaissance community. Reports of a highly-advanced hypersonic spyplane were growing every year. It wasn't until 1 July, 1994 when the Senate Appropriation's Committee added $100 million in funding to bring the three SR-71s back into operation that rumor speculated the hypersonic spyplane may be suffering problems.

However, this wasn't the end of the Aurora story. In January 1995, Popular Science published an article about a "revisionist Aurora". The A-17 Northrop stealth attack aircraft came to light. It is thought by many that the A-17 was actually the aircraft that was seen in formation by Chris Gibson over the North Sea in August 1989.

The SR-71 also holds the "Speed Over a Recognized Course" record for flying from New York to London distance 5,645 kilometres (3,508 mi), 1,435.587 miles per hour (2,310.353 km/h), and an elapsed time of 1 hour 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds, set on 1 September 1974 while flown by U.S. Air Force Pilot Maj. James V. Sullivan and Maj. Noel F. Widdifield, reconnaissance systems officer (RSO).[67] This equates to an average velocity of about Mach 2.68, including deceleration for in-flight refueling. Peak speeds during this flight were probably closer to the declassified top speed of Mach 3.2+. For comparison, the best commercial Concorde flight time was 2 hours 52 minutes, and the Boeing 747 averages 6 hours 15 minutes.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The planes were awesome...Speed , the attitude...
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

always loved this aircraft...........I still plan to build a model replica when the time allows

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i knew it looked familiar.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

UPDATE: Heads-up for the Lockheed SR-72...

The SR-71 Blackbird is one of history’s great aircraft. It was built during the Cold War in the early 1960s by Lockheed at its secret Skunk Works facility and flew from 1966 to 1998. With black paint covering its unprecedented titanium fuselage, it was designed as a reconnaissance platform capable of flying 2,900 nautical miles (5,400 km) at sustained supersonic speeds at an altitude of 80,000 ft (24,000 m).

The Blackbird could fly so fast and so high that it could literally outrun enemy missiles, and routinely did. Needless to say, it left interceptors far behind and of the 32 that were built, not one was lost to enemy action. It even grew stronger over the years because the heat generated in flight was so great that the titanium hull annealed.

The SR-71 was also famous for holding a raft of records. It was the world's fastest and highest-flying operational manned aircraft, reaching 85,069 feet (25,929 m) in sustained flight, and it still holds the speed record. On September 1, 1976, a US Air Force SR-71 Blackbird flew from New York to London in 1 hour 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds at a peak velocity of about Mach 3.2 (2,436 mph, 3920 km/h). To this day, no aircraft exists that can match its performance.

To the end it was still breaking records. After the Cold War ended, many SR-71s ended up in museums as the program was wound up. When one SR-71 was delivered to the Smithsonian Institution in 1990, it broke four speed records flying from Los Angeles to Cincinnati, Ohio.

The SR-72 will fly at Mach 6 (Image: Lockheed Martin)

The idea of a hypersonic replacement has been kicked around for years, and now Lockheed is working on the SR-72. Unlike its predecessor, the SR-72 will be unmanned, but it will be twice as fast with a cruising speed of Mach 6 (4,567 mph, 7,350 km/h).

The SR-72’s purpose is to provide the United States with not only a hypersonic recon platform, but also a strike aircraft as well. "Hypersonic aircraft, coupled with hypersonic missiles, could penetrate denied airspace and strike at nearly any location across a continent in less than an hour," says Brad Leland, Lockheed Martin program manager, 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 battle space today."

The SR-72 is the replacement for the SR-71 blackbird (Image: US Air Force)

According to Leland, a Mach 6 platform would not only leave very little time for an enemy to respond, but it also be a very effective way to launch hypersonic missiles. Since these wouldn't need a booster rocket when launched at six times the speed of sound, they can be of much lighter and simpler construction.

The key to the SR-72 is what Lockheed calls Turbine-Based Combined Cycle Propulsion, which incorporates Lockheed’s experience in building the HTV-2 hypersonic demonstrator that flew at Mach 20 (15,224 mph, 24,501 km/h) in tests. In this new system, the twin engines of the SR-72 are actually two engines in one. Each engine shares combined inlets and nozzles connected to two very different powerplants as a way to significantly reduce drag.

The upper engine is a turbine, which is used to power the SR-72 as it takes off from a conventional runway and accelerates it to Mach 3. Then the lower dual-mode ramjet takes over and accelerates the plane to Mach 6. The significance of this design is that Lockheed collaborated for seven years with Aerojet Rocketdyne on figuring out how to use an off-the-shelf turbine that could be incorporated into a hypersonic jet system.

In an interview with Aviation Week, which broke the story, Leland explained that the retirement of the SR-71 left significant gaps in the satellites, subsonic manned and unmanned platforms meant to replace it, which the SR-72 will fill. The article went on to point out that the SR-72 program is meant to dovetail with the Pentagon’s hypersonic research and weapons programs, which has dictated the timetable and many design parameters.

According to Leland, no new technologies needed to be invented for the SR-72 so a demonstration aircraft could fly by 2018, and the plane could be operational by 2030. “The demonstrator is about the size of the F-22, single-engined and could fly for several minutes at Mach 6,” says Leland. “It will be about the size of the SR-71 and have the same range, but have twice the speed.”
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