posted on Oct, 8 2005 @ 02:49 PM
For the record, the top speed and altitude capabilities of the Blackbirds have long since been declassified. The aircraft had a design cruise speed of
Mach 3.2 or approximately 2,100 mph (it would crusie a little faster or slower depending on outside air temperature because it was limited by
structural heating factors). Max design altitude was 90,000 feet, but only if it was lightly loaded. It could not carry a useable payload to that
altitude so operational missions were typically flown between 75,000 and 85,000 feet.
Fastest known flights:
YF-12A (60-6936), Mach 3.14 (2,070 mph), 1 May 1965
A-12 (60-6928), Mach 3.29 (2,171 mph), 8 May 1965
SR-71A (61-7972), Mach 3.32 (2,193 mph), 27 July 1976
Highest known flights:
YF-12A (60-6936), 80,257 feet, 1 May 1965
SR-71A (61-7953), 86,700 feet, 1967 or 1968
A-12 (60-6932), 90,000 feet, 14 August 1965
Hostile forces attempted intercepts of operational A-12 and SR-71 missions using aircraft and surface-to-air missiles. Only one SAM ever got close
enough to put a tiny piece of shrapnel in an A-12. The Blackbirds did not rely only on speed and altitude. They also had sophisticated electronic
countermeasures that could jam enemy missiles' control systems or give the missiles new commands.