SR-71 Blackbird
SR-71 Blackbird

SR-71 Blackbird


The SR-71 Blackbird is a new supersonic strategic intelligence officer that is in service with the US Air Force. It has the unofficial name Blackbird, which means "Black Bird". The main advantage of this machine is high speed performance and excellent maneuverability. It is due to these indicators that the aircraft has the ability to very quickly gain altitude and evade enemy missiles. The SR-71 model was actively used from the beginning of 1964 year on 1988 year. During the entire operation, 32 manufactured such machines, of which 12 was lost. The losses were not combat, but as a result of breakdowns and accidents.

Development of the model SR-71 Blackbird


All works on this project were based on previous developments on the aircraft A-12. The older model seemed to evolve into a new device due to modernization in the configuration and a significant decrease in the visibility of the aircraft for enemy equipment. The scout received its name from the American bomber type XB-70, due to what the original device was designated as RS-70. But still the first prototype was designated as A-12, because it had a large number of bombers in size and weight. Serial cars were equipped with the most modern on-board equipment of that time and began to be designated as SR-71.

Design description SR-71 Blackbird


The machine is characterized futuristic view of the body, which allows to achieve high aerodynamic performance, regardless of flight mode. All load-bearing surface of the aircraft have a complex modular structure diagram with a cross section. The housing has a tailless scheme, it is fitted thin trapezoidal wings. Wing sweep rate is in 60 degrees.


By plane missing PGO and a stabilizer instead of gondolas wings were installed all-moving fins, which are inclined inwards by 15 degrees. aircraft Chassis consisted on three pillars, which are retracted against the movement of the machine. All racks are cleaned in the body and wings of the apparatus.

Initially, designers have met with the problem of heating a large body aircraft as has the ability to fly at a speed which is three times the speed of sound. To solve this problem, designers have used titanium alloy, in which the number reaches the target of the glider 90%. Also it should be noted that the machine had to the early development of new technologies while stealth. That is why the name Blackbird aircraft was used by him to paint a dark blue paint, which is perfectly camouflaged spy in the night sky.

The design of this aircraft the most special and interesting can be called air intakes, and because they can achieve high flight speeds in 3300 km / h. In addition to a large maximum speed, the air intakes provide an excellent job and the car engines at subsonic speeds. This is all possible due to the moving front of the nacelle, with a retractable engine operation, which amount to a value of 1,6 Mach. At higher Mach numbers intake becomes ramjet engine mode.


Problems during the flight at an altitude of thousands of meters of 24


  • When using a standard oxygen mask with normal oxygen pressure at the height of kilometers 13 pilot can not breathe, which can lead to unconsciousness and impaired functioning.
  • At high speeds in 3300 km / h and over the front part of the fuselage is heated to a temperature in 400 ° C, and the average temperature of the whole body reaches a figure of 260 ° C.

To solve these problems the designers have developed special suits for pilots, which provide normal pressure for aircrew SR-71 Blackbird. In the future, the same costumes were used in space programs for astronauts. To reduce the temperature inside the cabin used by air conditioners, which are able to create normal conditions for the pilot in the cockpit. All heat from the cabin was transferred to the fuel through the engine placed in front of the heat exchanger.

Flight of the reconnaissance SR-71 Blackbird was only possible with the use of a special fuel JP-7. This fuel is different from the others in that it has a high flash point, moreover, it is stable at high temperatures. It was also used as a liquid for cooling and other cockpit instrumentation compartments. The heated fuel from the heat exchanger directly into the engine combustion chamber, which excluded the ignition of vapor from the heated fuel.


A special feature of the SR-71 model is that the mass of the refueled aircraft was 7,71 tonnes, of which 4,6 tonnes were fuel. It should be noted that the completely tucked-in reconnaissance aircraft could not take off, so he took off with a small amount of fuel, after which it was maximized for heating the fuselage. Only after this was carried out refueling apparatus in the air with a pre-flown tanker. In addition, the system of the caisson-tanks of the machine had thermal gaps, because of which the fully fueled aircraft still flowed on the runway. Having refueled with fuel in the air, the fuel stock was enough only for 70-80 minutes of flight and this at cruising speeds. Due to the short range of flight, these aircraft were driven directly near the line of combat use.

With regard to the onboard equipment, it has been the most perfect and secreted at that time. In addition, most of all the electronics has been developed by scientists precisely for this model, which made it possible to more effectively apply it. Particular attention was paid to the navigation device on the route, which took place at a high altitude. A special feature was the astrocorrection navigation system that allows very accurately determine the location of the aircraft by the stars at any time of the day.

The peculiarity of this reconnaissance model is that when it was created, for the first time a system of reducing the visibility for enemy radar systems was applied. A huge amount of work was done in this industry, after which they came to the conclusion that it was necessary to design an airplane with a flat fuselage shape, and also to reduce EPR. The plumage and its corners are very well thought out, which makes it possible to beat off radio waves. Also scout SR-71 Blackbird has a radio-absorbing colorful coating. In addition, to reduce the temperature of the exhaust and reduce its visibility in the infrared spectrum, cesium is added to the fuel. Still, the heated case at high speeds gave out this device. At that time, these technologies lagged behind the development of the USSR.


Operation reconnaissance SR-71 Blackbird

  • In 1968 he was an active participant in intelligence operations in North Korea and Vietnam. When performing combat missions in Vietnam became the only American aircraft, which have not managed to bring down the air defense system developed in the Soviet Union.
  • During the Cold War, carried out intelligence operations on the Kola Peninsula and in Cuba.
  • When basing SR-71 Blackbird on the territory of Japan conducted a regular violation of Soviet airspace and such flight reached 12 violations per day.
  • Aircraft SR-71 1973 in aerial surveys conducted by Egypt, Syria and Jordan. This survey was done during active hostilities Yom Kippur War.
  • This unit has also been applied to civilian use by NASA for testing programs such as SCAR and AST.
  • Also, due to ramjet propulsion system many speed records have been achieved. The most famous and important is the maximum speed of the aircraft in 3529,56 km / h. Total this machine 4 established world records for speed.


Stop using SR-71 Blackbird aircraft was due to the fact that quite inconvenient to transport fuel, which is suitable only for one machine in different corners of the planet. In addition, these scouts have been converted 30 tankers, which are also constantly had to refuel. In addition, it is quite an old model, and priority is given to a new generation of aircraft.

The official cancellation of the SR-71 Blackbird type aircraft took place on 26.01.1990 of the year. The latest 6 work machines were sent to air bases as sentinel aircraft. Also, two vehicles were sent to the Smithsonian Museum and the Aviation Museum in the city of Washington. It should be noted that at the beginning of 1995, the US government allocated one hundred million dollars for the restoration of three SR-71 vehicles, which again returned to the Air Force. 




SR-71 Blackbird. "Blackbird" characteristics:

Modification   SR-71A
Wingspan, m   16.94
Aircraft Length m   32.74
Height, m   5.64
Wing area, m2   141.10
Weight, kg  
  empty aircraft   30618
  maximum take-off   78020
Fuel l   46180
engine's type   2 TRDDF Pratt Whithey J-58 (JT-11D-20B)
Thrust, kgf  
  nominal   2 x 10430
  afterburner   X 2 14740
Maximum speed km / h   3300
Cruising speed, km / h   3087
Practical range, km   5230
Tactical range, km   2000
The duration of the flight without refueling, ch.min   1.30
Practical ceiling, m   25910
Crew   1


Aircraft SR-71 Blackbird video