Sunday, 3 June 2007


The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is a Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft. The Blackbird is also known as the Sled or the Habu. It was manufactured by Lockheed Skunk Works. The SR-71 was in service from 1964 to 1998. It was designed by Clarence "Kelly" Johnson. The SR-71 has strengths and weaknesses. It's defensive strengths are its high velocity and high flying altitude. It is capable of evading a Surface to Air Missile (SAM) or a Side Winder (SW) or even an enemy aircraft; by accelerating to Mach 3.3 and outrunning and outmanuevering the enemy missile and the enemy aircraft. The missile and aircraft are unable to catch up with the plane. However, it also has weaknesses. It was shaped to reduce Radar Cross Section (RCS), but it was not stealthy enough (observability) because it produced a radar signature that could be tracked by enemy radar systems. It is not invisible to enemy radar, thus it is an easy target for SAMs or SWs or enemy aircraft. The SR-71 does not have any offensive capabilities, such as SWs or gattling guns. It uses its superior speed and superior flying altitude to defend itself.

13 SR-71s have been lost so far, all due to non-combat related reasons.

Here are the specs of the SR-71A:

General Characteristics
Crew: 2
Payload: 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) of sensors
Length: 107 ft 5 in (32.74 m)
Wingspan: 55 ft 7 in (16.94 m)
Height: 18 ft 6 in (5.64 m)
Wing Area: 1,800 ft2 (170 m2)
Empty Weight: 67,500 lb (30 600 kg)
Loaded Weight: 170,000 lb (77 000 kg)
Max Takeoff Weight: 172,000 lb (78 000 kg)
Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney J58-1 continuous-bleed afterburning turbojets, 32,500 lbf (145 kN) each
Wheel Track: 16 ft 8 in (5.08 m)
Wheel Base: 37 ft 10 in (11.53 m)
Aspect Ratio: 1.7

Performance Characteristics
Maximum Speed: Mach 3.3+ (2,200+ mph, 3530+ km/h) at 80,000 ft (24,000m)
Combat Range: 2,900 nm (5400 km)
Ferry Range: 3,200 nm (5,925 km)
Service Ceiling: 85,000 ft (25,900m, 16 miles)
Rate of Climb: 11,810 ft/min (60 m/s)
Wing Loading: 94 lb/ft2 (460 kg/m2)
Thrust/Weight: 0.382

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

Many thanks to Wikipedia for the above information.

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