Meet SR-71 Blackbird: The World’s Fastest Aircraft During Cold War

During the Cold War, the US Air Force operated the world’s fastest air-breathing aircraft named the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Colonel Rich Graham has told what made the aircraft so special.

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is two-seated, twin-engine equipped, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft. It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by the Lockheed Skunk Works. The aircraft was designed after the loss of a U-2 spy plane over the Soviet Union in 1960. However, the Blackbird was able to fly too high to be shot down. It had a speed of 3,530 km/h or 2,193 mph. The aircraft was capable of taking off and landing unassisted on conventional runways. Here’s a video for you.

During reconnaissance missions, the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes to allow it to outrace threats. If a surface-to-air missile launch was detected, the standard evasive action was simply to accelerate and outrun the missile.

However, from 1966 until its last mission in 1989, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird flew thousands of missions around the globe, photographing military installations from China to Egypt, the Arctic Circle to North Korea. Colonel Rich Graham flew the Blackbird from 1974 until the mid-1980s. He later took command of all Blackbird detachments – in California, Mildenhall in the UK and at Kadena on the Japanese island of Okinawa.

Source: BBC

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