SR-71 Blackbird

- First flight: 1964

- Manufacturer: Lockheed Corporation (now Lockheed Martin Aeronautics), Skunk Works division

Less than 60 years after the Wright Brothers’ Model A observation plane, Lockheed developed the SR-71 Blackbird—the fruits of a highly classified defense project to produce an innovative aerial reconnaissance craft. The high-altitude (80,000 feet), long-range (3,250 miles) Blackbird served the Air Force for over 30 years (1964–98), revolutionizing the ability to outmaneuver both radar and missiles, traveling up to 2,200 mph.

[Pictured: A front view of an SR-71 Blackbird aircraft being prepared for takeoff. The SR-71 is flown by Det. 4, 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, 3rd Air Force, RAF Mildenhall.]

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