The Need for Speed: SR-72

Artists impression of the Lockheed Martin SR-72. (Image © Lockheed Martin Corp.)
Artists impression of the Lockheed Martin SR-72. (Image © Lockheed Martin Corp.)

Forget the SR-71 Blackbird and its lousy mach 3. In a few years time its successor, the SR-72, will take flight and reach speeds up to mach 6, according to Lockheed Martin engineers. The news of the SR-72 was published by major news networks, all hailing the great invention that was SR-71 and naming the new SR-72 ‘Son of Blackbird’.

The unmanned SR-72 is supposedly being designed with off-the-shelf materials, a method that was used before by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works in Palmdale on the F-117 Nighthawk, among others. The method would save a lot of money and lead to the aircraft being ready to fly by 2018 for a total of just 1 billion USD, said Lockheed Martin engineers in several interviews.

The development would mean the US is steering back to speed as an important strategic asset, as opposed to stealth. The new SR-72 would have to be able to reach any target on earth in just an hour.

Details of the new hypersonic spy plane project first came to light after Lockheed Martin’s and Boeing’s bid to develop a bid for the Pentagon’s new long-range bomber.

© 2013 AIRheads’ editor Elmer van Hest

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