Message posted by Vahe Demirjian (Member since 04/28/2022) on August 04, 2023 at 20:59:44 PST:
I now know that Lockheed proposed the Mach 5 Penetrator in the early 1980s as a hypersonic replacement for the SR-71 even though it was eventually abandoned by Lockheed in favor of the strategic reconnaissance flying wing UAV proposed for the Quartz/AARS program. On page 135 of Bill Sweetman's book "Aurora: The Pentagon's Secret Hypersonic Spyplane", it is mentioned that an early 1993 issue of the newsletter Aerospace Daily quoted anonymous Pentagon officials and defense industry analysts that a hypersonic spyplane project (described as being about the size of the B-1 bomber and having a top speed of Mach 5) existed, but that it was canceled in the mid-1980s without leaving the design phase due to the technical complexity of the turboramjet engines designed for it. The mention of a top-secret B-1 sized Mach 5 aircraft in the early 1993 issue Aerospace Daily newsletter seems to have been a reference to the Lockheed Mach 5 Penetrator design because existing artwork and drawings of this aircraft (including an artist's rendering from 1981) show that the Mach 5 penetrator would have almost as big as the B-1B, and Sweetman's claims about the USAF deploying a hypersonic spyplane in the early 1990s were eventually debunked.
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