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The SR-71 Blackbird Avoided 4,000 Shots

Although no SR-71 was lost to enemy fire, the fast Blackbird was eventually grounded due to political bickering and a lack of finances.

Regarding top speed, the Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” was unrivaled. No possible interceptor could have caught it. A Blackbird attained an incredible 2,193.167 miles per hour on July 28, 1976, one of many speed records set by the aircraft throughout its nearly 25 years of operation. Its muzzle velocity of 3,216.4 feet per second was quicker than the 2,800 feet per second of a bullet fired from a World War II-era M1 Garand rifle.

It was the SR-71’s unparalleled speed that made it famous. In the same way that no plane could outrun it, no missiles could either. During its service life, a dozen Blackbirds were lost to accidents, but no planes were ever destroyed by enemy fire. Reportedly, it could avoid being hit by any of the 4,000 missiles launched in its direction.

No one in history has gotten a radar lock on this incredibly fast U.S. Air Force aircraft used for spying. The Swedish-made Saab J37 Viggen fighter could get a missile lock and visually contact the fast spy plane, not a Soviet interceptor like the MiG-25.

U. Similarly, U.S. Air Force pilots would practice against a Blackbird in training.

In his book, The Complete Book of the SR-71 Blackbird: The Illustrated Profile of Every Aircraft, Crew, and Breakthrough of the World’s Fastest Stealth Jet, former Blackbird driver Colonel Richard H. Graham, USAF (Ret. ), reveals that two fighters could achieve (simulated) SR-71 kills, but only under certain conditions, as reported by TheAvaitionGeekClub.

According to reports, U.S. fighter jets could only zero in on the SR-71 when the Blackbird’s crew disabled the plane’s anti-aircraft defenses.

“One fascinating discovery from those flights, notably the Eagle Bait, was that they couldn’t even find us when shut everything down, and we told them exactly where we were,” former SR-71 pilot Dave Peters elaborated. The F-15’s radar revealed a speed gate set at 1500 kt. From the year 1850 until the year 2000, we were leisurely warping along. So, in their eyes, we did not exist.

Unfortunately, operating the SR-71 was too expensive to be viable.

The SR-71 was unable to outrun its price tag.

A lot of money has to be spent on the plane. The aircraft’s skin and landing gear were constructed using rare Soviet titanium, which the CIA had to buy at great expense. With the Blackbird in mind, BF Goodrich created a unique set of tires with aluminum reinforcements. The tires could handle no more than twenty landings before they wore out.

About $200,000 was spent each hour to run the plane. While being superior in capability to the Lockheed U-2, the Blackbird’s price was a major issue. The last Blackbird flew in 1989. As a result, many SR-71s were donated to museums while maintained others in reserve.

The SR-71 program revival occurred in the early 1990s since no suitable replacement. The airplane was part of a controversial political discussion about U.S. intelligence policy that put lawmakers at odds with the Pentagon; proponents in Congress questioned the Pentagon’s decision not to fly the Blackbird over Bosnia and other international flashpoints at the time.

The Air Force claimed the old warbird couldn’t take advantage of its newer technology because its cameras only took still images, which were impossible to transmit through video to the ground. Instead, the CIA and Defense Department used satellites and drones to keep a watch on the skies. Some who defend the SR-71 pointed out that could shoot drones could be shot down and that enemy forces could predict when incoming satellites would pass overhead.

The SR-71 was able to make a comeback in part due to the abundance of spare parts and the fact that they had previously purchased the planes. The Blackbird was revived from retirement for under $72 million, thanks to the efforts of Lockheed Martin’s secretive Skunk Works division.

But they received the reactivation with even more opposition from America’s enemies than the plane. To put the Blackbird back into service would have required reallocating resources away from other programs in which the Air Force leadership has no interest. Due to the high controversy surrounding the matter, former President Bill Clinton attempted a line-item veto of the reauthorized funds from Congress. As the U. The U.S. Supreme Court decided that it violated the Constitution.

The series ended in 1998 and was never revived. Before retirement in 1999, NASA flew the last two operational Blackbirds. No other reconnaissance plane has ever accomplished what this one did. Although no SR-71 was lost to enemy fire, the fast Blackbird was eventually grounded due to political bickering and a lack of finances.

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