By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer
During the Cold War, the US kept an eye on Russia with the Blackbird (SR-71) spy plane. Not only could it fly at around 85,000 feet above the Earth, it did so at 3 times the speed of sound. While this legendary spy craft hasn’t cruised the skies since 1999, the military has now revealed that the Blackbird’s son, the SR-72, will be better, faster and stronger than its daddy.
“The SR-71 was developed using 20th-century technology,” said Lockheed Martin, the company responsible for making both aircrafts. “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.” The new hypersonic drone will fly at 6 times the speed of sound, which is about 4,600 miles per hour. It’s not exactly quiet, but the designers say the SR-72 is definitely fast enough to get away with it.
Additionally, the SR-72 is able to actually fire missiles, unlike the SR-71. “Even with the SR-71, at Mach 3, there was still time to notify that the plane was coming, but at Mach 6, there is no reaction time to hide a mobile target,” said Brad Leland, Lockheed Martin’s program manager for hypersonics.
A full model of the plane should be ready to hit the skies by 2030, and it’ll be a sight to make any father proud.
Images courtesy of Lockheed Martin.