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Skunk Works Reveals Proposed SR-71 Successor: the Hypersonic SR-72

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the i'll-order-a-dozen dept.

The Military 216

cold fjord writes "Aviation Week reports, 'Ever since Lockheed's unsurpassed SR-71 Blackbird was retired ... almost two decades ago, the perennial question has been: Will it ever be succeeded by a new-generation, higher-speed aircraft and, if so, when? That is, until now. After years of silence on the subject, Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works has revealed exclusively to AW&ST details of long-running plans for what it describes as an affordable hypersonic intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) and strike platform that could enter development in demonstrator form as soon as 2018. Dubbed the SR-72, the twin-engine aircraft is designed for a Mach 6 cruise, around twice the speed of its forebear, and will have the optional capability to strike targets. Guided by the U.S. Air Force's long-term hypersonic road map, the SR-72 is designed to fill what are perceived by defense planners as growing gaps in coverage of fast-reaction intelligence by the plethora of satellites, subsonic manned and unmanned platforms meant to replace the SR-71.'"

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I would have had a frosty.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304009)

But my SR-72 was in the shop...

Re:I would have had a frosty.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304255)

Oscar and Mike are great mechanics. Good work takes time.

Re:I would have had a frosty.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45305813)

I probably wouldn't have drink holders anyway. SR-71 pilots had to be suited up almost like astronauts. Making a pressurized cabin for extremely high altitudes is costly.

America... FUCK YAH! (0, Flamebait)

mozumder (178398) | about 10 months ago | (#45304013)

Suck it every other country in the world.

And suck it traitors to America, like Edward Snowden and all the 12 year old libertarians nerds - your theories are terrible.

But seriously, why can't any other country pick up their pace in tech innovation? What's up with that?

Re: America... FUCK YAH! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304087)

Because we made a technology deal with ETs in exchange for human genetic material.

Re: America... FUCK YAH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304273)

Exactly, we let ET preview our flying bike technology and ET gave USA some gene info.

Re: America... FUCK YAH! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304517)

I thought we asked for the Good Package not the Big Gun? We must not be Real Men.

Re:America... FUCK YAH! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304369)

Perhaps they were funding their infrastructure?

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/american_prosperity_consensus/2013/10/american_prosperity_consensus_is_crumbling_infrastructure_the_most_important.html

Re:America... FUCK YAH! (1)

citab (1677284) | about 10 months ago | (#45306081)

Wish I had an American Mod Point to give you .... right on the nose.

Finally (4, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 10 months ago | (#45304017)

I was feeling naked with all this NSA spying and no air surveillance.

I'm glad things are back and track and I can be monitored in my backyard and abroad, for my safety.

Thanks for looking out for me, big brother!

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304075)

Dont worry - they've been using drones.

Re:Finally (5, Informative)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 10 months ago | (#45304081)

The U-2 spy plane is still flying [wikipedia.org] and it can carry a 5,000-pound [archive.org] payload of surveillance equipment. So there is plenty of air surveillance; you just didn't know about it.

Re:Finally (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 10 months ago | (#45304587)

Which is kind of stupid if you consider how much surveillance equipment actually weighs today and that the pilot isn't really all that useful in the plane.

Re:Finally (3)

JeffOwl (2858633) | about 10 months ago | (#45305995)

When the equipment gets smaller, they just put more of it on. One reason the U2 is still in use is because it actually costs less to operate than the Global Hawk, for example.

Re:Finally (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 10 months ago | (#45306475)

Global Hawk [wikipedia.org] also works reasonably well on this role.

Broken window fallacy (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304057)

An arms race is not a viable long-term strategy for keeping the economy going, especially when there's no one to run against.

Re:Broken window fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304173)

It worked fine in practice for the entire second half of the 20th century. Sorry that it doesn't work in theory.

Re:Broken window fallacy (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 10 months ago | (#45304431)

It worked fine in practice for the entire second half of the 20th century.

Except for the inflation and economic stagnation of the 1970s, caused by excessive deficit spending on the Vietnam War. Or the recessions in 1961, 1979, 1991, 2008, etc.

Sorry that it doesn't work in theory.

Military spending can promote economic growth if there is insufficient aggregate demand (e.g. Germany in the 1930s). But economically, it is better to spend that money on something else, such as infrastructure (roads, bridges, ports), because in the end, you will still have the infrastructure. With military spending, you end up with either a war, or unused weapons.

Re:Broken window fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304597)

It used to be that a lot of military spending included R&D that drove technology forward.

Unfortunately that's no longer the case - As a result of some unscrupulous contractors bilking the public, there is now so much oversight that every contractor is so scared shitless of failure that no one takes on anything that could amount to even the slightest amount of risk these days.

End result is even platforms considered "advanced" by the military are running two-decade-old operating systems on decade-old hardware. Because god forbid we risk the slight possibility a new OS might break something...

Re:Broken window fallacy (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 10 months ago | (#45305005)

End result is even platforms considered "advanced" by the military are running two-decade-old operating systems on decade-old hardware. Because god forbid we risk the slight possibility a new OS might break something...

Advanced compared to where we would be if we were still in an arms race with a superpower? Definitely we're behind. But we're mainly fighting the rednecks of the middle east. They have pipe bombs and decades-old rifles. I'd argue we should be considered "extremely advanced" as of a decade ago.

Re:Broken window fallacy (0)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 10 months ago | (#45305079)

It used to be that a lot of military spending included R&D that drove technology forward.

You cannot justify spending on weapons because some of the money trickles down to R&D. If you want R&D, then you should just spend the money directly on R&D. DARPA seems to put our tax dollars to good use. Spending billions on SR-72s to spy on hermits in Afghanistan is probably not so wise.

Re:Broken window fallacy (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 10 months ago | (#45305835)

It used to be that a lot of military spending included R&D that drove technology forward.

You cannot justify spending on weapons because some of the money trickles down to R&D. If you want R&D, then you should just spend the money directly on R&D. DARPA seems to put our tax dollars to good use. Spending billions on SR-72s to spy on hermits in Afghanistan is probably not so wise.

Though conversely, more investment in hypersonic engine physics would be great for progress towards a workable SSTO launch vehicle. But I very much doubt secret military spy planes are the most efficient way to get it.

Re:Broken window fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45305125)

Except for the inflation and economic stagnation of the 1970s, caused by excessive deficit spending on the Vietnam War.

Deficits don't matter. Stagflation hit in the 1970s because of the OAPEC boycott. We had a suddenly reduced supply of an important natural resource and it fucked everything up. Go figure.

Re:Broken window fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45305567)

Remind us that you said that, early next year when the Republicans hold the entire world hostage to their ideology.

Re:Broken window fallacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45306159)

It was Dick fucking Cheney who coined the damn phrase! "You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter." [cbsnews.com]

I get that Eisenhower is a communist by current Republican standards.

I get that Reagan would barely fit into the current GOP.

But they're already to the right of Cheney? Really?

Re:Broken window fallacy (2)

Noughmad (1044096) | about 10 months ago | (#45305245)

The summarization of the summary of the summary comes into play again. The funny thing is, if you try to spend extra money on infrastructure like roads, power generation and distribution or healthcare, people will no longer vote for you. If you spend the money on war, you can play the "patriot" and "fear" cards, and they will love you.

Re:Broken window fallacy (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 10 months ago | (#45306157)

If you spend the money on war, you can play the "patriot" and "fear" cards, and they will love you.

Is that why so many people love George W. Bush?

SR-71 needed replacing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304083)

Because if you need realtime intelligence you're not going to get it with satellites now that several countries have the capability of destroying them.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (3, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#45304365)

Which, ironically, is probably why they didn't bother upgrading the spy plane until now. Countries that could shoot it down could shoot it and any successors down, and those that couldn't couldn't.

The idea of a new plane to fill the gap, not from earlier planes, but from satellites being shot down, or just not being in the correct spot when you need extremely fresh data, is interesting.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304471)

They retired the SR-71 like fifteen years ago. It cost too much to operate and used a special fuel, JP-7, that no other plane used.

It still has the speed record for manned air-breathing aircraft. (And, from the looks of the SR-72, will continue to hold it -- I don't see a cockpit in the SR-72 in the picture in Aviation Week)

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (4, Interesting)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 10 months ago | (#45304567)

I assume that a plane flying Mach 6 would turn a human pilot into chunky salsa with any kind of maneuvering. Generally, an aircraft can be a lot smaller and cheaper if you don't have to worry about keeping a person alive inside of it. Same thing with spacecraft.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (5, Informative)

jandrese (485) | about 10 months ago | (#45305283)

The SR-71 wasn't maneuver limited by the pilot, but by the airframe. The turning radius on the SR-71 was the size of some states!

That said, I wouldn't put too much stock in the artists rendition. That looks an awful lot like the cover of Popular Mechanics, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was made in a similar way (mostly with bullshit).

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45305687)

The US has states that are only 100 miles in size? (Not a US citizen.)

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (2)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about 10 months ago | (#45306069)

What does "100 miles in size mean"? There are no states that are anything close to 100 square miles, no. But there are certainly states whose dimensions don't (or barely) exceed that in the northeast. Connecticut, for example, is approximately 110 miles by 70 miles. The smallest state, Rhode Island, is 40 miles by 30 miles.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (1)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#45305205)

That's because manning the aircraft is pointless. The pilot is the most valuable thing on the plane.

That may seem a bit emotional, but look at the costs. Life-support, weight, cockpit space and the associated drag, the need to provide some way of seeing, the ability to get the pilot out in an emergency, visible screens or gauges, interior lighting, pilot training, survivor benefits/retirement pay, salaries, all needing to withstand the forces at that speed, and all protecting the least predictable part of the combination.

And that's added to the idea that we have to care whether we can recover the pilot in an emergency.

Just tack some sufficient self-destruct mechanism to sensitive equipment. Even disable external control on any craft that may need to loiter, and pre-program the entire route if you want. At worst, we lose a robot.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45306065)

I think you are confusing the value of an entire pilot program with the value of one airframe. Yes, a pilot needs to fly a plane (that isn't a UAV). A plane also needs fuel to fly. But that doesn't mean the fuel (with all the storage tanks and indicators for the pilot unit to monitor) is worth more than the airframe. In the case of something like the B-2, which is worth the lifetime gross of thousands of citizens, that is clearly not the case. A pilot is a replaceable component for the aircraft. If one breaks and you are able to recover the aircraft, then you can swap out the broken one with another. And an ejection system is just a method to minimize damages. Just because you have lost the plane doesn't mean that you need to lose a pilot unit.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (1)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | about 10 months ago | (#45304413)

How would they know which ones to destroy? Are you going to destroy every satellite that tracks over your country?

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 10 months ago | (#45306405)

How would they know which ones to destroy? Are you going to destroy every satellite that tracks over your country?

Only enemy spy satellites, presumably. This is surprisingly easy information to figure out. Launching things into space isn't exactly subtle (everyone for hundreds of miles around knows every time anyone launches anything into space), orbital mechanics are well understood and easy to work out, and satellites, like aircraft, are kinda out in the open with nothing to hide behind, and quite easy to track, even by amateurs with backyard telescopes (and there are quite a few enthusiasts who do precisely that). Anyone with the capability of shooting down one of our satellites already has a complete and accurate list of them.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (3, Interesting)

bob_super (3391281) | about 10 months ago | (#45304435)

What makes you think that they can't shoot an SR72 down?
Ballistic missiles and satellites are less maneuverable, but faster. And it doesn't take a lot of damage for a Mach-6 bird to disintegrate.

On the same topic, I'd really like to see a Mach-6 weapon deployment.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304619)

What makes you think that they can't shoot an SR72 down?
Ballistic missiles and satellites are less maneuverable, but faster.

Didn't you just answer your own question?

Back when the F-16 was hot shit, it was designed to win aerial combat (read: plane vs. plane) by out-turning enemy planes. If the SR-72 is a hair slower but more maneuverable than ballistic missiles, what makes you think the SR-72 can't use the exact same tactic to evade the munitions?

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (3, Insightful)

Antipater (2053064) | about 10 months ago | (#45304817)

Nobody's using a ballistic missile to shoot anything down. Ballistic missiles are used to deliver (sometimes nuclear) warheads to a land-based target, and are the things that interceptor missiles are designed to try to shoot down. GP's point is that if an interceptor missile can shoot down a ballistic missile and/or a satellite, then it can shoot down an SR-72. Whether the SR-72 is more maneuverable than an interceptor missile is unknown, but doubtful.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (2)

amorsen (7485) | about 10 months ago | (#45305241)

The interceptor missile cannot use maneuverability for much. Ballistic missiles have little to no maneuverability at the time that the interceptor missile strikes them, so all the interceptor missile has to do is figure out where the ballistic missile is going and put itself there. An SR-72 would be able to see the interceptor missile coming and turn out of the way, and the interceptor missile cannot go Mach 6 to follow. The only way to hit an SR-72 would be to simply fire enough missiles and hope the SR-72 blunders into one.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (1)

Chuckstar (799005) | about 10 months ago | (#45306411)

The other important distinction is angle. A ballistic missile is roughly headed directly towards the interceptor. A spy plane is roughly headed on a 90-degree angle to the interceptor.

If you imagine it like duck hunting, much easier to hit one that's headed directly at you, than one that's just flying by.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (2)

jandrese (485) | about 10 months ago | (#45305331)

The point is that this plane is going to be flying so high and so fast that an interceptor missile won't be able to get up to speed and altitude before the plane is gone. That's how the SR-71 operated, and it was never shot down by enemy action. The only reason it's feasible to shoot satellites down is that they fly on predictable paths and can't maneuver much. Even a limited maneuver on this aircraft is going to translate into a wildly different location in just a few seconds.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45306013)

It seems possible, but from what I understand it's still quite difficult if not impossible to hit the SR-71 with existing systems. First you need to get a radar lock on it, since you don't know what direction it'll approach from. (Unlike a satellite where you can predict the orbit after a pass or two.) Once you manage to do that, the SR-71 also knows it has been detected and will start making course adjustments. So now it's no longer on a predictable track which you can use to lead your target. Although there are a lot of hypersonic missiles, there is still the problem of getting that missile up from the ground to the SR-71. It takes quite a bit of time for that missile to accelerate, so the SR-71 gets a pretty good lead. And even on a missile the size of a telephone pole, that fuel goes rather fast. Once it's gone, that missile can't go any faster and starts slowing down in short order.

So what happens (in some article I read about it): SR-71 flies over some "hot" area, SAM site locks on, SR-71 crew sees an "idiot light" or some other indicator, they turn and burn. A missile might get launched, but SR-71 still manages to get out of range and the missile runs out of fuel before even getting close. Russians also had the Mig-25 which hypothetically may have been able to match speed to the SR-71 to a limited extent (a couple minutes at most), but doing so would burn out it's engine. However matching speed doesn't mean you'll close distance when your target already has a lot of lead time, so it's not really worth spending hardware on.

Anything that might fly faster than the SR-71 at what may be a lower altitude will be pretty near impossible to hit short of having a weapons-grade laser.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (4, Interesting)

weiserfireman (917228) | about 10 months ago | (#45305915)

Shooting down a Mach 6 aircraft is extremely difficult.

Lets say an SR-72 was going to go the full length of Iran, and Iran had recently deployed S-300 missiles from Russia. The S-300 is considered a world-class air defense weapon (despite having never been fired in combat). It has a 5 minute deployment time and a 24 mile range.

Mach 6 is roughly 4,567 Miles/hour or 1.26 miles every second.

It will cover the 48 mile engagement envelope of an S-300 (24 miles each way), in 38 seconds. What this means is a missile site can't detect and engage the target. Someone has to detect and transmit targeting information to air defense sights in the path of the plane, so they can be ready to lauch, when it gets within range.

Just some moderate maneuvering and route planning, keeps the SR-72 out of range most of the time.

There was rumor that the SR-71 was detectable with long range radars, but stealthy to weapons guidance radars. Add in stealth characteristics and the task becomes even more difficult.

From looking at a map, the absolute longest flight path over Iran appears to be about 2000 miles. Meaning the SR-72, worst case, would only be over Iranian airspace for less than 30 minutes. If a plane came in over the Caspian Sea, crossed over Tehran, then turned for the nearest border, they could be in and out of Iran in less than 5 minutes.

All in all, a very challenging exercise.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (1)

bob_super (3391281) | about 10 months ago | (#45306027)

Agreed, but by the time your Mach-6 bird is actually ready to fly over Iran, the S-301 may have a 500-mile engagement envelope and an even faster interception speed. It's a lot easier to make a bigger rocket than it is to fly safely an hypersonic spy plane.

Because the Chinese and Russian can do that math too. And they're not about to just say "let them fly over, we'll never stop them". They've been expecting the blackbird to be upgraded ever since they first saw one, and especially given the recent developments in scramjets.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45305531)

Because if you need realtime intelligence you're not going to get it with satellites now that several countries have the capability of destroying them.

The problem with satellites isn't that countries can destroy them. The problem is that they travel in well known, predictable orbits.

They generally travel in low earth orbit where they can see any particular place about twice a day. So even poor countries can predict when they'll come over, throw some camo over their equipment while they pass over and a few minutes later uncover their equipment and get on with killing people.

Re:SR-71 needed replacing (1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 10 months ago | (#45306221)

Because if you need realtime intelligence you're not going to get it with satellites now that several countries have the capability of destroying them.

Um, no. You don't get instant, real-time intelligence from satellites because they're in orbit, not because they can be shot down. You either have to wait until the next time the satellite will pass over the target in its current orbit, which could be days away, or you have to alter the inclination of the orbit so it'll pass over the target on its next orbit, which requires huge amounts of delta-V, more than most satellites have the fuel to do regularly.

The X-Men ... (3, Funny)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about 10 months ago | (#45304119)

... can finally replace their old beater with something a little more hip and modern. Party at the mansion!
.
.
.
.
http://marvel.wikia.com/X-Men_Blackbird [wikia.com]

Re:The X-Men ... (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about 10 months ago | (#45304207)

Mach 6 on a budget!

But the REAL Issue is... (1)

bubulubugoth (896803) | about 10 months ago | (#45304157)

Will it be as beautiful as the SR-71?

Re:But the REAL Issue is... (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45304411)

It doesn't look like it to me. It's a pity.

Aye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304193)

...and if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon

Re:Aye (1)

Gareth Iwan Fairclough (2831535) | about 10 months ago | (#45304279)

Now now Mr Scott, young minds/fresh ideas!

Mo money, mo money (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304213)

A defense contractor, a tea partier, and a teacher sit down to a plate of 10 cookies. The defense contractor takes 9, leans over to the tea partier, and says "psst, the teacher is trying to steal your cookie"

Re:Mo money, mo money (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304415)

Yes, all the problems with the government, spending, taxes, incompitence is all directly the fault with the defense contractors.

INCOMPETENCE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304545)

That's how that word is spelled.

Re:Mo money, mo money (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45305039)

incompitence

oh, the ironing is delicious!

Re:Mo money, mo money (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45305257)

incompitence

oh, the ironing is delicious!

That is too crewl.

Re:Mo money, mo money (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 10 months ago | (#45305085)

The incompetent ones are the tea partier and the teacher. The defense contractor is EXTREMELY competent. That's ONE problem with the budget.

Two straw man arguments and a spelling mistake all in one line. Expert trolling. (golf clap)

Re:Mo money, mo money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304617)

A defense contractor, a tea partier, and a teacher sit down to a plate of 10 cookies. The defense contractor takes 9, leans over to the tea partier, and says "psst, the teacher is trying to steal your cookie"

You sir (or the person you are paraphrasing from) is a goddamn sarcastic genius.

I hope to never forget this joke.

Re:Mo money, mo money (1, Interesting)

intermodal (534361) | about 10 months ago | (#45305045)

Doesn't matter, unless the Tea Partier was forced to bring the set amount of cookies only to have them taken away. Most Tea Partiers are angry about what they were forced to bring only to see it wasted, not upset about what other people might offer them.

Re:Mo money, mo money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45305867)

Yeah, unfortunately, it doesn't actually work like that.

Re:Mo money, mo money (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45305123)

A defense contractor, a tea partier, and a teacher sit down to a plate of 10 cookies. The defense contractor takes 9, leans over to the tea partier, and says "psst, the teacher is trying to steal your cookie"

That joke isn't so much funny as it is weird. The goal of the Tea Party is for there to be less spending, so there would be fewer cookies to begin with. It even fails as a "guns versus butter" joke given the actual the realities [heritage.org] of the budget.

Re:Mo money, mo money (1, Insightful)

deadweight (681827) | about 10 months ago | (#45305431)

You see the Tea Party as rational actors. Many of us see them as deluded fools - or "usefull idiots" - stirred up by puppet masters who have NO intention of actually bringing about TeaHadi Paradise.

Re:Mo money, mo money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45305445)

Well, I read the joke as if there were supposed to be 20 cookies in first place anyways, by cutting them, the "government cut" (salaries for congressman etc) was obviously still on the table. The teachers probably won't see anything but crumbles anyways.

Why isn't it built, and w do we know about it? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 10 months ago | (#45304251)

This is the kind of thing where I'd have expected them to say "here's the successor to the SR-71, and oh by the way it's been operational for 20 years." (And that they'd only be saying it now because the next black project is coming online and it's obsolete.)

But instead they're saying they actually didn't have anything in-use during that time? I'm disappointed!

Re:Why isn't it built, and w do we know about it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304359)

Remember all those spy satellite launches the media was talking about?

Exactly.

Trouble is sometimes you need intel in places you didn't already put something with an intersecting orbit (turns out Russia is kind of boring these days)

aviationweek.com down (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about 10 months ago | (#45304285)

Crashed and /.ed.

Affordable? (2)

Antipater (2053064) | about 10 months ago | (#45304293)

TFA won't load. But how "affordable" are we talking, here? Manhattan Project levels of affordable, or F-35 levels of "affordable"?

Re:Affordable? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#45304607)

Eh, less than $120,000/flight hour, pinkie swear!

More defence pork (0)

benjfowler (239527) | about 10 months ago | (#45304395)

More defence pork, more hopelessly expensive boondoggles of dubious usefulness for an already outrageously overpowered military.

Totally misconceived as well; something moving that fast is going be as noisy as hell, not to mention the fact that it'll stand out like dog's balls on IR. Undoubtedly, everyone else will be scrambling to develop lots of nasty defensive weapons to counter it.

Guess the spoilt brats in the military industrial complex need another cash cow; God knows they know how to milk them dry.

Re:More defence pork (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45304745)

More defence pork, more hopelessly expensive boondoggles of dubious usefulness for an already outrageously overpowered military.

Totally misconceived as well; something moving that fast is going be as noisy as hell, not to mention the fact that it'll stand out like dog's balls on IR. Undoubtedly, everyone else will be scrambling to develop lots of nasty defensive weapons to counter it.

Guess the spoilt brats in the military industrial complex need another cash cow; God knows they know how to milk them dry.

Terrible comment:

a) Mach 6 is an extremely useful engineering feat. If nothing else, having a vehicle that's going Mach 6 advances the state of the art in engineering for flight. You will probably eventually see some of that technology filtering into the general aviation fleet.

b) Have you ever even read the Wikipedia articles on the U-2 and SR-71 spyplanes? The U-2 was shot down once. The SR-71 was *never* shot down. No regime in existence today probably cares enough about an SR-72 to build weapons to counter it. Additionally, planes that fly at Mach 6 fly at very high altitudes, so even if you can see it on IR (and the precursors to today's stealth technology to HIDE IR were on the original SR-71), you probably wouldn't hear much if anything at all: there's that whole pesky energy dropoff as a function of R^2 and actually having to have more than a handful of molecules for atmosphere to actually conduct sound.

This is not necessarily a bad project. Not nearly as bad as, say, the B-2 or the F-35.

Please (5, Insightful)

The Cat (19816) | about 10 months ago | (#45304441)

This country can't build a web site. How the fuck are we going to build an SR-72?

but this one goes to 72! (2)

Thud457 (234763) | about 10 months ago | (#45304611)

Amazing plane, looks like a fish, moves like a fish, steers like a cow.
Will it be available in the traditional Hotblack Desiato livery?
Will it still leak oil straight off the showroom floor like a '57 Jaguar?

Re:Please (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 10 months ago | (#45304627)

This country can't build a web site. How the fuck are we going to build an SR-72?

Hey, be fair, If Obamacare actually had death panels, we probably would have gotten it right...

Re:Please (1)

sootman (158191) | about 10 months ago | (#45306505)

As long as ten million people don't need to fly it the first day, it'll probably be OK.

Re:Please (2)

osu-neko (2604) | about 10 months ago | (#45306507)

This country can't build a web site. How the fuck are we going to build an SR-72?

It's a matter of priorities. We can't build a website, but we sure as heck can build a warplane. We have a lot more experience at that, too...

your tax dollars at work (0)

Gravis Zero (934156) | about 10 months ago | (#45304447)

should we be spending billions to...

1) work toward reducing poverty in our nation?
2) make a faster plane to bomb the shit out of someone faster in a war that hasn't started yet?

No. "war on poverty" 50 years old, zero results (1, Insightful)

raymorris (2726007) | about 10 months ago | (#45304905)

The war on poverty began over 50 years ago and we've spent trillions of dollars, your dollars. The poverty rate is higher today than it was when the federal government started spending money on it 50 years ago.

So the answer is "no". The government should leave your money with you. You'll spend it, and the stores where you spend it will hire people. More jobs = less poverty.

Re:No. "war on poverty" 50 years old, zero results (2)

jandrese (485) | about 10 months ago | (#45305385)

1963 poverty rate: roughly 19%. 2013 rate: 15% Hooray. This is actually impressive given the tremendous increase in inequality between 1963 and today.

Re:No. "war on poverty" 50 years old, zero results (1, Insightful)

cusco (717999) | about 10 months ago | (#45305759)

Shame on you, confusing a poor teabagger with facts!

Re:No. "war on poverty" 50 years old, zero results (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45306265)

Eat a dick, you pedantic sycophant.

Re:No. "war on poverty" 50 years old, zero results (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45305903)

Yeah, and there certainly was not a class of people kept in poverty through inequality in this country in 1963...

Already exists or cancelled? (2)

Hobadee (787558) | about 10 months ago | (#45304655)

The fact that they announced this means 1 of 2 things.
1. The SR-72 has been in service for quite a while already.
-or-
2. Lockheed Martin proposed this to the military a while ago and they turned it down.

You really think *this* government would actually tell us about the latest and greatest?

Re:Already exists or cancelled? (1)

amorsen (7485) | about 10 months ago | (#45305337)

Aircraft development is getting so expensive that it cannot be hidden anymore.

Re:Already exists or cancelled? (2)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about 10 months ago | (#45305521)

third option: it's a red herring. They're building it to distract people away from the micro-ornithopters that we're really using to gather intelligence.

More Overpriced Toys For the Overgrown Kids... (1)

Carol Anne Ogdin (3404765) | about 10 months ago | (#45304901)

...in the Pentagon.

LIke we don't need to feed our poor, or anything.

Re:More Overpriced Toys For the Overgrown Kids... (1)

Xenkar (580240) | about 10 months ago | (#45305851)

The poor tend to then breed and create more poor to be fed, which makes the problem worse. If we just fed the poor instead of doing other things we'll never explore the galaxy or fix our bridges. I know it really pulls on your heart strings but sometimes you can't fix the problems in the world with simple gestures such as feeding all of the poor.

Double whammy (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about 10 months ago | (#45305089)

Not only are the team of engineers that could have done this work long since retired or dead, so too apparently is anyone that can put out a credible disinformation campaign.

Re:Double whammy (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#45305459)

The ghost of Kelly Johnson is said to walk the halls of the Skunk Works.

Skunk Works (1)

skaralic (676433) | about 10 months ago | (#45305299)

I just started reading the Skunk Works book [amazon.ca] by Ben Rich. He took over SW after Kelly Johnson stepped down in the 70s. So far it's a good read, enjoyable for any engineer...

How appropriate (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 10 months ago | (#45305343)

From the Slashdot fortune on the bottom of the page: When the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly. -- Donald Douglas

I guess the magazine articles are a good start.

AURORA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45305651)

Yeah, dohnuts-on-a-rope contrails.

High speed scram jets have been active since at least the 90s. Damn I watched video of one of them going faster than anything else in .ram format back then...

So yes, the replacement has been around for a long time...

Very Important Point... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45306125)

Who is the enemy that we need to justify this? I don't suppose it's Afghanistan? It's going to have to be a technologically impressive country a long way away to justify all that cost.

Expect to see American foreign policy starting to make enemies of Japan, Germany or South Korea. Perhaps Switzerland...?

model rocketeers had this years ago!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45306151)

Apogee had the SR-72 Darkbird a long time ago!

http://www.apogeerockets.com/Rocket_Kits/Skill_Level_4_Kits/SR-72_Darkbird

Didn't the Aurora displace the Blackbird? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#45306217)

The Area 51 tinfoil hat crowd say that the Aurora was built from UFO technology, and that is why it became so easy to retire the SR-71 virtually overnight.

There has to be a successor (1)

ZincFinger (982714) | about 10 months ago | (#45306417)

This aircraft was introduced in 1966. In the context of the times, it makes no sense whatsoever that the team behind the plane just patted themselves on the back and moved on to other projects. A plane that as of today is still 'state of the art'. Simple logic dictates that there was a succesor and most likely by now, incremental iterations of said plane. The SR 71 was not retired because its mission was obsolete nor because of costs, but because the plane itself was obsolete.
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