SR-72 Hypersonic Plane Likely to Reach Mach 6

As reported by Dustin Gladwell at, Lockheed Martin is developing a new hypersonic plane, the SR-72. The SR-71 Blackbird, retired in 1998, had been known as the fastest airplane, able to achieve Mach 3.3, or 2,193.7 mph, and could also reach the highest altitude for an aircraft, 85,000 feet. The SR-72 will eclipse the speed record by flying at Mach 6. Sheer speed is a tougher nut for adversaries to crack than is stealth design.  Advanced metallurgy is another key part of the design.
Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) is an ongoing priority given the rising challenges posed by China and Russia, and surgical coverage by aircraft offer advantages over satellite capabilities.

“Some reports present a hypersonic spy plane, and others a hypersonic strike aircraft, and some imagine it will be both. …What we now call the SR-72, has been in some phase of development at the Lockheed Martin Skunk Works for 20 years. Whispers and reports started to emerge in 2007 of an Air Force plane capable of Mach 6. …They know what needs to happen for the ramjet engines to be able to function at low and high speeds. At the latest, we publicly know that NASA gave Lockheed Martin a contract in 2014 to test the feasibility of the technology for dual-mode ramjets.”

“It will also carry hypersonic missiles, based on statements and information that are known about the project. This will allow the SR-72 to be a high-speed interceptor, being able to catch just about any threat in the world or respond to crises and threats in extreme real-time. …The U.S. government will want the world to know it exists, yet they will never divulge the true potential and complete operational capability. The project, if successful, will be a significant feat of aeronautical success and will change the military world.” Photos: 1. Screengrab of SR-72 artist’s concept from the upcoming film Top Gun II; 2. An additional artist’s rendering of the SR-72; 3. Artist's concept rendering of SR-72 hypersonic plane. (Lockheed Martin); 4. SR-71 aircraft assigned to Detachment 4, 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing.

Thanks to CDR David Place (USN/Ret), davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com, and Robin E. Alexander, President ATC, alexander technical[at]gmail[dot]com, for their assistance with this report, the background for which appeared in their   # 21 - 27 - 6 NOVEMBER 2021 edition of the UNMANNED SYSTEMS NEWS (USN).

David distributes the USN, a free, comprehensive newsletter in PDF format every week or two, as well as serial news flashes, from which this NREF news update was sourced. To be included in his distribution, simply send David a subscribe request to davidplace47[at]gmail[dot]com.