Lockheed’s SR-71 “Blackbird” was basically an advanced, long-range, Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft that was ahead of its time. This craft was initially developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by the Lockheed Skunk Works. Continue reading for a 4-part Discovery Channel special, more pictures, and additional information.

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird has held the world record for the fastest ‘air-breathing manned aircraft’ since 1976, with a recorded speed of 2,193.2mph. It was so quick that its strategy against surface-to-air missiles was to simply accelerate and out maneuver them. The Blackbird was designed for Mach 3+ flights with a crew of two in tandem cockpits, with the pilot in the forward cockpit and the Reconnaissance Systems Officer (RSO) monitoring the surveillance systems and equipment from the behind cockpit.

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