Re: SR-72

Message posted by Peter Merlin on July 19, 2007 at 8:46:24 PST:

It's kind of disappointing that the story plays up the sensationalistic, and unsubstantiated, rumors.

As an aviation enthusiast, I know how tempting it is to believe and hope that some of these black programs will produce something really "sexy" like a hypersonic spyplane. Unfortunately, fiscal realities and national poilicy usually dictate that we will get something more conventional.

It would be great to see an SR-71 replacement that flies higher and faster, but the modern trend in reconnaissance platforms has been toward high-altitude, long-endurance UAVs. Such systems are probably less expensive to produce and operate. They would have long loiter times over target areas and transmit their intelligence take in real time. Designers wouldn't have to overcome as many engineering challenges as they would with a hypersonic platform.

As to the new hangars at Groom, we can only speculate about their purpose. The new one on the South End ramp (Hangar 24) is similar in size to the ones used for the A-12 and F-117A. It was built in the same complex of hangars historically used by Lockheed (later Lockheed Martin) for those and other programs.

Why was it necessary to build another hangar? Were all the others full?

The new large building (Hangar 25?) seems much bigger than necessary to accomodate a single program. Could it be a general maintenance and modification facility, such as those found at other bases? Would that free up some hangar space on the North Ramp, or is there some reason those hangars can't be used at all?

As usual, it is all speculation. It would be irresponsible to claim that any of these facilities were built to support any specific rumored program until we have more data.

In Reply to: SR-72 posted by Mark on July 18, 2007 at 23:24:55 PST:


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