The SR71 has been heralded by many as one of the greatest airplanes of all time. It can survey, with various equipment, 100,000 sq miles in 1 hour. It can fly at speeds faster than a 30-06 bullet and has been known to fly to Mach 3.5 inadvertently. Its engines are so powerful that at full truly they cause a diamond shock wave 125 ft long.
This plane is also special because it was the worlds first stealth aircraft. With special radar absorbing paint and a vertical tail it has a very low signature. It also has a low profile from almost any view,increasing its stealth. This plane is also special because to design it Skunkworks had to rethink the manufacturing process entirely. It had to use the temperamental metal titanium which is strong but requires completely different tools than aluminum. The tires are filled with nitrogen to keep from exploding in flight.The pilots are so high up that they must where a space suit. The planes skin gets so hot that it actually extends 2 to 4 inches and the paint actually turns blue. The fuel tanks aren't even sealed until it reaches operational altitude.
YF-12A production: 3 aircraft
Out of the 3 YF-12As built only one is in existence today. Though the rear half of #934 was mated with the front half of the SR static test model to build the SR-71C trainer.
|Date||YF-12 Alt.||YF-12 Mach||Target Alt.||Results|
|Mar 1965||65,000 ft||2.19||40,000 ft||Target destroyed|
|May 1965||64,800 ft||2.18||20,000 ft||Missile Gyro failure|
|Sep 1965||75,200 ft||3.22||20,000 ft.||Target destroyed|
|Mar 1966||74,000 ft||3.16||1,700 ft||Target destroyed|
|Apr 1966||75,200 ft||3.2||1,100 ft||Target destroyed|
|May 1966||76,000 ft||3.2||20,000 ft||Target destroyed|
|Sep 1966||74,400 ft||3.2||500 ft||Target destroyed|
D-21 production: 38 drones
D-21A: M-21 launched, 4 launches
D-21B: B-52H launched, 17 Launches, with 4 operational missions