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Blackbird SR-71

Blackbird SR-71
Blackbird SR-71
Speed (km/h)3,529

The Lockheed SR-71'Blackbird' is a long-range, high-altitude, Mach 3+ tactical reconnaissance aircraft developed and manufactured by the American aerospace firm Lockheed Corporation. It was operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) and NASA.The SR-71 was developed as a black job in the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft during the 1960s by Lockheed's Skunk Works division. American aerospace engineer Clarence'Kelly' Johnson was responsible for lots of the aircraft's innovative concepts. The form of this SR-71 was based on that of the A-12, which was one of the first aircraft to be designed with a reduced radar cross-section. At one stage, a bomber variant of this aircraft was under consideration, before the program was focused solely on reconnaissance. Mission equipment for the reconnaissance role included signals intelligence sensors, a side-looking airborne radar, and a photograph camera; the SR-71 was longer and thicker than the A-12, allowing it to hold more fuel in addition to a two-seat cockpit. The SR-71 designation was attributed to lobbying efforts by USAF Chief of Staff General Curtis LeMay, who preferred that the SR (Strategic Reconnaissance) designation over just RS (Reconnaissance). The aircraft was introduced to operational support in January 1966. During aerial reconnaissance missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes (Mach 3.2 and 85,000 ft, 25,900 meters) to allow it to outrace threats. If a surface-to-air missile launch was discovered, the typical evasive action was simply to accelerate and outfly the missile. On average, each SR-71 could fly once per week due to the elongated turnaround required after mission recovery. A total of 32 aircraft were built; 12 were lost in accidents with none lost to enemy action. During 1988, the USAF retired the SR-71 largely because of political reasons; several were temporarily reactivated during the 1990s before their second retirement in 1998. NASA was the last operator of this type, retiring their cases in 1999. Since its retirement, the SR-71's role was taken up with a combination of reconnaissance satellites and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); a proposed UAV successor, the SR-72 was under development by Lockheed Martin, and scheduled to fly in 2025. The SR-71 was given several nicknames, including'Blackbird' and'Habu'. As of 2020, the SR-71 continued to hold the world record it set in 1976 for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft, previously held by the associated Lockheed YF-12.

Source: Wikipedia