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The Military Technology

Lockheed Martin Developing Successor To the SR-71 Blackbird 160

Posted by samzenpus
from the next-in-line dept.
Zothecula writes "When the last SR-71 Blackbird was grounded in 1998 it was a double blow. Not only did aviation lose one of the most advanced aircraft ever built, but also one of the most beautiful. Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works has now revealed that it is building a successor to the Blackbird: the SR-72. Using a new hypersonic engine design that combines turbines and ramjets, the company says that the unmanned SR-72 will be twice as fast as its predecessor with a cruising speed of Mach 6."
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Lockheed Martin Developing Successor To the SR-71 Blackbird

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 04, 2013 @03:57PM (#45329135)

    http://tech.slashdot.org/story/13/11/01/1911249/skunk-works-reveals-proposed-sr-71-successor-the-hypersonic-sr-72

    Don't worry samzenpus - you're not as bad as timothy.

  • the sr72 already exists or lockheed martin wants the press and public buzz for funding.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by WillAffleckUW (858324)

      This is a correct assumption.

      Basically, the automatic cutbacks coming up mean all military spending will be cut in half.

      All of it.

      Lockheed Martin (which I used to own, and even bought and sold option in - yes, made tons of cash) has frequently had the Cheneys on their board, and other individuals determined to drag the US into the Two Permanent Wars Always era, when the correct response is to end overseas wars of foreign aggression and let the Middle East rot.

      Solve that and there is no budget deficit.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        Basically, the automatic cutbacks coming up mean all military spending will be cut in half.

        All of it.

        Yay!

        • by Lumpy (12016) on Monday November 04, 2013 @04:24PM (#45329509) Homepage

          I agree, I wish they would just take the military budget for Air Conditioning and give it directly to NASA. it would triple our space research funding.

        • Cutting anything just to cut is stupid. DO you think just random cutting will get rid of pork? It will not, pork is always the last to go.
          What we need is targeted and precise cuts on a project basis.

          But no, lets just leave all our allies dangling, and leave our defense wide open. Cause that's what happens when you just slash and burn.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by smooth wombat (796938)
            lets just leave all our allies dangling,

            Maybe our allies should start picking up their portion of their defense tab rather than relying on the U.S. taxpayer to constantly foot the bill.

            and leave our defense wide open.

            Like what, goatse? The danger now is rarely military in nature but electronic. The military industrial complex even admits this. They are more worried about state-sponsored electronic infiltration than they are about some nation developing jets or missiles.

            Take a look at
          • by AK Marc (707885)
            The sum of all pork (discretionary spending), if cut, would not balance the budget. Ending the standing military and increasing homeland defenses would balance the budget. Why work so hard to save pennies, when there are trillions to be saved by shutting down the standing military and using the national guard as the defense?

            The low hanging fruit is the military. A force so large that there's little we couldn't take and hold (Moscow and Beijing being about the only two places on the planet we couldn't ta
            • by jedidiah (1196)

              Even if you are worried about invasions, keep the Navy and Air Force more or less intact and encourage more civilians to develop sound marksmanship skills. Don't discourage anyone from becoming proficient with either the standard infantry rifles or some high powered 50cal sniper rifle.

              Make the US a hard target to get to and a nightmare to hold onto.

              • by AK Marc (707885)
                Can you imaging the Chinese trying to land an amphibious force in Los Angeles from cruise ships with the gangs all working together to fend off the attackers? Hell, 10 guys with .50 cal rifles and a good position near the coast in office buildings could do some serious damage even before they land. Probably not enough to sink one, but certainly enough to cause some pain/fear.
                • I would pay to see this movie.

                • Would that be before or after nuclear war? Because I sure as fuck wouldn't want to be these Chinese soldiers. They either all die in LA, or die trying to return home to an irradiated nation. Nobody will come out of that scenario unscathed. And no land would be taken, just billions of lives lost.

            • by dcw3 (649211)

              I'm assuming you weren't referring to DHS when you mentioned increasing homeland defenses. DHS is a useless money pit.

              As for the military being able to take and hold things, does Somolia ring a bell?...Black Hawk Down? We couldn't even handle that little piece of shit, so don't be so sure about our capabilities. If you were talking about wars with tanks and ships and planes, it's all good, but then you're referring to the types of enemies we worried about during the Cold War. Times have changed, and an

              • by AK Marc (707885)

                As for the military being able to take and hold things, does Somolia ring a bell?...Black Hawk Down? We couldn't even handle that little piece of shit, so don't be so sure about our capabilities.

                We weren't trying to take anything. We were trying to shoot the bad guys in a limited conflict. We've always done poorly in those.

            • by lgw (121541)

              Ending the standing military and increasing homeland defenses would balance the budget.

              No, it wouldn't. Our deficit is that insane. It would help a bunch, but really a strong standing military is a good investment - the economic damage done by an invasion is so extreme that even if the risk is low, it's worth funding some military. However, there's no doubt that significant military cuts are coming: we'll cut everything except mailing checks to voters until there's just nothing else left to cut.

              (BTW, there are greedy and sociopathic folks on our southern border that are armed better than a

              • by AK Marc (707885)

                No, it wouldn't. Our deficit is that insane.

                No, it wouldn't. Our deficit is that insane.

                Nope. The most recent completed year we spent more on the military than the size of the deficit. That means, we'd have had a surplus, if not for the military.

                BTW, there are greedy and sociopathic folks on our southern border that are armed better than any police force, despite not being a nation-state.

                Better armed than *any* police force? The LAPD has tank-like vehicles, and the National Guard would quickly respond, and has jet planes and lots of tanks. We need trillions of dollars of military to save us from scary Mexicans? That sounds like racist fearmongering. Beware the Canadians!

                • by lgw (121541)

                  Right, anyone who disagrees with you is a racist, where have I heard that before?

                  The Mexican drug cartels are better organized and better equipped (and far more sociopathic) than the Mexican army. And as someone who will always Remember the Alamo, I don't ignore the threat the Mexican army presents.

                  As far as the deficit vs military spend - I go by the link in my sig - those numbers are well sourced. Either way, we're sure to keep cutting military spending, heedless of any risk, and cutting everything else

                  • by AK Marc (707885)

                    Right, anyone who disagrees with you is a racist, where have I heard that before?

                    Not from me, it just sounded like the Republican talking points for anti-immigration rules. "fear the brown, fence them out before they all swim across"

                    And as someone who will always Remember the Alamo, I don't ignore the threat the Mexican army presents.

                    Yes, I've been to the Alamo. I always thought the famous attribution was spoken *to* the mexicans as a warning, not to the Texans as a motivator. "You killed us, we'll kill you" was the message, not one of treachery or whatever you are implying. The army came in and took a military fort. Relatively uninteresting, until you note the losses on each side,

                    • by lgw (121541)

                      always thought the famous attribution was spoken *to* the mexicans as a warning, not to the Texans as a motivator.

                      Not where I grew up, anyhow. Heck, my Mom had a notepad stuck to the fridge with "Things to Remember" printed as the header, and places to write 1 -10 as a numbered list of tasks. Of course, 1 was pre-printed: "The Alamo". Maybe it was an earlier time, but it was seeped into the culture as motivation.

                      Anyhow, ever generation has had it's hippies with their "we don't need an army" and "what if they gave a war and nobody came". Sadly, all of human history begs to differ, and the answer to "what if they gav

                    • by AK Marc (707885)

                      Anyhow, ever generation has had it's hippies with their "we don't need an army" and "what if they gave a war and nobody came". Sadly, all of human history begs to differ, and the answer to "what if they gave a war and only one side came" is very grim indeed. There's still a lot of genocide ongoing in the world.

                      The founding fathers were "hippies" by your definition. They lived in a world with no standing armies, and didn't write the Constitution expecting a standing army sucking massive amounts of wealth out of the country.

                    • by lgw (121541)

                      They were also in a frontier with big empty spaces at the borders, and had veteran, proven state militias and professional military leadership. There was no thought of "we'll never need an army" but instead "we have all the army we need already, in the state militias".

                      Today war is highly technical, and raising a militia fairly pointless when it comes to war - a soldier with the right training and equipment is vastly more effective than a guy with an assault rifle. As we move more to bots it will become mor

                • by tompaulco (629533)

                  The most recent completed year we spent more on the military than the size of the deficit. That means, we'd have had a surplus, if not for the military.

                  The same could be said of Social Security or Unemployment, Welfare and other Social programs. Maybe we should end those as well.

                  • by AK Marc (707885)
                    Unemployment isn't federal. The others are "self funding" As in, if you end SS and the SS tax, then you have a *worse* deficit. If you keep the SS tax, but end SS payouts, you've nearly doubled the federal income tax rate. If you allow for such wild changes in tax rate to balance the budget (rather than cutting spending), then just eliminate all deductions for anyone making more than $50,000, tax capital gains at earned income rates, and you'll balance the budget with minimal changes.
                    • by tompaulco (629533)
                      If unemployment isn't federal, then why do I have to pay unemployment tax to the federal government, and why is their second largest budget bucket "Unemployment, Welfare and Social Services"?
                • You just lost a lot of credibility due to 1) the "racist fearmongering" remark, which was just uncalled for and out of proportion, and 2) your gross overestimation of the US military capabilities. You think London would be a piece of cake? or Tehran?

                  • by AK Marc (707885)
                    Yeah, London would be a piece of cake. It'd be easier than Baghdad. With Iraq, there were more armed resistors called "terrorists" by the US government than the sum of all "terrorists" estimated by the US prior to the war. How? Because invading a country made many people grab the nearest gun and shoot at the nearest American. Either that, or the feds are grossly incompetent at counting or estimating anything.

                    How is that relevant? What are the people in Manchester going to do to "overthrow" the Americ
                    • Tehran would be a pain only because I think their insurgency would make Iraq's look like a picnic. Getting to Tehran, no problem, on that we'd agree.. holding it, not so much, and it wouldn't help that we're already war-weary and nearly broke.
                    • by AK Marc (707885)
                      Why do we need such an offensive "defense" force?
          • You have a point, but there's an important counter-point. The way the federal budget works for most projects, each year it's assumed that each project will get 104% of the spending it got last year. So in 1960 they approve $DUMB_IDEA. Fifty years later, $DUMB_IDEA is still eating away at your paycheck, with a budget ten times as high as the initial experiment. If you start with an across-the-board cut* and then look at which programs should have funding restored*, that means someone has to look at $DUMB

          • by couchslug (175151)

            Our allies (clients) are rich enough to defend themselves without our subsidy. The Cold War is over and we have SSBNs so no nation-state is going to attack us as we could simply erase their country. That includes North Korea. Those nuke-armed fighters sitting Zulu Alert for decades weren't there for show, they were there to end the Norks if they felt froggy enough to attack the South. Not "slow them down", but destroy them completely.

            We could slash the money and let the military determine where the cuts g

          • by fluffy99 (870997)

            Cutting anything just to cut is stupid. DO you think just random cutting will get rid of pork? It will not, pork is always the last to go.
            What we need is targeted and precise cuts on a project basis.

            But no, lets just leave all our allies dangling, and leave our defense wide open. Cause that's what happens when you just slash and burn.

            Exactly, in fact projects like the SR-72 with no actual mission and the new F35 fighter that no-one wants should be at the top of that list of cuts. The F35 contract is past $60B now with no working aircraft so far. All the DOD departments wanted was a tech refresh of the existing fighters and not something brand new, but all the Congressional pork barreling got in the way of fiscal responsibility.

      • It needs to be cut by more than half to get rid of the budget deficit.

        Stop being the world's police should allow cuts of ~80%.

        • by geekoid (135745)

          You mean the deficit that's been gone down by half over the last 6 years? that one?
          Maybe you should make it a personal mission to learn about this stuff instead of just repeat dumbass headlines?

          "Stop being the world's police should allow cuts of ~80%."
          nonsense.

          • Guess what, dipshit. Spending half a trillion, instead of a whole trillion, more than you're bringing in still isn't a good idea.

            And guess what, cutting 80% of the military budget, would bring the deficit to about zero. There's about 175k military personnel deployed outside the US. Probably half that many more as contractors. None of whom are actually protecting the US.

            • Putting a quarter of a million people on unemployment is really going to help the economy. Not to mention all of the towns around military installations that would collapse, and not just in the USA.

            • by fluffy99 (870997)

              Looking at the bigger picture, deficit spending is still higher than pre-2008, and those 3-years you're comparing to were not typical due to things like TARP. Spending is continuing to balloon, yes the deficit is still projected to hover in the 0.8 trillion/year range.
              http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/download_multi_year_1960_2018USb_15s2li101mcn_G0f [usgovernmentspending.com]

              Continuing to run up the credit card, paying only interest is a sure-fire way to bankrupt the household.

          • 2008 deficit: $458 billion
            2013 deficit: $680 billion
            2014 deficit: $744 billion

            > Maybe you should make it a personal mission to learn about this stuff instead of just repeat dumbass headlines?

            Perhaps you should. Rather than venturing to comedycentral.com on that mission, may I suggest you start with http://www.treasury.gov/ [treasury.gov] and http://www.cbo.gov/ [cbo.gov]

            • by PopeRatzo (965947)

              Excuse me, raymorris, but why would you leave out 2009, 2010, and 2011?

              Say, you wouldn't have an agenda in leaving those numbers out, would you? Nah, not you.

              This year's deficit is 1/2 of last year's deficit. And in 2013, the federal deficit as a percentage of GDP is less than it was under the Reagan Administration. Last year, our budget deficit was 4.1% of GDP. Under Reagan's 8 years as president, his average was 4.2%.

              And wouldn't you say that looking at the deficit as a percentage of GDP is a pretty

              • I replied to the person who said today's deficit is half of six years ago. So I compared today to six years ago.

                You wouldn't have a reading comprehension problem would you? No, not you.

                Reagan won his election in a landslide because interest rates were around 21%, unemployment was 7.5%, and inflation was high. Reagan made some investments to cut interest rates in half, decrease taxes by $15,000 per family, slash inflation, reduce unemployment, and win the cold war.

                Obama spent the same amount of money to -

                • by PopeRatzo (965947)

                  There's a difference between borrowing a mortgage of $100,000 to buy a house vs. throwing $100,000 in the camp fire.

                  The only campfire going on here is the $85 billion a month being given to the banks by the Fed.

                  Better to just drop that money from a helicopter.

      • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Monday November 04, 2013 @05:37PM (#45330411)

        the correct response is to end overseas wars of foreign aggression and let the Middle East rot.

        Are you a parent? Many parents intervene to stop their kids from squabbling, and think they are reducing conflict. But if they just stay out of it, the kids will figure out how to resolve the conflicts on their own. Their resolution may not be what you, as a parent, would have imposed, but it is still an end to the conflict.

        The same would likely happen in the Middle East. If we were no longer there to impose our will, the squabbling would likely stop as the countries in the region realized that they really had to deal directly with each other, and had to live with the consequences of their actions.

        American power is not the solution to the Middle East's problems. To a large extent, it is the cause of the problems.

        • by khallow (566160)

          If we were no longer there to impose our will, the squabbling would likely stop as the countries in the region realized that they really had to deal directly with each other, and had to live with the consequences of their actions.

          Let us keep in mind that there is considerable upside for some parties to some of those consequences, such as controlling up to half the world's proven oil reserves as Saddam Hussein attempted to do in the 80s and early 90s. He didn't succeed because the US organized a coalition against him.

          Unfortunately, the grown up version doesn't have either the harmlessness or insignificance of your analogy.

          • He didn't succeed because the US organized a coalition against him.

            Or, alternatively, he almost succeeded because Kuwait had weak defenses and inadequate local alliances since the Kuwaitis expected the Americans to bail them out.

            • by khallow (566160)

              Or, alternatively, he almost succeeded because Kuwait had weak defenses and inadequate local alliances since the Kuwaitis expected the Americans to bail them out.

              It wouldn't have mattered if Kuwait was expecting a bail out or not. They were in a losing position no matter what they had, excluding perhaps some nuclear weapons. Too few people and a bad tactical position means they would have lost anyway.

              It's worth noting that Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arabian Peninsula is just as bad off militarily. That's what Iraq would have steamrolled next. Then after Iraq built a few fission bombs, it'd be time for the second Iraq-Iran war.

              • by khallow (566160)
                Now suppose I had turned this problem around and asked whether Saudi Arabia should interfere with the developed world, particularly the US? The US exerts considerable influence over the area even to the point of toppling governments.

                But as it turns out, the US has a good sized Muslim population both from immigration and converts. And most of those go on Hajj to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. There's considerable opportunity to win "hearts and minds" with positive propaganda there.

                Saudi Arabia also has conside
        • by Quila (201335)

          And then we would be blamed for allowiing the resulting humanitarian disasters to happen.

          But at least that way it would cost us less money.

      • by tedgyz (515156)

        Well said. Why is it that we get angry when some poor people collect welfare and food stamps, but nobody seems to care about corporate welfare, which is orders of magnitude greater in cost?

        The perpetual-war syndrome needs to be stopped. We seem to think that because we succeeded in WW2 that we have some mandate to step in and solve all the worlds problems, despite repeated failures. Meanwhile, Haliburton and other quasi-military mega-corps are laughing all the way to the bank.

    • by segedunum (883035)
      It already exists.
    • the sr72 already exists or lockheed martin wants the press and public buzz for funding.

      I'd be surprise if it already existed. I thought that all the existing hypersonic contraptions are plagued with many material and endurance problems. I mean, it's probably not impossible, but it still seems to be fairly close to claiming that the U. S. Air Force operates a fleet of intergalactic cruisers.

      • by Jeng (926980)

        I'd be surprise if it already existed. I thought that all the existing hypersonic contraptions are plagued with many material and endurance problems. I mean, it's probably not impossible, but it still seems to be fairly close to claiming that the U. S. Air Force operates a fleet of intergalactic cruisers.

        I would also be surprised, but not for the reasons you just gave, after all look at the problems that plagued the SR-71. Also the SR-71 is 50 years old, we should have the expertise to improve on the design.

        The reason I would be surprised is because we have other projects that fulfill the role that are more cost effective, such as the flying twinkie. Another reason is that although it is possible to design a stealth aircraft that can go beyond Mach 3, the massive plume of hot exhaust gasses will give it a

        • Another reason is that although it is possible to design a stealth aircraft that can go beyond Mach 3, the massive plume of hot exhaust gasses will give it away.

          Does it really need exhaust gases to be noticed in IR? The aerodynamic friction alone ought to be sufficient for that.

  • by raymorris (2726007) on Monday November 04, 2013 @04:00PM (#45329177)

    I suppose this is the suckcessor to Friday's submission.

  • by sootman (158191) on Monday November 04, 2013 @04:10PM (#45329319) Homepage Journal

    ... but how many successors does it need? [slashdot.org]

  • too bad slashdot can't develop some dupe detection.
  • They can not even use their own search function [slashdot.org].

  • by evilviper (135110) on Monday November 04, 2013 @04:35PM (#45329661) Journal

    I think we all have one big question:

    With that kind of thrust, can we just add-on an extra oxygen tank, and convert it into the space-plane we've been promised for so long?

    Perhaps this could be the proving grounds for a space shuttle replacement, powered by ramjets instead of solid rocket boosters?

    • With that kind of thrust, can we just add-on an extra oxygen tank, and convert it into the space-plane we've been promised for so long?

      Mach 6 = 4000 mph, give or take a few.

      4000 mph = 1800 m/s, approximately.

      1800 m/s is about 20% of orbital speed.

      So, no, it would take a bit more than an add-on O2 tank to take this thing to orbit.

    • With that kind of thrust, can we just add-on an extra oxygen tank, and convert it into the space-plane we've been promised for so long?

      No. Orbital velocity is about Mach 25. This plane cruises at Mach 6. So you have another 19 to go.

      Still, it's a step. One small step for a plane...

    • I think we all have one big question:

      Um, no. Nobody educated has that question.
       

      With that kind of thrust, can we just add-on an extra oxygen tank, and convert it into the space-plane we've been promised for so long?

      No more than adding a Mr Fusion would convert a Tesla S into a time machine.

  • The sr-71 was retired, but then brought out of retirement, which many people thought strange since it's rplacement, the aurora had already been made as a revel model.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=lockheed+aurora&rlz=1C1CHFX_enUS531US531&espv=210&es_sm=122&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=JQZ4UrbZLomEiwKxiYHQBg&ved=0CDsQsAQ&biw=1547&bih=969 [google.com]

    But now, it (the sr-71) is being replaced? If history is any indication, there have been at least 3 new spy planes sinc
  • Nothing here makes sense. If they were developing the plane, they would do it in secret and fly it in secret, just like the U2 and the SR71. Is this some kind of distraction for the real plane? Or some PR for a money grab? Whatever it is, this is NOT the military's new spy plane.

    • by mbkennel (97636)

      The logical scenario is that they are developing it in secret and it has a number of test programs behind it...and now they want a bunch more money to make a number for real---and buried in the funding will be money for other R&D for classified drones.

      Back in U-2/SR-71 days, they had enough funding at leisure to not need to make PR to get money.
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Monday November 04, 2013 @06:45PM (#45330995) Journal

    I was going to point out this was a dupe, but a bazillion people beat me to it.

    But I also wanted to say, this is pretty cool, and we'll discover some practical solutions getting this thing operational. My one regret is that it is unmanned. Someone should be able to climb in, take off from a runway, and fly it to Mach 6, just to be able to say we could do it.

  • Oh sorry, we can't afford to keep funding food stamps but a mach 6 unmanned jet is no problem.

    See the violence inherent in the system?

  • I thought part of the rationale behind grounding this plane was it's cheaper to use a spy satellite nowadays. If it's truly a multirole aircraft, say a bomber, then it could have its uses.

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Spy satellites have known paths so you know that between oh 1:00 pm to 1:15 pm you need to hide your secret stuff. But I think they have already gotten past this limitation with the flying twinkie since it can deploy a satellite as needed and pick it back up.

      I believe that the only R&D going into the SR-72 project is the amount of capital it took to make that rendering and a short blurb.

      I do not see this as even a proposed aircraft, it is at the most misinformation campaign.

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