Lockheed Martin’s mysterious SR-72 — the fastest plane ever

In 2013, Lockheed Martin announced development of the successor to the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane.

The SR-71 was capable of reaching speeds over three times the speed of sound, and the SR-72 is intended to have even more impressive specs. Following is a transcript of the video.

The SR-72 is the successor to the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane, which was the fastest plane to ever exist.

Built by Lockheed Martin in the 1960s, the SR-71 could reach speeds exceeding Mach 3 (above 2,200 mph). That's over 3 times faster than the speed of sound. The recon jets went out of service in 1998.

Development of the SR-72 was announced in 2013.

It will be headed by "Skunk Works," Lockheed's advanced development program. Lockheed calls the SR-72 a "game changer." The jet will be an unmanned hypersonic aircraft.

Lockheed claims it will reach speeds topping Mach 6 — over 4,500 mph — and they also want the jet to do more than just recon missions, including the ability to strike targets.

Experts say the jet could reach anywhere in the world within an hour.

Rumors of sightings have flooded the internet. Recently, an unmanned aircraft was seen at a Skunk Works facility. Reports say it could have been an early test for the SR-72. Lockheed confirmed plans to fly a research vehicle in the early 2020s.

If all goes well, it may not be long before the fastest plane ever hits the skies.

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WORLDS FASTEST Aircraft US Air Force SR-71 Blackbird Mini Documentary

A great Mini Documentary video on the world famous US Air Force aircraft the SR-71 Blackbird that was used for observation flights over the Soviet Union.
BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.–Twenty-six years ago today, Beale said goodbye to the fastest air-breathing jet in the world, the SR-71 Blackbird.

The Blackbird was an advanced, long-range, supersonic strategic reconnaissance aircraft that called Beale Air Force Base home from January 1966 to January 1990.

But for Master Sgt. Floyd Jones (ret.) and a local group of former Blackbird maintainers, the mission continues, not with turning wrenches, but with the same elbow grease.

"It's not glamorous but it needs to be done," said Jones, who worked on the Blackbird for nearly 20 years.

Floyd and members of The Blackbird Maintainers group wash and scrub down the SR-71 periodically to ensure the static display is looking its best.

"It's a beautiful aircraft," said Master Sgt. (ret.) John Olp, a 10-year Blackbird veteran. "But some of the local wildlife prefer to roost on it."

Local birds, weather, wind and dust are all contributing factors that lead to the Blackbird getting an occasional bath.

"We try not to let it get too dirty," Jones said. "We take a pressure washer to it and scrub it down, it takes a couple of hours but we have a goodtime with it."

In addition to the Blackbird Maintainers, the 9th Maintenance Squadron intermittently performs spot cleaning on the aircraft.

Jones said that for many former maintainers it's just another way to reconnect with fellow servicemen and trade "war stories" about the Air Force and the aircraft they enjoyed working on.

"It's a rare plane," Jones said. "We have to take care of it for future generations to cherish."

Developed in secrecy by Lockheed's Skunk Works division in Palmdale, California, only 32 were built. None were ever lost to enemy action.

"This jet was ahead of its time," Jones said. "We all love this aircraft and none of us mind taking care of her into the retirement years."

Video Description Credit: Staff Sgt. Robert Trujillo

Thumbnail Credit: TSgt. Michael Haggerty Modified by ArmedForcesUpdate