The SR-71 aircraft is a famous Mach 3+ spy plane. This is the fastest aircraft ever known to be in service with an air force. The large, delta-winged SR-71 gets is performance from the unusual J-58 engines, that act at as ramjets at high altitude and speed. It was related to the the YF-12 fighter and its precessor, the A-12 CIA-operated spy aircraft. Recently, the a number of SR-71s was put back in service from a premature retirement. The SR-71 Blackbird strategic reconnaissance aircraft was developed by the Advanced Developments Projects Division at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works. It is the world’s fastest and highest
flying aircraft to reach full-scale development and production. SR-71 aircraft are assigned to the 9th Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base and operate from Edwards Air Force Base, California.
hypersonic aircraft and propulsion systems. SR-71 has a crew of two, pilot and reconnaissance officer. The aircraft is unarmed but is equipped with an electronic countermeasures (ECM) system.
The airframe structure is mainly of titanium and titanium alloys capable of withstanding the heat generated by sustained supersonic flight. The aircraft’s control surfaces are: the all-moving nearly vertical tail surfaces above each engine nacelle; the ailerons forming the trailing edge on the outer wings, which provide control in roll; and the elevators on the trailing edges between the engine exhausts, which govern the pitch of the aircraft.
The aircraft, which can survey 100,000 square miles per hour, is equipped with a suite of intelligence sensors, including the Lockheed Martin ASARS-1 Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar, which provides all weather day and night intelligence data. ASARS-1 is installed in the nose of the aircraft. The Common Data Link (CDL), operating at 274 Mbs, can be used to download the data gathered by the ASARS to a ground station. The CDL operates over a 300 nautical mile line of sight. If the aircraft is out of range of a ground station, ASARS data can be stored on the DCR recorder installed in the aircraft. The stored data can be processed when the aircraft has landed or can be transmitted via the downlink when the aircraft is next in range of a ground station.
According to the particular mission requirement, a panoramic Optical Bar Camera can be installed in the nose of the aircraft instead of the ASARS radar. The Litton Itek Optical Bar Camera is a wide angle system using high resolution wet film. The point and shoot framing camera installed on the port and starboard side of the aircraft is the Boeing Technical Objective Camera (TEOC) which uses wet film. A 25 megapixel electrooptic
sensor backplane, integrated into the TEOC, has been demonstrated in flight trials. The SR-71 can carry two wet film TEOCs, two electro-optical TEOCs or one of each. The NASA SR-71 aircraft being used as high speed high altitude testbeds are fitted with sensors for aeronautical research. The SR-71 has been used as a camera platform for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. An upward looking ultraviolet camera is installed in the nosebay. A downward looking camera is used to study rocket engine exhaust signatures, volcano plumes and the spectrum of the earth’s atmosphere.
The Blackbird SR-71 has two Pratt and Whitney J-58 axial flow turbo-jet engines with afterburners, each generating a thrust of 32,500 pounds. The aircraft can achieve a speed over Mach 3.2, more than 2200 miles per hour, and altitudes more than 85,000 feet. The aircraft carries 12,200 gallons (84,000 pounds) of fuel. The unrefuelled range is more than 2000 miles. An in-flight refuelling receptacle is located on the centreline top of the fuselage.