Lockheed Martin Announces Successor to SR-71
Demonstrator missile could fly Mach 6 as early as 2018.
Lockheed Martin announced on its website the Son of the Blackbird, dubbed the SR-72. The unmanned aircraft would fly at speeds up to Mach 6.
According to Reuters (11/4, Shalal-Esa), Lockheed Martin designed the aircraft using off-the-shelf materials. “Lockheed, Boeing and other big weapons makers are pressing the Pentagon to continue funding new aircraft development programs despite big cuts in military spending, arguing that a retreat from such projects could undercut U.S. military superiority in years to come.” According to the article, Lockheed and its partners developed and tested key components of the proposed new aircraft using their own internal research funding. However, the program needed additional funds to move ahead with larger-scale demonstrations of the technologies involved.
CNN (11/5) reports that, according to a report in Aviation Week, the design needed to achieve Mach 6 “doesn’t allow for” stealth in the aircraft’s construction. Lockheed Martin engineering and advanced systems vice president Al Romig said that the SR-72’s design philosophy is “speed is the new stealth.” The CNN report also noted that a smaller-scale model of the SR-72 could begin testing in five years and be in the air in 10, as told by Leland to Aviation Week.
Lockheed reportedly is continuing to invest company funds, but believes the next steps in the development would need to be government funded.
Published Date : 12/2/2013