An SR-72

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.

5 Comments

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5 responses to “An SR-72

  1. Bill Brandt

    I think what finally but the SR-71 into mothballs was the fact that so much was unique to it – down to the tires made with aluminum. And building such a new plane to sustain human occupancy would take a lot of engineering resources and cost.

    Still one wonders if having a plane with no human pilot – able to make snap judgements (e.g. seeing something interesting just 5 degrees off – and veering over it ) – well, it’s a brave new world.

    It is a sleek looking craft.

  2. MadMarine

    I disagree on Kelly Johnson’s reaction. We now announce strategic reconnaissance assets 17 years before they are operational? Given DARPA’s problems with mach 6 flight, this comes across as empty bragging from the poor bum down by the river (on the part of Lockmart and DoD). Tell us about it in open source once you have it flying missions – that’s how Mr Johnson would want it.

  3. According to Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, the SR-72, has a twin-engine aircraft which is designed in such a way that it can fly at Mach 6.

    Source:Lockheed Martin SR-72 Specification & Technical Data

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