In 1976, high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft SR-71 «Blackbird» (Blackbird) U.S. Air Force closed the distance from New York to London less than two hours, reaching a speed of flight, respectively, the number of M = 3 and so Makar, setting a world record, which stood almost four decades.
At the current time, «Skunk Works» (Skunk Works) — Department of Special Projects of «Lockheed Martin» (Lockheed Martin), where it was created SR-71 — developed hypersonic aircraft, which should double outshine its predecessor in terms of speed.
The SR-71 was created with the introduction of technologies of the 20th century, which included slide rules and paper drawings and did not mean the introduction of computer programs and chips become available as part of the SR-72 project.
The new device provides develop unmanned, capable of achieving speeds, respectively, the number M = 6 or 6 times greater than the speed of sound, that does not give the enemy time to react.
«Hypersonic aircraft with hypersonic missiles could least than an hour to seep into prohibited air space and fight in virtually any location,» — said Brad Leland, managing hypersonic programm in «Lockheed Martin». According to him, «high speed will be a new achievement in the aviation sector, which will provide the confrontation emerging new threats in the next few decades. This is the development that will allow radically change the situation in the theater of war, just as at present «stealth technology» change «the game» in the combat airspace.
In the distant future hypersonic aircraft should not be costly. After SR-72 can achieve operational readiness of combat not before 2030 Meanwhile, the department «Skunk Works» along with «Rocketdyne» (Rocketdyne) for the past several years has been developing methodology to integrate standard GTE with ramjet engine with supersonic combustion in order to ensure the aircraft Mach 6. The result is a machine SR-72, which is the weekly «Aviation Week» (Aviation Week) called «the son of» Blackbird, «and in which the engine and airframe are a whole, in other words, optimized at the system level for large features with affordability .
SR-72 — not first hypersonic plane «Skunk Works.» In collaboration with the promising research U.S. Department of Defense DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA) spetsy «Lockheed» developed a hypersonic aircraft with rocket boosters HTV-2 (Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2). This research project was designed to collect data on three technical dilemmas hypersonic flight: aerodynamics, thermal loads during flight; management, navigation and control.
The draft SR-72 into account the lessons learned during the demo flight HTV-2, which reached the highest Mach 20, or about 21 thousand km / h at a temperature of 1927 degrees Celsius surface.