Friday, September 29, 2017

Hypersonic SR-72 Demonstrator? Is speed king again?

via Popular Mechanics.
Lockheed Martin's Advanced Development Programs, better known as Skunk Works, might be further along in the development process for the SR-72 than it has let on. A proposed hypersonic reconnaissance and strike aircraft, the SR-72 would serve as a replacement for the famed SR-71 Blackbird, which was retired by the Air Force back in 1998. In June, Lockheed announced early progress on the program, and now a source told Aviation Week that they spotted a small demonstrator aircraft landing at Skunk Works facilities in Palmdale, California, possibly associated with early tests for the unmanned SR-72 program.
Story here. 

If true then this is stunning.  The idea that the US military might actually have a working hypersonic airplane is a real game changer, not the idiocy that many generals talk about when the latest consumer electronic is adapted to military use (my biggest pet peeve with this is how the military took remote control airplanes flown by enthusiasts, saw them put cameras on them for recreation and adapted that to the military and claimed a new breaththrough...pathetic).

I've always thought that the clearest "rhyme" in history that we're living thru is the interwar period.  The time between WW1 and WW2 saw tremendous technological advancements that totally changed the way that the war would be fought.

What I believe is happening is that many are searching in the dark hoping to find that next great thing that will shape the future.  Predictably most will be wrong, and at best much money will be wasted and at worst many will die chasing these ghosts.

Hypersonics though.

That would change things radically.

I can't quite wrap my head around what that would mean.  Any spot on the globe could be hit in a matter of hours.  Quicker if you're forward based.  Current defenses would be rendered useless.  Airpower would rule the day...for awhile at least.  Additionally I could see the move to AI speeding up.

The biggest change?  Speed would be king again.  Faster, higher and farther would become the new thing once again.  Stealth would be tossed into the dustbin of fool's gold. 

This bears watching.

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