Brad Leland: Lockheed, Aerojet Rocketdyne Collaborate on Hypersonic Spy Plane Design

Blackbird (Air Force photo)
Blackbird (Air Force photo)

Lockheed Martin plans to develop a reconnaissance plane to fly six times faster than the speed of sound and have it in the demonstration phase by 2018, Aviation Week reported Nov. 1.

Guy Norris writes the company’s Skunk Works division intends for the SR-72 to be the successor to the SR-71 Blackbird, which was retired from the U.S. Air Force nearly two decades ago.

“Skunk Works has been working with Aerojet Rocketdyne for the past seven years to develop a method to integrate an off-the-shelf turbine with a scramjet to power the aircraft from standstill to Mach 6 plus, ” Brad Leland, portfolio manager for Lockheed’s air-breathing hypersonic technologies, said to Aviation Week.

 “Our approach builds on HTV-3X, but this extends a lot beyond that and addresses the one key technical issue that remained on that program: the high-speed turbine engine, ” he added.

Norris reports the HTV-3X was a hypersonic program for the U.S. Air Force and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that ended in 2008 without a demonstration.

DARPA intended to develop a turbojet-powered aircraft that could accelerate to Mach 6 speeds by using a scramjet and then return to land, according to the report.

Skunk Works also aims for the SR-72 to fill gaps in coverage for satellites, subsonic manned and unmanned platforms, Norris reports.

You may also be interested in...

DISA

DISA Seeks Potential FAMIS-WCF Financial System Sustainment, Enhancement Support Sources

The Defense Information Systems Agency has started to seek information on potential vendors that could help enhance and provide sustainment support for DISA’s Financial Accounting Management Information System for the Working Capital Funds platform.

Potomac Officers Club Hosts PNT Superiority on the Future Battlefield

Potomac Officers Club’s Ensuring PNT Superiority on the Future Battlefield Hosted Expert Panel to Discuss Defense Resilience and Capabilities

During Potomac Officers Club’s Ensuring PNT Superiority on the Future Battlefield Virtual Event, an expert panel, comprised of notable leaders across the defense sector, took the stage to discuss how military PNT capabilities have become vital to the nation’s ability to shape the global environment, deter aggression, and fight and win wars, now and in the future.