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SR-71 replacement

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SR-71 replacement

Old 1st Nov 2013, 16:23
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SR-71 replacement

The Aviationist » Lockheed Martin?s Skunk Works reveals a Mach 6 strike successor of SR-71 Blackbird dubbed SR-72
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 16:50
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Hmm, I suspect the engine design may be challenging for that! A Mach 6 airframe is not outside the realms of possibility (it has been done before), but an air-breathing Mach 6 capable engine with a reasonable in-service life and sensible time between overhauls? Not so sure.

For Mach 6 cruise the jet efflux needs to exceed Mach 6, so you are looking at either very clever ramjets, scramjets or rockets, unless the US have managed to design and make an engine similar to the Uk Sabre air-breathing rocket engine concept. It will be interesting to see if this ever comes to pass...
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 17:05
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Lockheed Aurora.
Methane fuelled piggy back plane. Pulse detonation engine. Mach 5. Now retired. Ran out of RAF Machrihanish.

Last edited by Eclectic; 1st Nov 2013 at 17:06.
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 17:41
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In planform, it looks like the orbital shuttle in 2001.
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 20:02
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I was under the impression that improved capability satellites had meant a Blackbird successor was unnecessary.
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 20:36
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Now that satellites are obtainable targets on a scale not seen in the early 90's when the SR-71 was retired, I would think a bit of diversification is wise.

Who knows, perhaps the reasoning of sat coverage as a reason for the SR-71's retirement was a bit of disinformation.
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 21:31
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Long rumoured electic, but never proven.
Is there now any more solid evidence, aside from sightings of a few odd contrails, weird aircraft escorted by F111s and strange calls to air traffic controllers?
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 21:45
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Purely by co-incidence I have just this evening finished reading Rich Grahams 1996 book. We had Rich over for our first lecture of the season at the Cambs RAeS in September.

At the end of our lecture the obvious question was asked about the existence of the follow on projects. Now for someone as passionate about the SR71 programme he kept a straight face in dispelling the myth.

Lets hope the aerodynamicists and technologists have solved the unstart issue.

According to the book. the UAVs Global Hawk and Darkstar were the successors to the SR and U2 recognising the deficiencies of the satellites available at the time.
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 22:11
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Rocketdyne are revealing a little more information.
Lockheed and Aerojet Rocketdyne have developed a proprietary method to use an off the shelf F100 or F110 fighter engine, and accelerate it for short periods beyond M2.2 at which point the Scramjet lights (not surprisingly they won't reveal the ignition speed). They say they're ready to go, and all they have to counter now is the perception that hypersonics are unfeasibly expensive or too technically hard.
My boy met Rich Graham at Duxford next to the SR71 when he launched his book. It's still a spooky, alien looking jet in the flesh, even now.
Have devoured Ben Rich's and Bill Sweetman's books and followed hypersonic efforts for years, this is a very significant announcement.
Optionally manned, and optionally armed.
Imagine the challenges of weapon release travelling at 2kms a second.
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 22:28
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After years of silence on the subject, Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works has revealed exclusively to AW&ST details of long-running plans for what it describes as an affordable hypersonic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike platform
Yes of course they did. Black project teams are forever releasing details to magazines detailing what they're working on. Cue rolly eyes smiley.
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 22:36
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Mate - have a look at Lockheed Martin's website if you don't believe it.
Lockheed Martin · Speed is the New Stealth
Much in the same way that the SR71 and B2 were revealed - when the Company knew that a few reporters had found out - and decided to reveal the projects
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 22:40
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MQ-1, MQ-9 and RQ-170 provide some of the lost capability...and some...



The rest is probably picked up by X37...


Last edited by Lima Juliet; 1st Nov 2013 at 22:47.
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 22:54
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Mate - have a look at Lockheed Martin's website if you don't believe it.
Oh I do believe you that they've released something, I just don't believe they released anything more significant than some low, low level reasearch. This isn't an aircraft project at this stage, it's a concept and these get talked about all the time. If it were an aircraft project it wouldn't be released to a magazine.
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 22:58
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Long rumoured electic, but never proven.
I vaguely remember many moons ago reading in Flight that Aurora inadvertently got a mention in one edition of the US's Soviet Military Power journal, and that when the mistake was spotted the copies were hastily withdrawn from circulation.

Can't find any references to this little-known incident on the 'net, but then maybe these have been redacted too.
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Old 1st Nov 2013, 23:08
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Interesting.
Electic's suggestion it was piggy backed aka the D-21 is the first time I've heard that.
Maybe that North Sea oil rig worker who saw the F111's escorting something very strange all those years ago wasn't imagining things.
I have a copy of Bill Sweetman's Aurora book.
And the planform of Aurora he sketches out is almost exactly the same as the SR-72.
A waverider with 70 degree sweepback, chines, sharp wingtips.
Intriguing.

Last edited by tartare; 1st Nov 2013 at 23:08.
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Old 2nd Nov 2013, 00:02
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Originally Posted by tartare
Much in the same way that the ... B2 (was) revealed - when the Company knew that a few reporters had found out - and decided to reveal the projects
My strong memory (as an interested member of the non-US public) is that the existence of the Advanced Technology Bomber programme was well known a some time around the downselect between Northrop and Boeing competing designs was made in the early 80s.

The security was more around the detail of the designs themselves, not the programme or that an aircraft was being built.

Thyere is an often repeated story that the 1988 public unveiling of the B-2 at Palmdale went to some lengths to hide the planform because it was super-secret, except that those sneaky AvLeak jouros hired a Cessna and flew over the top because the dumb Guvmint had forgotten to close the airspace to civil traffic.

To me, that story doesn't stand up to lot lot of scrutiny, given that the following picture was taken from the public area on the day:



Note the star.

It's often difficult to differentiate between deliberate disinformation, genuine misunderstandings/mis-rememberings and active re-writing of history on this subject!
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Old 2nd Nov 2013, 00:13
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Originally Posted by tartare
Maybe that North Sea oil rig worker who saw the F111's escorting something very strange all those years ago wasn't imagining things.
Hmm, I'm more sceptical of his claim of an F111 being used as a chase plane/escort. Dodgy a/c recce if you ask me...



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Old 2nd Nov 2013, 00:30
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Yes, Aviation Week did have a photograph of the B2 from above. Described this way in Wikipedia:
The B-2 was first publicly displayed on 22 November 1988 at Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California, where it was assembled. This viewing was heavily restricted, and guests were not allowed to see the rear of the B-2. However, Aviation Week editors found that there were no airspace restrictions above the presentation area and took photographs of the aircraft's then-secret planform and suppressed engine exhausts from the air, to the USAF's disappointment.
I was a subscriber in those days, and saw the pix.
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Old 2nd Nov 2013, 01:10
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And yet MarcK, those pics aren't available, despite the planform of the B2 and the engine exhausts being far from secret for about what, 20 or more years now?

Last edited by Laarbruch72; 2nd Nov 2013 at 01:11.
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Old 2nd Nov 2013, 02:01
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No secrets any more

http://www.dept.aoe.vt.edu/~mason/Mason_f/B2Spr09.pdf

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