Re: Senior Cejay / Aurora

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Message posted by Skeet (Member since 06/29/2022) on August 19, 2022 at 7:44:39 PST:

The SR-71 retirement and reactivation saga is intriguing to say the least. Congress wanted it back, but the Pentagon didn't. Wikipedia: "Senator Robert Byrd and other senators complained that the ‘better than’ successor … had yet to be developed at the cost of the ‘good enough’ serviceable [SR-71]." – implying a replacement was in development at the time but it was too costly. In 1993, Rear-Admiral Thomas F. Hall said they were "looking at alternative means of doing [the job of the SR-71]." – that implies there was capability gap, at least to his knowledge.

Perhaps a late 80’s experimental fast-mover did exist but I’m guessing it was scrapped due to the post-Cold War budget cuts in the early 90’s. The USAF then likely refocused on the development of long-endurance UAVs to fill the strategic reconnaissance role.

Good points, Desertfox. Aurora was supposedly the funding codename for the B2 development. The low-altitude requirement pivot is also interesting. Perhaps prototypes of both designs were built and test flown? That might explain the huge budget overrun and the two codenames used during the development: Senior Ice and Senior Cejay.

I still find the North Sea sighting and Boscombe Down incidents noteworthy because the USAF/CIA/NRO surely wouldn't be operating an aircraft in or around Europe without it being an operationally ready capability. Any test flights of prototypes would be conducted in US airspace only. Is there any historical evidence of secret experimental aircraft being tested outside the US or flown on actual missions?

In Reply to: Re: Senior Cejay / Aurora posted by Mark on August 18, 2022 at 16:02:28 PST:


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