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SR-71 Used as a Weapon?

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posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 05:00 PM
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The Lockheed SR-71 'Blackbird' was designed from scratch by the fabled Skunk Works.

It was designed purely as a recon bird. As such, only KH-11 ReconSats can fly higher and it has never been bettered.

As far as using the Blackbird to create a sonic boom a la Firefox, the practicalities circumvent this.

The fuel the SR-71 uses leaks from the bird while it sits on the ground. Only when she is flying at Mach whatever in space at max speed does
the airframe expand to seal the gaps.

At low altitude, the friction and heat generated as she flies in low-low-low mode, would be insufficient to help the airframe expand.

There is little to be gained militarily from using this very expensive aircraft as a noise generator especially as Harriers, Tornados and F-16s have shown in Afghanistan, they are more than capable of doing the job.




posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 05:18 PM
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Originally posted by punkinworks09
the sr-71 started out as the a-12 a supersonic nuclear armed interceptor, it was designed to carry the genie nuclear anti aircraft missle.

Mach 14 is bs


Not Quite.

The A-12 was a single seat recce aircraft purpose built for the CIA as a notational replacement for the U-2. It was the succesor to the ill fated SUNTAN project which looked at hydrogen as a fuel source.

The YF-12 was a variant of which 3 were built which was designed as an interceptor. It is easily identifed by the modified front chines to accamodate the radar. It also had stabalizers below the engine nacels to compensate for the the modified chines. It did success in launching AAM's from FL80 and at Mach 3 during test. The missile used was the AIM-47 Falcon. AT no point was it nuclear armed

A notational YB-12 was proposed which was a bomber variant and such novel items as kinetic enery rounds were explored as possible weapons to be carried but never went beyond the design board.

The SR-71 was a different animal built for SAC and the AF for recce and post strike work.



posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 05:24 PM
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Getting back to the OP's post,

It is unlikely that the SR-71 would be used in such a manner. For starters the airframe is not stressed like a fighter esp. at speed. Thats why it has such a huge turning radius. Its fram cannot handle the stress.

Also the heat generated by the friction of the passing air was at the limit of its airframe. At lower altitude even if the turbines could generate enough thrust to propel the airframe at Mach 3 at sea level it would melt well before that.

At one point during the Vietnam war 3 Habu flights intersected over the Hanoi Hilton generating 3 near simultanous sonic booms. It is unknow why they did this, but it was on pourpose.

 


The OP question does have merit. Project Pluto which would have used a nuclear ramjet to power an unmanned UAV at Mach 3 at sea level. As it progressed about its mission, the sonic bomb at such a low altitude would be fatal in close proximity and cause damage. As a bonus the nuclear exhaust was unifomly fatal if the boom did not get you. After it dropped its 10-20 hydrogen bomb the vehicle would then crash into its final target with nasty results



posted on Feb, 17 2009 @ 05:44 PM
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One use of sonic booms would be to disorient and confuse - was used to
such a purpose in 1977 during 3 week terrorist siege of hijacked train.
Dutch commandos used 6 F104 Starfighter jets to make low passes
over train. Planes then went in zoom climb and lit off afterburners
only few feet above train. The noise was used to disorient the terrorists
and cover the approach of commandos - who then opened fire on train
car hijackers were sleeping in killing 6.


en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 07:00 AM
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Originally posted by fritz
The Lockheed SR-71 'Blackbird' was designed from scratch by the fabled Skunk Works.

It was designed purely as a recon bird. As such, only KH-11 ReconSats can fly higher and it has never been bettered.


The SR-71 was a development of the A-12 airframe and YF-12A demonstrator, it was not 'designed from scratch'.

It also does not hold the highest altitude record for a manned air-breathing jet aircraft - that is held by the MiG-25M during a flight in 1977.



The fuel the SR-71 uses leaks from the bird while it sits on the ground. Only when she is flying at Mach whatever in space at max speed does
the airframe expand to seal the gaps.

At low altitude, the friction and heat generated as she flies in low-low-low mode, would be insufficient to help the airframe expand.


Actually, high speed at low altitude will have a greater heating effect on the airframe, as there is more friction due to the greater density atmosphere at low altitudes.

Also, the SR-71 did not fly in 'space', ever.



posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 12:59 PM
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Originally posted by thedman
One use of sonic booms would be to disorient and confuse - was used to
such a purpose in 1977 during 3 week terrorist siege of hijacked train.
Dutch commandos used 6 F104 Starfighter jets to make low passes
over train. Planes then went in zoom climb and lit off afterburners
only few feet above train. The noise was used to disorient the terrorists
and cover the approach of commandos - who then opened fire on train
car hijackers were sleeping in killing 6.


en.wikipedia.org...


I am pretty sure they did not fly over Mach 1 on top of the train.



posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 01:59 PM
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I believe the F-12B was intended to have a strike capability using the AGM-76, the AN/ASG-18 fire control system originally developed for the F-108 was designed to control both the AIM-47 AAM (predecessor to AIM-54 Phoenix) and AGM-76.

I believe the YF-12 did fire some ten or so XAGM-76A's during testing.

The production version of AGM-76 would have had an optional 250kt nuclear warhead.



posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 02:06 PM
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Originally posted by RichardPrice Also, the SR-71 did not fly in 'space', ever.


I think you'll find that it may have done, on a mission to mission basis. The Blackbird's operational ceiling has been set at 'over' 85,000 feet or 16 miles: www.fas.org...

This is beyond the earth's atmosphere and, as far as most people are concerned, this is where 'space' begins:

www.astroprofspage.com/archives/80

However, I am willing to concede the point if you are an AstroPhysicist - like me!



posted on Feb, 18 2009 @ 02:35 PM
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Originally posted by fritz

Originally posted by RichardPrice Also, the SR-71 did not fly in 'space', ever.


I think you'll find that it may have done, on a mission to mission basis. The Blackbird's operational ceiling has been set at 'over' 85,000 feet or 16 miles: www.fas.org...

This is beyond the earth's atmosphere and, as far as most people are concerned, this is where 'space' begins:

www.astroprofspage.com/archives/80

However, I am willing to concede the point if you are an AstroPhysicist - like me!


The commonly accepted boundary of 'space' is 328,000 feet, 62.1 miles, or 100km - the Kármán line, being the height at which you must maintain your altitude via orbital velocity rather than aerodynamic lift.

NASA also defines an astronaut, or someone who has been into space, as someone who achieves an altitude of more than 264,000 feet, 50 miles or 80km.

The SR-71 never, ever got anywhere near 'space', by any accepted definition.



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 04:07 AM
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The only instance of the Blackbird being used possibly as a psychological weapon was in Vietnam - as mentioned in "Skunk Works".

3 of them were tasked to fly over the infamous Hanoi Hilton, at differing altitudes, at exactly the same time to create three booms in rapid succession. No one seems to know what the purpose was for the mission - either it was a signal, or it was for psychological purposes.

You could also argue that the daily run along the DMZ in Korea was a psychological effort to keep reminding the NK's that their positions were being observed at will, and they had nothing to counter the SR-71's capabilites of looking into their country.



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 04:22 AM
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Where is IntelGurl when she is needed, I know she would have a means of adding something to the techical aspect of this question.



posted on Feb, 19 2009 @ 04:42 AM
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Actually, high speed at low altitude will have a greater heating effect on the airframe, as there is more friction due to the greater density atmosphere at low altitudes.

Sr-71 was limited to 450 KEAS at low altitude, which was about Mach .7.

www.sr-71.org...



posted on Mar, 3 2009 @ 05:08 PM
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When I was serving at RAF Biggin-Hill during the late 70's, we had a fly over by an SR 71. It was tracked over the Atlantic by the UKWMO / BMEWS sites at Saxa Vord, Fylingdale and Neatishead.

The thing is the Blackbird was going so fast, that it missed Biggin-Hill and most of the south-eastern portion of the UK. Apparently (so the story goes) in order to overfly our site, the SR-71 had to complete a 180 turn over Holland to get back on the correct flight path.

When you think this through to a natural conclusion, it would be almost impossible to use the Blackbird as a high speed, high altitude bomber.

The concept of a high altitude, supersonic long range strategic bomber is not new. You only have to look at the Blackjack and the B1-B to see that.

I can see the Blackbird being used as some type of long range cruise missile platform - a 'shoot & scoot' type of bomber but using it as a conventional bomber?

I don't think it could be done.



posted on Mar, 3 2009 @ 06:05 PM
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reply to post by mdiinican
 


Low altitude didn't have as much to do with it. The Concorde was capable of causing damage going supersonic at 50,000 feet. They can cause just as much damage from overpressure at high altitude as at low. The shape of the aircraft has a lot to do with it.



posted on Mar, 3 2009 @ 11:41 PM
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Aside from the shockwave effect, I still think the F-12B would have made for an amazing strike capability.

Imagine an aircraft essentially immune to interception, cruising at Mach 3, each able to launch four Mach 4 PGM's at 100nm range, from the other side of an ocean. Imagine having 93 (the original number budgeted) of these things, that could also serve as interceptors with the same amazing performance.

That's a capability our military planners no doubt would love to have now - 40 years later!



posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 12:06 AM
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reply to post by xmotex
 


As far as I know the YF-12/F-12 was going to carry only Air to Air missiles. They weren't designed for ground attack weapons. They were only going to use the GAR-9/AIM-47 missiles. They DID have a low yield nuclear warhead for the AIM-47.

The AIM-76 project was headed by the YF-12 SPO, and used many of the same components as the -47.



posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 12:21 AM
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The Wikipedia entry for AGM-76 mentions that it was intended for the nuclear strike mission on the F-108 Rapier and later the F-12B, but I know I've come across other discussions of the F-12B's intended secondary strike role as well.

I will see if I can find better documentation.

EDIT: here is secondary documentation at Encyclopedia Astronautica.

[edit on 3/4/09 by xmotex]



posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 12:30 AM
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I grew up with sonic booms in the 1950s, directed close air support in Vietnam in 1968 and 69 and saw the SR-71 take off and land twice..... Seeing a SR-71 blast down a runway and be out of site in seconds, will totally redefine what your perception of speed is..... It was years before I had any idea what they called the thing, it was so hush hush back then.... It was over 40 years ago that I first saw it fly and it is still supposed to be the fastest aircraft that ever flew..... 40 years before I saw it fly ,the military only had biplanes. That makes me wonder how we progressed so much so soon, and I can't even imagine what The Skunk Works has created that is faster, if they have.



posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 02:39 PM
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reply to post by xmotex
 


That's the only page that I've come across that mentions the F-12 and the -76. All of the information that I've ever come across says that the YF-12A only fired betwee 3 and 7 shots, all AIM-47s. The F-12B never flew so it couldn't have fired anything..



posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 03:33 PM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by xmotex
 


That's the only page that I've come across that mentions the F-12 and the -76. All of the information that I've ever come across says that the YF-12A only fired betwee 3 and 7 shots, all AIM-47s. The F-12B never flew so it couldn't have fired anything..



7, AIM-47 Shots between Mach 2.16 an 3.26. All AIM-47

The firing on 04/25/66 hit the target (QB-47) Flying at 1100 feet, the YF-12 was at 75,000 and Mach3.22- nose on shot




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