According to a report in Aviation Week, Lockheed Martin plans to manufacture a new follow-up plane to the “legendary” SR-71 spy plane that was retired from the US military over 20 years ago. Lockheed’s Skunk Works will be working on the aircraft.
Simply named the SR-72, the new Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) plane is under work and could very well be ready for demonstration by as early as 2018. The SR-72 will be capable of a Mach 6 cruise flight, double that of its predecessor. It will be guided by the US Air Force’s hypersonic road map, which aids the plane in navigating areas that are missed by satellites.
Despite the speculations of the demos taking place in 2018, as The Verge reports, this will be a long-term undertaking. It could be some 15 or 20 years before the 100-feet long planes are completed and fully operational. Reports peg 2030 as the magic year when a SR-72 will be built and tested.