There have been reports about the US developing hypersonic drones and weapons by 2040, but with flight test already underway seems will reach its goals sooner than expected. Lockheed Martin’s SR-72 will help in this case as it has already reached the testing phase will be ready before time.
SR-72 is developed by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works division will replace the iconic SR- 71 Blackbird, which was retired in 1998. The SR-73 is being projected to bring a “hypersonic revolution”. SR 72 with speeds reaching upto Mach 6 which is six times the speed of sound or approximately 7,409kmph would be ideal to serve as a search and strike aircraft.
Reports suggest a small demonstrator aircraft was spotted landing at Skunk Works’ grounds in California, with close resemblance to the SR72 project. In a press release earlier suggests that “combine-cycle” engines, with a scramjet as well as jet turbine tech, will be used to reach hypersonic speeds.
Apart from this a piloted flight research vehicle (FRV) is developed to study the engine, which will be about the size of an F-22 fighter jet and will have one combine-cycle engine
Last week at the SAE International Aerotech Congress and Exhibition in Fort Worth, Executive Vice President of Aeronautics at Lockheed Martin, Orlando Carvalho said “Although I can’t go into specifics, let us just say the Skunk Works team in Palmdale, California is doubling down on our commitment to speed,” he said. Hypersonics is like stealth. It is a disruptive technology and will enable various platforms to operate at two-to-three times the speed of the Blackbird. Security classification guidance will only allow us to say the speed is greater than Mach 5.”
Generally classified military tech and aircraft, when under development being testing long before any information is disclosed to the public. But in case of the SR-72 Lockheed Martin is openly sharing the information related to the developments, which suggest it is like to be in more advanced stage than the company is currently letting on.