It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The need for such a swift strategic reconnaissance aircraft became apparent in 1960, when the Blackbird's subsonic predecessor, the U-2, was rendered a sitting duck by Russian radar. The Skunk Works, Lockheed's secretive advanced development division, succeeded in getting a test version--the A-12--off the ground at Groom Lake (a.k.a. Area 51) in April, 1962--development as head-spinningly fast as the aircraft itself. Even more astonishing was the tech, frequently summed up at the time as "black magic." Topping a long list of revolutionary components were monstrous Pratt & Whitney J58 jet engines and a design that drastically reduced radar signature, pioneering "stealth" technology. If Russian missiles ever did manage to lock on to a Blackbird, it could simply outrun them. Said a sign over the entrance to an SR-71 base, "Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil--For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."
So in less than 70 years we went from barely flight to our current record speed, and then in the next fifty years.... Seems a bit fishy,