Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Plane

Discover the incredible story of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird plane, a strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed for the United States Air Force. Explore this iconic aircraft’s history, technology, and legacy with PlaneHistoria.

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird was a strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed for the United States Air Force.

For more than 20 years, this Lockheed plane served as the most important reconnaissance aircraft. SR-71 was designed to outperform every Soviet aircraft and missile with speed and altitude, following the 1960 incident, when the Soviets shot down CIA reconnaissance aircraft 1960 and captured its pilot Gary Powers.

Named Blackbird plane due to its unique blue to black color, this aircraft would set numerous world records for speed and altitude. Its small radar cross-section, paired with high speed, high altitude capabilities, and innovative defensive systems made the aircraft almost for radars. Blackbird was powered by two Pratt Whitney J58 engines which provided a thrust of 32,500 lbf each.

It had a titanium body and incorporated the most innovative image and signals intelligence technology. Throughout its career, Blackbird plane would remain undefeated in the air, having escaped hundreds of enemy missiles and aircraft.

The aircraft would be designated SR-71 (SR- standing for strategic reconnaissance) and would complete its first flight on December 22, 1964.

After another incident on October 27th, 1962, when another U2 was hit by Soviet surface-to-air missiles during the Cuban crisis, the idea of the plane became very simple. The Blackbird plane should be able to beat not only the attacks of adversary aircraft but also their missiles, using unmatched high speed and high altitude.

The plane was able to fly at 3 Mach, which was achieved on July 20, 1963, at an altitude of 78,000 ft.

If an aircraft or missile came close to the Blackbird plane, the aircraft would switch to flying at a higher altitude, leaving enemy aircraft unable to follow, and enemy missiles with exhausted thrust at high altitude. The aircraft would be painted in dark blue and black color to serve as camouflage in the night sky and to increase internal heat emission.

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Pub: 05 Jun 2023 06:18 UTC
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