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Photo Of The Week

December 22, 2011

A different view of the Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird"; an advanced, long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft.

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Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” was an advanced, long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft.[1] It was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by the Lockheed Skunk WorksClarence “Kelly” Johnson was responsible for many of the design’s innovative concepts. 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.[2]

The SR-71 served with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998. Although 12 of the 32 aircraft built were destroyed in accidents, none was lost to enemy action.[3][4] The SR-71 was unofficially named the Blackbird, and called the Habuby its crews, referring to an Okinawan species of pit viper.[5] Since 1976, it has held the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft, a record previously held by the YF-12.[6][7][8]

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