posted on May, 21 2015 @ 11:36 AM
I think they may have some aircraft that replaced the mission of the SR-71. However, that doesn't mean they have an aircraft with the characteristics
of this SR-72.
What I mean is that I don't think they have yet put into practice a plane that has spanned the "Mach 3 Chasm" -- i.e., a plane that can go from zero
to Mach 6 on its own; a plane that can take off from a runway under turbine power, and then use that turbine engine reach a speed fast enough for the
ramjet/scramjet to take over.
Right now, turbines can get them up to about mach 2.5. A ramjet/scramjet needs a velocity of about mach 3 to mach 3.5 before they kick in. The "Mach
3 Chasm" is the apparent gap between current turbine engine technology and the speeds required for a scramjet to become operational.
It wouldn't surprise me if they have a spy plane in use today that is using the ramjet/scramjet technology to reach mach 6, but perhaps it needs an
assist to get up to that speed, and does not do it on its own.
However, it seems the point of this new SR-72 program is to develop a turbine engine that can get them from zero to mach 3.5 or higher on its own, to
then allow the ramjet and scramjet to kick in. So the SR-71 may have a working successor, but maybe not with the complete
single-plane-takeoff-to-landing that they want from the SR-72.
edit on 5/21/2015 by Soylent Green Is People because: (no reason given)