posted on Aug, 4 2004 @ 01:57 AM
If this plane is a true successor to the Blackbird then it would have already been in use for about 14 years since 1990. So since it would have been
well over a decade since its been in use I could see the some tidbits of info comming out now. There is not really anything that is all that secret in
that article its alittle vague .
Why people thought the SR-71 was retired
the three most commonly known reasons are:
1The SR-71 is getting too old to maintain and/or it was too expensive
2Satellites could do it all
3Never stated officially, but was widely believed, was that the Blackbird was being retired because a superior replacement was entering service
At least two of those reasons don't hold up:
1Maintaining: The Blackbird was in good shape. There were more than enough of many components (including engines) in storage to last as far out as you
wanted to project. In fact, there are still hundreds of millions of dollars of parts, already paid for, in stock.
Cost: Regarding cost, the SR-71 was not cheap. The cost of running the SR-71 fleet in the 1980s was $260 million annually. ABC News has stated that
the cost of a single reconnaissance satellite is about $1 billion. It isn't cheap, but it isn't too expensive. It costs $50,000 an hour to fly the
SR on a routine basis.
2 It wasn't a lack of work that sent the Blackbirds into retirement, there were far more requests for SR-71 time than there were aircraft to fly the
3 The Aurora? Maybe…
Why it was re-activated
1 Blackbird supporters said this all was a big mistake, but really no one listened to them
2 Less than a year after the record flight it became apparent that it was a big mistake. When Desert Shield began, Gen. Schwarzkopf was reported to
have asked for the SR-71 very early on. It is known that very soon after Saddam moved into Kuwait, USAF approached Lockheed and asked how long it
would take to restore SR-71 operations. Lockheed's response was that depending on the priority and if USAF could supply the sensor packages (USAF had
them and even Lockheed didn't know where they were), the first one could be operational in 14 days and the next one around thirty days after that
(remember, they hadn't been out of service that long at this point). There was no response for a number of weeks and then Lockheed was directed to
forget the whole thing.