It is no secret that the legendary Skunk Works team has been hard at work developing a successor the SR-71 Blackbird but they are still being pretty tight-lipped about it. However, some details of the development project were reportedly leaked by an insider that there has been significant progress on the elusive project. So what are the exact details that have emerged about the SR-72 project?
A subscale demonstrator aircraft resembling the mock-up SR-72 was spotted earlier at the Skunk Works facility in Palmdale. There have also been reports of a small unidentified aircraft landing flying through the area but no one has achieved clear enough view. When asked for commentary on these rumors a representative from Lockheed Martin had this to say.
“Hypersonics is like stealth. It is a disruptive technology and will enable various platforms to operate at two to three times the speed of the Blackbird… Security classification guidance will only allow us to say the speed is greater than Mach 5.”
– Orlando Carvalho (Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President of Aeronautics)
So there is something in the works and they have provided a rough visual of the project in the picture seen above. But it goes a little further than that after they were questioned about a subscale model.
“According to information provided to Aviation Week, one such technology demonstrator, believed to be an unmanned subscale aircraft, was observed flying into the U.S. Air Force’s Plant 42 at Palmdale, where Skunk Works is headquartered. The vehicle, which was noted landing in the early hours at an unspecified date in late July, was seen with two T-38 escorts. Lockheed Martin declined to comment directly on the sighting.”
– Aviation Week
There is only so much they can talk about but it sounds like they have something up in the air.