Meet SR-72, The Most Astonishing Airplane You'll Ever See

The SR-71 Blackbird was the most astonishing airplane ever made. Now it's being bested.

If you're anything of an aircraft enthusiast you'll know all about the SR-71 spy plane—it really was the most ridiculously advanced piece of flying technology, a legend in its own lifetime. If you're not an aircraft enthusiast, then read on because you'll still be impressed. Now is the moment to meet the SR-72, the future successor to the Blackbird—faster, higher, and more astonishing.

Revealed exclusively to AviationWeek by manufacturer Lockheed itself, the
SR-72 is also called Blackbird, and it's being developed to fill a gap in the military and intelligence gathering networks that satellites can't fix: Fast, safe, high-altitude surveillance that can flit to a danger spot anywhere on the planet in a jiffy. Or with a huge thundercrack of hypersonic booms actually, because the SR-72 is said to have innovative engines so it can fly at Mach 6, twice its predecessor's limit. Oh, and as well as all sorts of typical optical, radar, electronic, and other sensors it'll also carry weapons. The SR-72 could fly as a technology demonstrator as soon as 2018.

And if you're wondering what all the fuss is about, then watch the video of the SR-71 below. This aircraft was made with new materials that hadn't been worked into an airframe before, and it pushed the boundaries of manufacturing tech in ways that will have subtly influenced many pieces of consumer gear. It was the first slightly "stealthy" plane. It navigated by spotting stars and flew so fast it could outrun bullets and missiles. At top speed it could take a whole country's length to slow down.

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  • Youwillseemealothere

    I could not agree more with thestereobus. We, from outside the USA know that you guys are superior. But just because you invented those machines does not give you the right to fly around the world in other people's air space acting like gangsters!

  • Neon Frank

    You guys would be doing the same thing if it was the other way around, so let's cut the crapola, yeah?

  • thestereobus

    Very cool aircraft but geez, what jingoistic arrogance. From the video: "We called the shockwave that came across the ground the sound of freedom. Can you imagine that sometimes we were tasked to overfly foreign ceremonies? To boom heads of state when they were greeting each other to remind them that they were doing things that were counter to US policy?"

  • Repeal the 16th Amendment

    One of the most elegant and powerful maned aircraft ever built and flown in the world. Proudly made in the USA by US engineers, scientists, and machinists. The very culture that Obama wants to fundamentally change. If only we could have overflown his swearing in ceremony to remind him that he too is doing things that are harmful to the USA.