Lockheed Martin said its Skunk Works division is developing the hypersonic aircraft, which could be operational by 2030.
"Hypersonic aircraft, coupled with hypersonic missiles, could penetrate denied airspace and strike at nearly any location across a continent in less than an hour," said Brad Leland, Lockheed Martin program manager, Hypersonics. "Speed is the next aviation advancement to counter emerging threats in the next several decades. The technology would be a game-changer in theater, similar to how stealth is changing the battlespace today."
The SR-71 was developed by Lockheed in the 1960s. It flies at Mach 3, or three times the speed of sound. In 1976 it achieved a world record, flying from New York to London in just two hours. The SR-72 being developed will attain speeds in excess of Mach 6
Lockheed said it is collaborating with Aerojet Rocketdyne to develop a method to integrate an off-the-shelf turbine with a supersonic combustion ramjet, air-breathing engine to power the aircraft.
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