Business

November 25, 2013

Meet the SR-72

LM-SR72a

In 1976, U.S. Air Force SR-71 Blackbird crews flew from New York to London in less than two hours, reaching speeds exceeding Mach 3 and setting world records that have held up for nearly four decades.

But those world records may not stay unbroken for long. That’s because today, at the birthplace of the Blackbird – Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works® – engineers are developing a hypersonic aircraft that will go twice the speed of the SR-71. It’s called the SR-72.

The SR-71 was developed using 20th century technology. It was envisioned with slide rules and paper. It wasn’t managed by millions of lines of software code. And it wasn’t powered by computer chips.  All that changes with the SR-72.

Envisioned as an unmanned aircraft, the SR-72 would fly at speeds up to Mach 6, or six times the speed of sound. At this speed, the aircraft would be so fast, an adversary would have no time to react or hide.

“Hypersonic aircraft, coupled with hypersonic missiles, could penetrate denied airspace and strike at nearly any location across a continent in less than an hour,” said Brad Leland, Lockheed Martin program manager, Hypersonics. “Speed is the next aviation advancement to counter emerging threats in the next several decades. The technology would be a game-changer in theater, similar to how stealth is changing the battlespace today.”

A hypersonic plane does not have to be an expensive, distant possibility.  In fact, an SR-72 could be operational by 2030. For the past several years, Lockheed Martin Skunk Works® has been working with Aerojet Rocketdyne to develop a method to integrate an off-the-shelf turbine with a supersonic combustion ramjet air breathing jet engine to power the aircraft from standstill to Mach 6. The result is the SR-72 that Aviation Week has dubbed “son of Blackbird,” and integrated engine and airframe that is optimized at the system level for high performance and affordability.

LM-SR72b

SR-72 is not the first hypersonic Skunk Works® aircraft. In partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, engineers developed the rocket-launched Falcon Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2. The HTV-2 research and development project was designed to collect data on three technical challenges of hypersonic flight: aerodynamics; aerothermal effects; and guidance, navigation and control.

The SR-72’s design incorporates lessons learned from the HTV-2, which flew to a top speed of Mach 20, or 13,000 mph, with a surface temperature of 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

U.S. Air Force selects Cubic for Moroccan P5 air combat training system

Cubic Defense Systems, a subsidiary of Cubic Corporation announced April 11 it has been awarded a contract valued at more than $5 million from the U.S. Air Force to supply its P5 Combat Training System to the Moroccan Air Force. Morocco will join the United States Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, along with a...
 
 

Boeing realigns engineering to enhance customer Support

Boeing announced April 10 it is centralizing customer support for in-service airplanes at its Boeing Commercial Airplanes Engineering Design Center in Southern California, as the company continues to focus on increasing competitiveness while enabling continued growth of the global airline industry. “We’re creating a single location for customer support at the Southern California des...
 
 
Northrop Grumman photograph by Alan Radecki

Legendary Collier Trophy awarded to X-47B team

Northrop Grumman photograph by Alan Radecki The Northrop Grumman-built X-47B Unmanned Combat Air System (UCAS) approaches the flight deck of the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), seconds before making history by being the first un...
 

 
Lockheed Martin photograph

First C-130J Super Hercules ëShimshoní arrives In Israel

Lockheed Martin photograph On April 4, 2014, the Israeli Air Forceís first C-130J Super Hercules aircraft left the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics facility where it was built in Marietta, Ga., for Nevatim Air Base, Israel. This Su...
 
 

Lockheed Martin opens new office in Israel

Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson officially opened the company’s newest office in Israel April 9 to support the corporation’s growing presence in that important country. The new office, located in Be’er Sheva, further demonstrates the Corporation’s commitment to supporting the Israeli Defense Force and their “Move to the South” campaign. ...
 
 

Kelly Aviation Center is now Lockheed Martin Commercial Engine Solutions

Kelly Aviation Center, a leading provider of aircraft engine maintenance, repair, and overhaul for international commercial and military customers, has changed its name to Lockheed Martin Commercial Engine Solutions. “Since 1999, we have been proud to be Lockheed Martin’s only jet engine MRO service provider,” said Amy Gowder, vice president and general manager of LMCES....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>