Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird: A Record-Breaking Marvel Faster Than Bullets


The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, renowned for its unparalleled speed and altitude capabilities, surpassed the velocity of a bullet, cruising at a mind-boggling Mach 3+, equivalent to over 2,200 miles per hour, and soaring up to 85,000 feet.

Former United States Air Force (USAF) Master Sergeant and author of 'Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird: The Illustrated History of America's Legendary Mach 3 Spy Plane,' Jim Goodhall, revealed that the SR-71A reached a staggering Mach 3.43 in 1974, hitting a speed of 2,610.9 mph – more than three times the speed of sound.

In comparison, while the fastest bullet, the Winchester .220 Swift, reaches 2,800 mph when leaving the rifle barrel, it quickly decelerates due to external forces like air resistance and gravity. The SR-71 Blackbird, however, maintained its exceptional speed, defying the limitations faced by projectiles.

Crafted by Lockheed's Skunk Works unit in response to the U-2 spy plane incident in 1960, the SR-71 Blackbird was designed to be invisible to radar, utilizing advanced stealth technology. With a skin predominantly made of titanium and coated in heat-emitting black paint, the aircraft earned its iconic nickname.

The USAF retired the SR-71 Blackbird in 1998, shifting focus to satellites and unmanned drones for surveillance. Lockheed's new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the "SR-72," is currently in development and set to debut in 2025.

Notably, the SR-71 Blackbird set the New York to London speed record, covering the distance in a remarkable 1 hour, 54 minutes, and 56 seconds during the 1974 Farnborough Air Show, leaving an indelible mark in aviation history.



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