Lockheed Martin Discloses Work on SR-72 Mach 6 Aircraft

Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works is developing an unmanned hypersonic strike aircraft called the SR-72 that’s designed to travel at six times the speed of sound—twice the speed of the company’s famed SR-71 Blackbird surveillance airplane, announced the company. The SR-72 could be operational by 2030, states the company’s Nov. 1 release. “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’s hypersonics program manager. “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,” he said. For the past several years, Skunk Works and Aerojet Rocketdyne have been developing a method to integrate an off-the-shelf turbine engine with a supersonic combustion ramjet to power the SR-72 from standstill to Mach 6, states the release. The SR-72 design leverages the company’s work on DARPA’s Falcon program, which flight tested the rocket-launched Hypersonic Technology Vehicle 2, states the release.