Free College Research Paper on SR-71 Blackbird

(First 3 Pages)

After the invention of the first plane by Orville and Wilber Wright in 1903, the technology has been developed for both civilian and military purposes. In both world wars, airplanes were used for bombing the enemy target. The military planes of the United States government dropped the notorious atoms bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. In time of war and peace, planes are used for spying functions also. During the cold war era, the use of spy aircraft had been incredibly increased. The airplane manufacturers worked day and night to introduce highly sophisticated versions of aircrafts for spying. One of those many state of the art productions is the SR-71 Reconnaissance spy plane. The plane commonly known as “Blackbird” was built by the Lockheed Corporation in 1968.

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The Lockheed Corporation holds an enviable position in manufacturing warplanes. The unmatched U-2 Reconnaissance aircraft was introduced in 1955. It was designed to fly at very high altitudes and remain in air for long hours. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the United States Air Force for spying on enemy territories used the plane. On May 1, 1960, a U-2 flown by the United States military officer Francis Gary Powers crashed in the USSR. This accident resulted in great tussle between the two countries. Powers was put to trail and was imprisoned. After this incident, the CIA and the USAF were both looking for a more sophisticated aircraft. The Lockheed Corporation developed the concept of Blackbird at their famous Skunk works in California. The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is the world’s fastest jet airplane. It was an invisible recon aircraft designed for high-altitude military spy missions.

The first version of Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird was manufactured in 1958. The aircraft had the capability of flying at the altitude of more than 26,000 m (85,000 feet) with speeds in excess of Mach 3. The visibility of Sr-71 on radar was only 1%. These qualities made the aircraft easier and safer for reconnaissance missions in the enemy territories. The Blackbird was an advanced version of an earlier aircraft A-12. The chief architect and designer of A-12, Kelly Johnson completed the project in the early 1960s and the first aircraft was delivered to the United States government in 1964. The speed of this new model was Mach 3.2+ and could fly on an altitude of more than 85,000 ft.

In 1968, SR-71s were put into operation at United States Air Force bases at Beale Air Force Base, California, Kadena, Japan and Mindenthall, United Kingdom. During 1964 and 1990, the Blackbirds flew almost every inch of the world supporting highly confidential missions of the United States government. The aircrafts made of Titanium with a maximum weight of 172,000 pounds were capable of flying at a speed of over three times the speed of sound. The exact statistics about the speed and performance were never revealed. Unlike U-2, SR-17 had a capacity of carrying two persons. The aircraft incorporated two Pratt & Whitney J58 turbojet engines with 32,500 lbs. of thrust each. The length was 107 ft. 5 inches, whereas the height was 18 ft. 6 inches with a wingspan of 55 ft. 7 inches.

Lockheed manufactured 32 Blackbirds that become the most celebrated of all the aircrafts it made so far. The Blackbirds were extremely safe in air but had difficulties in landing. Of the 32, 11 crashed during landing. However, not even a single aircraft was traced or shot by the enemies throughout its flying history. The design of Blackbirds was kept extremely


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