SR-71 Blackbird

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The Lockheed SR-71 "Blackbird" was an advanced, long range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft.[1] It was developed from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by the Lockheed Skunk Works as a black project. Clarence "Kelly" Johnson was responsible for many of the design's innovative concepts. During reconnaissance missions the SR-71 operated at high speeds and altitudes to allow it to outrace threats; if a surface-to-air missile launch was detected, standard evasive action was simply to accelerate.[2]

The SR-71 was in service with the U.S. Air Force from 1964 to 1998. Twelve of the 32 aircraft were destroyed in accidents; none were lost to enemy action.[3][4] The SR-71 was unofficially named the Blackbird, and called the Habu by its crews, referring to an Okinawan species of pit viper.[5] Since 1976, it has held the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft, a record previously held by the YF-12.[6][7][8]


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