STATUS: Retired, Out-of-Service
MANUFACTURER(S): Lockheed Skunkworks, Lockheed Corporation - USA
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)
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.
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General Assessment (BETA)
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)
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
This entry's maximum listed speed (2,274mph).
Graph average of 3750 miles-per-hour.
Graph showcases the Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
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