U.S. military possesses various advanced weapons to deal with numerous conflicts worldwide, especially the threat from the Chinese in the Indo-Pacific region.
Aside from the F-35 fighter plane, the latest Ford aircraft carrier is deploying for the first time this year, and the newest B-21 stealth bomber is due to make its maiden flight. In addition, the U.S. is also developing a new hypersonic uncrewed strike reconnaissance aircraft.
The SR-72 is a hypersonic uncrewed aircraft developed by Lockheed Martin. The SR-72 is scheduled to be operational by 2025 and will be capable of high-speed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, as well as airstrike capabilities. The SR-72 has two essential technologies of hypersonic speed and stealth.
The Black Swallow/HTV-3X and HTV-2 hypersonic proving vehicles developed the SR-72 hypersonic stealth UAV. Based on the SR-71 Blackbird, a high-altitude and high-speed reconnaissance aircraft. Lockheed Martin’s product line is dubbed “Son of the Blackbird.”
The United States Air Force retired the SR-71 in 1998. The Blackbird has a record speed of Mach 3.3 (about 2,500 mph), more than 500 mph faster than any Russian or Soviet aircraft. It still holds the world record for airspeed in flight.
The Blackbird was the pinnacle of Cold War aviation engineering in the United States. It flew so high and fast that it could outrun a missile even if the enemy had a radar lock. As a result, over 4,000 air-to-air missiles missed the SR-71.
The SR-72 Blackbird Son, which is more than 30.5 meters long, can take off and land on regular runways like conventional aircraft. It has a twin-engine design with a maximum cruise speed of Mach 6 (about 4,500 mph), almost twice the rate of the SR-71. With the SR-72’s speed, it could reach any location on the planet in a short period.
According to the National Interest, spy satellites can provide the survey, but it has limitations. For example, a satellite typically takes twenty-four hours to reach the proper location in orbit to take photographs; once in space, the satellite can only stay in one area for about a minute before needing to move on. As a result, they would quickly become targets of Russian and Chinese anti-satellite missiles in the event of a conflict.
Satellite flaws, as well as a growing danger from China and Russia, notably China’s test launch of a hypersonic missile last November, have further alarmed the U.S. and spurred the military to continue researching a successor to Blackbird.