Cruise at Mach 6 in a Lockheed Martin Skunk Works SR-72!

November 5, 2013, By Daniel Rapcencu

The once unknown super-secret Lockheed Martin Skunk Works is developing a new spy plane. Affectionately known as the Son of Blackbird by insiders, the new aircraft will be designed to fly higher and faster than anything made on this earth. The hypersonic aircraft will be used for strike capabilities as well as surveillance, intelligence gathering and reconnaissance.

Officially known as the SR-72, this spy plane is being built for the U.S. Air Force as an advances successor to the SR-71. Although the SR-71 (known as the Blackbird) was retired nearly 20 years ago, no replacement has publicly seen the light of day until now.

Artist conceptional drawing of the Lockheed SR-72

Artist drawing of the Lockheed Martin SR-72 – courtesy of Lockheed Martin

Secrecy is paramount at the Skunk Works, which is located near the famous Area 51, so it is anyone’s guess how many of the strange sounds and sights attributed to Area 51’s flying saucers and alien spacecraft were actually trial flights of possible Blackbird replacement designs.

The SR-72 will be a valuable tool in the Air Force’s arsenal. Just about every country that supports terrorism now has the capability to shoot down the existing spy planes. They also have knowledge of the positioning of spy satellites. It is quite easy to keep their would-be terrorists trainees hidden from sight just by looking at the satellite schedule while tracking the position of the movable satellites. Many a book and movie have demonstrated how terrorists avoid looking up to avoid facial recognition while the satellite passes overhead and equipment is moved before the satellites appear over the horizon.

Flying at 4,132 MPH (Mach 6), the SR-72 will be able to fly over countries so quick, that there will be no time to hide from the prying eyes of the cameras it will carry. Armed with hypersonic missiles, targets could be taken out before anyone could react.

Lockheed Martin is on track to show a demonstration SR-72 by 2018. Surprisingly, this is a timeframe for the reveal of a hypersonic missile which is in development.

Aviation Week has a great article with the details of the SR-71 Blackbird and the SR-72. Of particular interest is the HTV-3X scramjet engine capable of operating at speeds in excess of Mach 6. Too bad it is an unmanned craft, as I would really like a ride in it to visit the east coast in under an hour!

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