New York to London in 60 minutes. That's how fast the new, unmanned hypersonic jet from Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works will travel: a fat 3,500 miles per hour at Mach 6. The SR-72 will be nearly twice as fast as its predecessor, the SR-71 Blackbird, which set a record on Sept. 1, 1976 by fling from New York to London in 1 hour 54 minutes at a peak velocity of about Mach 3.2. It was grounded in 1998 and since then, no other aircraft has come close to its prowess.
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But the military has a hypersonic fever and the only remedy is more speed. For the SR-72, Lockheed Martin will pull from work being done on the Falcon HTV-2 test vehicle, which has already demonstrated speeds of Mach 20.
According to a press release from Lockheed Martin, speed is the new stealth. "The aircraft would be so fast, an adversary would have no time to react or hide," the media report states.
Like the Blackbird, the SR-72 will fly at high altitudes, upwards of 4,500 feet above the Earth, and could be fitted with weapons.