6 March 1998

Into the sunset....
Into the sunset….

6 March 1998: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen approved the permanent retirement of the Lockheed SR-71A “Blackbird” Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft.

With that decision, the U.S. Air Force would retire two SR-71A models (returned to active duty in 1995), an SR- 71A and the SR-71B trainer model on loan to NASA, and two from returnable storage.

© 2015, Bryan R. Swopes

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One thought on “6 March 1998

  1. I have to believe the SR-71 has been replaced with something more capable, something still highly secret 20 years on.

    Spy satellites can do a lot, but re-tasking them is a big deal and shows the bad guys you have significant interest in something specific.

    Could this secret bird be piloted remotely by some geek in an air conditioned basement somewhere in Texas? Hydrogen power? Sub-orbital with recovery halfway around the world? How about a satellite-based drone that swoops down to take images and then is recovered at Area 51.

    Given how Lockheed pushed the envelope using 1950s technology to create the SR-71, even crazy speculation today may not sufficient to describe current capability.

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