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Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

High-Altitude, High-Speed Reconnaissance Aircraft

Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

High-Altitude, High-Speed Reconnaissance Aircraft

OVERVIEW
SPECIFICATIONS
ARMAMENT
VARIANTS
HISTORY
MEDIA
OVERVIEW



The SR-71 maintained an excellent operational service record during its Cold War tenure, though a dozen were lost to accidents.
National Flag Graphic
ORIGIN: United States
YEAR: 1966
STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Lockheed Skunkworks, Lockheed Corporation - USA
PRODUCTION: 32
OPERATORS: United States
SPECIFICATIONS



Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.
CREW: 2
LENGTH: 107.41 feet (32.74 meters)
WIDTH: 55.58 feet (16.94 meters)
HEIGHT: 18.50 feet (5.64 meters)
WEIGHT (EMPTY): 67,506 pounds (30,620 kilograms)
WEIGHT (MTOW): 172,005 pounds (78,020 kilograms)
ENGINE: 2 x Pratt & Whitney J58-1 continuous-bleed, afterburning turbo-ramjets developing 32,500 lb of thrust.
SPEED (MAX): 2,274 miles-per-hour (3660 kilometers-per-hour; 1,976 knots)
RANGE: 3,682 miles (5,925 kilometers; 3,199 nautical miles)
CEILING: 85,007 feet (25,910 meters; 16.10 miles)
RATE-OF-CLIMB: 11,820 feet-per-minute (3,603 meters-per-minute)




ARMAMENT



None. Internal provisioning limited to reconnaissance and surveillance equipment.
VARIANTS



Series Model Variants
• A-12 - Precursor Model to the SR-71
• M-21 - A-12 with DB-21 autonomous surveillance drone mounted atop fuselage.
• M/D-21 - Designation of M-21 when mated with the DB-21 drone.
• SR-71A - Base Production Model; 30 examples produced.
• SR-71B - Two-seat trainer conversions; 2 examples produced.
• SR-71C - Interesting conversion of a surviving aft-section of an ill-fated YF-12 with a SR-71 forward section. Only one of this type was produced.


HISTORY



Detailing the development and operational history of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird High-Altitude, High-Speed Reconnaissance Aircraft.  Entry last updated on 10/16/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The sleek SR-71 Blackbird spyplane reached an all new plateau in supersonic high-level flight for the Lockheed Corporation. Developed from the YF-12A interceptor program which spawned the A-12 program which in turn generated the basis for the SR-71 system, the Blackbird became the ultimate tool for the American Central Intelligence Agency throughout the Cold War.

The SR-71 "Blackbird" was so named in that fashion due to the specialized heat absorbing and radar dissipating color scheme applied to the series. The A model was crewed by two personnel that were required to wear astronaut-type flight suits due to the rigors of high altitude flight. Looking every bit the part of stealth plane, the SR-71 was instrumental in reconnaissance of enemy Cold War facilities of the Western Bloc.

The Blackbird was of a streamlined delta-type design featuring a smooth elongated fuselage housing instrumentation and fuel. The twin continuous-bleed turbojet engines were held out mid-wing and were the bread and butter of the series, helping the system achieve flight speeds in excess of Mach 3 at well over 70,000 feet. At the time of its inception, the SR-71 was the world's fastest conventionally-powered aircraft.

The initial SR-71 series was developed from experimental YF-121-A interceptor aircraft. From that development, the A-12 series produced 15 of its type which became a favorite of the CIA for its Mach 3.6 capability and useful in the launching of the D-21 reconnaissance drone. The ultimate version became the well-known SR-71 and achieved full operational status in 1966 with a total of 30 aircraft being produced.

Training for SR-71 pilots was handled via a single SR-71B series model and a single SR-71C series model, the latter based highly on a converted A-series model. The SR-71 faced full retirement status in 1989. Two SR-71's were activated out of retirement in in the middle of the 1990's with the whole series once again seeing full retirement in April of 1998.




MEDIA







General Assessment (BETA)
Firepower  
Performance  
Survivability  
Versatility  
Impact  


Values are derrived from a variety of categories related to the design, overall function, and historical influence of this aircraft in aviation history.
MF Power Rating (BETA)
74
The MF Power Rating takes into account over sixty individual factors related to this aircraft entry. The rating is out of 100 total possible points.
Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 5000mph
Lo: 2500mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (2,274mph).

    Graph average of 3750 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LDN
LDN
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MSK
MSK
 
  TKY
TKY
 
  SYD
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  NYC
Graph showcases the Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
32
32

  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
Small airplane graphic
Supported Roles
A2A
Interception
UAV
Ground Attack
CAS
Training
ASW
Anti-Ship
AEW
MEDEVAC
EW
Maritime/Navy
SAR
Aerial Tanker
Utility/Transport
VIP
Passenger
Business
Recon
SPECOPS
X-Plane/Development
A2A=Air-to-Air; UAV=Unmanned; CAS=Close Support; ASW=Anti-Submarine; AEW=Airborne Early Warning; MEDEVAC=Medical Evac; EW=Electronic Warfare; SAR=Search-Rescue
In the Cockpit...
Commitments / Honors
Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur War
Military lapel ribbon for experimental x-plane aircraft
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.