At the moment, it seems that all superpowers are scrambling to develop hypersonic missiles and spacecraft. Currently, the fastest aircraft to ever exist is the United States’ SR-71 Blackbird, reaching speeds exceeding Mach 3. It has maintained world records in speed for nearly four decades.
However, those records will inevitably be broken.
The engineers of the Blackbird are currently developing a hypersonic aircraft that will exceed the world record speed and reach Mach 6. The aircraft is called the SR-72.
The Race to Hypersonic Missiles and Aircraft
In recent news, China has test-fired a hypersonic weapon over the summer, having the world buzzing. This event caught the US intelligence community off-guard; they did not anticipate that the Chinese hypersonic technology was this developed. Bejing cast aside speculation of new weapon technology by claiming the missile to be a “space vehicle.”
However, China’s development in this race may be futile due to the hastiness of the US. The US has been developing hypersonic technology for quite a while. Looking at the history of weapon development, it is the most logical next step.
In the previous era, stealth was the priority in technology. However, now it is speed, for speed will possibly be the “new stealth.” Though reaching this level requires a vast advancement in technology. Therefore it might take a considerable amount of time for other nations to catch up.
The Fastest Aircraft Ever To Exist
To understand the SR-72 and its anticipated capabilities, one might want to look at the SR-71, the fastest aircraft ever to exist…yet.
In the 1960s, the CIA wanted a fast, high-flying aircraft with the capabilities of being undetectable. The Air Force required a strategic, high-speed bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
After an intense development effort, the SR-71 was created, however, without the capabilities of a bomber.
The SR-71 Blackbird excelled in ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance). They carry comprehensive optics, imagery, and surveillance systems and could operate at altitudes of over 80,000 feet with peak altitudes of 85,000 feet.
The Blackbird owns the world record for the fastest speed of an aircraft: Mach 3.3 or 2,193.7 mph. This world record has stood since 1976.
The Future, The SR-72
Evidently, the true capabilities of high-tech, newly developed weapons are well-hidden secrets. Therefore, for the SR-72, the US government will never reveal its true potential and complete operational ability.
It’s predetermined that other nations such as China and Russia will be working hard to collect as much information about the aircraft.
However, it’s exciting to see how the development turns out. The SR-72 will be one of the most significant engineering advances the world has ever seen.
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