In an interview with Aviation Week, Lockheed Martin Advanced Development Programs chief Rob Weiss revealed new details of the SR-72, the proposed ultra-secret Blackbird successor designed to reach Mach 6 with advanced hypersonic technology developed by Skunk Works and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. And according to the Skunk Works chief, the company is inching toward a “sufficiently mature” flight demonstrator.
“We’ve been saying hypersonics is two years away for the last 20 years, but all I can say is the technology is mature and we, along with DARPA and the services, are working hard to get that capability into the hands of our warfighters as soon as possible,” Weiss told Aviation Week.
The revelations from Weiss are the first since Lockheed Martin and the Air Force announced the development of an SR-72 flight demonstrator in 2013.
Over the last four years, Skunk Works has been busy. While technical details of the next-gen recon jet’s engines are (obviously) scant, Aviation Week notes that Lockheed Martin partnered with aerospace and defense firm Aerojet Rocketdyne in 2006 to develop a combined cycle engine that, by incorporating the more advantageous functions of a scramjet, could accelerate the SR-72 to Mach 6 in minimal time.
The SR-71B Blackbird, flown by the Dryden Flight Research Center as NASA 831, slices across the snow-covered southern Sierra Nevada Mountains of California after being refueled by an Air Force tanker during a 1994 flight. SR-71B was the trainer version of the SR-71.Photo via DoD/Wikimedia Commons
“The combined cycle work is still occurring and obviously a big breakthrough in the air-breathing side of hypersonics is the propulsion system,” Weiss told Aviation Week. “So this is not just on combined cycle but on other elements of propulsion systems.”
According to Weiss, the SR-72 demonstrator’s development is based on the HTV-3X reusable hypersonic demonstrator, developed as part of DARPA’s Falcon program but scrapped by the Air Force in 2008. And following what Weiss described as “critical” ground tests, Lockheed Martin is “on track to begin development of an optionally piloted flight research vehicle (FRV)” by 2018, with flight testing by the late 2020s, according to Aviation Week.
“I can’t give you any timelines or any specifics on the capabilities. It is all very sensitive,” Weiss told the magazine. “Some of our adversaries are moving along these lines pretty quickly and it is important we stay quiet about what is going on.”
Let’s just hope it handles better than the X-Men’s ride:
The seizure of a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is the latest example of how tensions between the U.S. and Iran have spilled into one of the world's most strategic and vital waterways for oil. Since May, Iran has been accused of harassing and attacking oil tankers in the strait.
As the British government continues to investigate Friday's seizure, experts worry that it raises the potential of a military clash. However, they also say it offers a lens into Iran's strategy toward the U.S.
Here is a look at what's been happening and why the Strait of Hormuz matters.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump, speaking at a White House meeting with visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, said on Monday the United States is working with Islamabad to find a way out of the war in Afghanistan.
Trump held out the possibility of restoring U.S. aid to Pakistan, depending upon what is worked out, and offered assistance to Islamabad in trying to ease strained ties with India.
The Navy has identified the missing sailor from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln as Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Saldana, who was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 5, with Carrier Air Wing 7.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force has suspended paying incentive fees at all 21 military housing bases operated by landlord Balfour Beatty Communities following a Reuters-CBS News report that the company falsified maintenance records at an Oklahoma base to help it qualify for millions of dollars in bonuses.
The wait is over: the Marine Corps's brand new sniper is officially ready for action.
The Mk13 Mod 7 sniper rifle reached full operational capacity earlier this year after extensive testing, Marine Corps Systems Command announced on Wednesday. Now, the new rifle is finally available in both scout snipers and recon Marine arsenals.