posted on Aug, 5 2021 @ 05:17 PM
When the XB-70 was originally conceived, the only real threats to bombers were the antiaircraft gun and interceptors. By flying high and fast, the
XB-70 could get in and be on the way out before fighters could get to their altitude, and guns would have to be ridiculously huge. Bombers had been
going higher and faster, with the B-58 capable of a top speed of Mach 2. Then the SAM came along, and the B-70 could perform barely better than the
B-52 at low altitude, so the infighting started, and we ended up with what was basically a research platform. The XB-70 was actually first design in
the high speed flight race. The XB-70 program of record was initiated in 1955, under the WS-110A program, while the A-12 was initiated in 1957, under
Project Oxcart. The A-12 beat the XB-70 out in terms of first flight though.
Interestingly, at the end of the program, it was designated the RS-70, with the eventual SR-71 initially designated the RS-71 (and the bit about
Johnson misspeaking at the revealing is an urban legend).