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Aircraft And Military Development & Applications
7-Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird
The Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" is a long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft that was operated by the United States Air Force. It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by Lockheed and its Skunk Works division. American aerospace engineer Clarence "Kelly" Johnson was responsible for many of the design's innovative concepts. During aerial reconnaissance missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes to allow it to outrace threats. If a surface-to-air missile launch was detected, the standard evasive action was simply to accelerate and outfly the missile. The SR-71 was designed with a reduced radar cross-section.
Maximum speed: 3,540 km/h (2,200 mph) Length: 107.41 ft Wingspan: 55.58 ft Passengers: 2 Introduced: 1966 Retired: 1998
The SR-71 Blackbird was an advanced Cold War-era reconnaissance aircraft developed by Lockheed in the 1960s. The program was known as a "black project," which meant it was highly classified. The twin-engine, two-seater aircraft was capable of outracing potential threats during reconnaissance missions, including being able to accelerate and out-fly surface-to-air missiles if it was detected.
The SR-71 Blackbird could accelerate to Mach 3.3 (more than 2,200 mph, or 3,540 km/h) at an altitude of 80,000 feet (24,400 m).
The SR-71 made its first flight in December 1964, and was flown by the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998. The Blackbird's performance and achievements cemented the plane as one of the greatest triumphs in aviation technology during the Cold War.
After its introduction in 1966 it has been used by both the USAF and NASA. 32 Blackbirds were built, all used for reconnaissance and experimental research. It featured stealth technology but if it was, against all odds, spotted by enemy forces, it could outrun the interceptors or surface-to-air missiles that was fired at it, due to its fantastic speed. The Blackbird was so fast that the air in front of it did not have time to escape, hence building up a huge pressure, and raised temperature. The temperature of the aircraft, which could reach several hundred degrees high, expanded the metal, hence it had to be built by too small pieces. Because of this, the SR-71 actually leaked oil when standing still. The Blackbird holds the record for manned, air breathing aircraft.
Crew: 2: Pilot and Reconnaissance Systems Officer (RSO)
Payload: 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) of sensors
Length: 107 ft 5 in (32.74 m)
Wingspan: 55 ft 7 in (16.94 m)
Height: 18 ft 6 in (5.64 m)
Wing area: 1,800 ft2 (170 m2)
Empty weight: 67,500 lb (30,600 kg)
Loaded weight: 152,000 lb (69,000 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 172,000 lb (78,000 kg)
Wheel track: 16 ft 8 in (5.08 m)
Wheelbase: 37 ft 10 in (11.53 m)
Aspect ratio: 1.7
Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney J58-1 continuous-bleed afterburning turbojets, 34,000 lbf (151 kN) each
Maximum speed: Mach 3.3 (2,200+ mph, 3,540+ km/h, 1,910+ knots) at 80,000 ft (24,000 m)
Range: 2,900 nmi (5,400 km)
Ferry range: 3,200 nmi (5,925 km)
Service ceiling: 85,000 ft (25,900 m)
Rate of climb: 11820 ft/m (60 m/s)
Wing loading: 84 lb/ft² (410 kg/m²)
Role: Strategic reconnaissance aircraft
National origin: United States
Manufacturer: Lockheed, Skunk Works division
Designer: Clarence "Kelly" Johnson
First flight: 22 December 1964
Retired: 1998 (USAF), 1999 (NASA)
Primary users: United States Air Force
Number built: 32
Developed from: Lockheed A-12
View from the cockpit at 83,000 feet (25,000 m) over the Atlantic Ocean:
The SR-71 served with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998. A total of 32 aircraft were built; 12 were lost in accidents and none lost to enemy action.
It has held the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft since 1976; this record was previously held by the related Lockheed YF-12
SR-71 pilot in full flight suit:
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