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Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The successor to Lockheed Martin’s SR-71 Blackbird, the Mach 3 long-range recon aircraft that once tore across the skies like a Cold-War era arrowhead before its retirement in 1999, may be inching closer toward reality.

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Photo via DoD/NASA

The long-range SR-71 Blackbird recon jet, dreamed up by Lockheed Martin’s famed Skunk Works division, has a reputation for a reason.

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Photo via DoD/Wikimedia Commons

The SR-71 Blackbird — the long-range Mach 3 recon and strike jet dreamed up by Lockheed Martin’s legendary Skunk Works division, world’s fastest jet-propelled aircraft, and preferred delivery craft for unusually talented multinational paramilitary squads — may be among the most awe-inspiring aircraft in the history of manned flight, engineered to literally outrun enemy missiles with the slip of a switch. And while the iconic hypersonic jet was retired by the Air Force in 1990, its successor’s elegant design may scream across the horizon sooner than expected.

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