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Aircraft experts and military aficionados have cause to rejoice now that Lockheed Martin has debuted the SR-72 unmanned spy plane, the long-awaited successor to the SR-71 Blackbird and potentially the first hypersonic craft to enter service.
Plans for the SR-72 drone were first unveiled Friday in an Aviation Week article which revealed that Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works advanced development program has drafted plans for a plane that could fly as fast as Mach 6 - twice the speed of the Blackbird.
The SR-72 would have the ability to gather intelligence, conduct surveillance and reconnaissance, and launch combat strikes at an unprecedented speed. The plane is designed to fill what is considered in military circles to be a gap in capabilities between the spy satellites orbiting Earth and the manned and unmanned technology meant to replace the SR-71.
Lockheed Martin now believes it has encountered a technological breakthrough rendering the conversation around costs irrelevant.