Old heads and other aviation buffs remember Lockheed’s SR-71 with great fondness. That aircraft was unequaled where pure, absolute speed was concerned and she was beautiful, on top of that. So I read today that Lockheed-Martin’s Skunk Works is working on a follow-on aircraft, the SR-72.
Lockheed Martin Discloses Work on SR-72 Mach 6 Aircraft
Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works is developing an unmanned hypersonic strike aircraft called the SR-72 that’s designed to travel at six times the speed of sound—twice the speed of the company’s famed SR-71 Blackbird surveillance airplane, announced the company. The SR-72 could be operational by 2030, states the company’s Nov. 1 release. “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’s hypersonics program manager. “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,” he said. For the past several years, Skunk Works and Aerojet Rocketdyne have been developing a method to integrate an off-the-shelf turbine engine with a supersonic combustion ramjet to power the SR-72 from standstill to Mach 6, states the release. The SR-72 design leverages the company’s work on DARPA’s Falcon program, which flight tested the rocket-launched Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, states the release.
I’m thinkin’ Kelly Johnson would be proud.
Cross-posted (in part) from EIP.
From the Usual USAF Source
Declassified CIA Document Released on U-2, Oxcart
George Washington University’s National Security Archive last week released a redacted, declassified 1992 CIA document on the history of the U-2 and Oxcart reconnaissance aircraft programs that includes “a significant amount” of never-before-publicized details on them, according to the archive. Among them are: “numerous references” to the Air Force’s classified test site at Groom Lake, Nev., with a map of the area; and discussion of British participation in the U-2 program, U-2 operations from India between 1962 and 1967, and US-sponsored Chinese Nationalist U-2 operations. The CIA’s release of the redacted version of this document, The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance: The U-2 and OXCART Programs, 1954-1974, came in response to the archive’s 2005 Freedom of Information Act request. Some press reports last week made it seem like this document represented the first time that the US government publicly acknowledged the existence of the Groom Lake facility. That is incorrect, as US government recognition goes back at least to the mid-1990s by our count. (National Security Archive webpage on document) (See also Flying High and The Oxcart Story from Air Force Magazine’s archives.)
I’m working my way through the document at the web page link (above), beginning with the Oxcart section. It’s fascinating reading, especially about Convair’s proposed alternative to the Lockheed design. I never knew…
Here’s the table of contents:
Chapter 1 : Searching for a System
Chapter 2 : Developing the U-2
Chapter 3 : U-2 Operations in the Soviet Bloc and Middle East, 1958-1968
Chapter 4 : The Final Overflights of the Soviet Union, 1959-1960
Chapter 5 : U-2 Operations after May 1960
Chapter 6 : The U-2′s Intended Successor: Project OXCART, 1956-1968
Chapter 7 : Conclusion
Those links work.
(click for larger)
It hurt me to look at this photo, given my acrophobia. I can’t imagine climbing down from there… let alone climbing up.
From a tweet by Earth Pics. Re-posted from EIP.
… in that the majority of us already read The Duffel Blog. But here’s a sample, just in case the blog is new to you.
From The Duffel Blog…
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Officials from the Minnesota Department of Motor Vehicles have confirmed approval of a new policy making it mandatory for all active-duty and military veterans to register their status with the agency. The move will require all veterans to have a special “Vet” designation on their drivers’ licenses and state identification cards.
“We’ve seen what these savages are capable of all over CNN and MSNBC,” says DMV director, Greg Olson. “Out of all the millions of men and women who have deployed to combat zones this past decade, there are literally a dozen, perhaps even two, who have come home and committed atrocious acts. That’s way too big a chance. We can’t risk having these people hidden in our community and will be making sure they’re easily identifiable to law enforcement personnel and citizens in general.”
The new strategy will most likely result in changed police escalation-of-force procedure when dealing with veterans during routine traffic stops.
According to Olson, law enforcement officers will be given more opportunity to defend themselves against a perceived threat.
“Phase One will consist of the officer identifying an individual’s vet status on his or her driver’s license,” he says. “Once the officer realizes what he or she is dealing with, Phase Two will kick in and they will immediately unsheathe their pistol and drawdown on the potential psychopath. Then, at Phase Three, the officer will be given free reign to search the individual’s vehicle for weapons and dead bodies. If, and only if, the officer doesn’t find anything, then he will subsequently release the veteran and thank them for their service.”
Good stuff, Maynard.
* “others” includes a number of general officers, not the least o’ which is retired Marine Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis
Cross-posted from EIP.
From the Usual USAF Source
Final F-4 Regenerated for Use as Aerial Target
The final F-4 regenerated from storage in the Air Force’s aircraft boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., earlier this month departed the base for Mojave, Calif., for conversion to a QF-4 target drone, announced base officials. This RF-4C airframe, dubbed “Last One,” left Davis-Monthan on April 17, states the base’s April 19 release. “It’s a great feeling to see such a magnificent aircraft fly again to serve the warfighter,” said Eddie Caro, the crew chief assigned to the aircraft since December 2012. BAE Systems will convert the platform into the QF-4 configuration in California and then deliver it to Tyndall AFB, Fla. This airframe arrived at Davis-Monthan for retirement in January 1989 and had been dormant until technicians with the base’s 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group last year began restoring it to flying status, according to the release. The Air Force is transitioning
from the QF-4 to using QF-16s as its full-scale aerial targets. (Davis-Monthan report
by Teresa Pittman) (See also Three-Hundredth QF-4 Delivered
Filed under Plane Pr0n, USAF
Another page from this month’s issue of Air Force Magazine…
|Click to embiggen
Note the “Famous Fliers” section.
I like it, but I’m thinkin’ Daddy Hagel and his Navy command won’t.
H/t: a tweet/instagram pic from Iowahawk.
From the Usual USAF Source:
Anniversary of US Pullout from Vietnam
Forty years ago, on March 29, 1973, the last US ground troops withdrew from Vietnam, marking the end of direct US involvement in the Vietnam War. President Nixon addressed the nation that day, saying: “For the first time in 12 years, no American military forces are in Vietnam. All of our American POWs are on their way home.” The withdrawal came two months after the United States, South Vietnam, and North Vietnam concluded the Paris peace accords. They failed to bring peace as Saigon would ultimately fall on April 30, 1975, to North Vietnamese communist forces, ending the long conflict. (C-Span webpage
with video of Nixon’s address.)
For a selection of Air Force Magazine articles over the years on the Vietnam War, see:
Commissioned in Hanoi
Leaving No One Behind
The Lessons of Vietnam
Return to Vietnam
Stennis Slams McNamara
We were in Vietnam for 12 years… from 1961 until 1973. One of my very first… mayhap even THE first… war stories revolves around our involvement there and my relationship with the war. It’s September, 1963 and I’m in the end-game o’ basic training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, part o’ said end-game being spending a couple o’ days on the obstacle course, or whatever they call it now. My flight was taking a smoke break after spending a couple o’ hours running through mud, walking across logs, and climbing vertical obstacles when this fat Staff Sergeant TI (that would be Training Instructor, for you non-mil types) started barking at us. He said something that IMMEDIATELY caught our attention, to the effect o’…
“You Ladies better gotdamned well pay ATTENTION to what we’re teaching you here, coz you’ll NEED it when we send yer asses to Veet-Nam!”
“Veet-Nam?” sez one of my fellow airmen… not me… “What’s Veet-Nam?”
“We’re fightin’ a WAR there, Boy! So pay attention!”
We all looked at one another and silently mouthed “war?” What war? Who knew? The answer is that in 1963 damned few people in these United States knew we were at war in Vietnam but we… the members of my flight and the nation as a whole… would find out soon enough.
Cross-posted at EIP.
From the Usual USAF Source…
Group Aims to Return Vintage B-29 to Flying Status: A recently formed non-profit group aims to support the refurbishment of a World War II B-29 bomber named Doc and its return to flying condition, according to a release from the organization. “This airplane is a national treasure,” said Jeff Turner, chairman of the board of Doc’s Friends, formed by aviation enthusiasts and business leaders in Wichita, Kan. “We will not rest until we raise enough funds to restore Doc, find a permanent home, and operate Doc as a flying museum for the world to see,” he added. Group members believe that Doc is the last-known B-29 that is restorable to flying condition, states the March 11 release. Boeing built Doc in Wichita in 1944. Decommissioned in 1956, the bomber spent more than four decades in the California desert until aviation enthusiasts rescued it and brought it to Wichita in 2000. Doc’s Friends now has ownership of the bomber, which currently resides in hangar space donated by Boeing for the restoration work, states the release.
And there’s this, from the Doc’s Friends web site:
Good on ‘em. Fifi needs a running partner.
Filed under Airplanes, USAF