Re: Lockheed Mach 5 Penetrator

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Message posted by Vahe Demirjian (Member since 04/28/2022) on August 07, 2023 at 9:44:15 PST:

>That would be like abandoning the SR-71 in favor of the U-2 (in the 1960s). They had very different capabilities and purpose. Instead, in the early 1980s Lockheed was proposing a high endurance UAV and a hypersonic aircraft as complimentary systems.

The Mach 5 Penetrator and other Lockheed design studies for hypersonic reconnaissance aircraft in the late 1970s and 1980s were just a head-start for Lockheed to contemplate a long-term SR-71 replacement, and because Lockheed in 1983 was awarded a contract for a tech demonstrator for the Quartz/AARS, the USAF seems to have perceived the Quartz/AARS unmanned flying wing as a less technically risky successor design to the SR-71 than a hypersonic aircraft like the Mach 5 Penetrator design. A similar dynamic happened in 2013 when Lockheed Martin unveiled the SR-72 hypersonic spyplane design months before AWST reported the existence of the less technically risky RQ-180, which like the SR-71 is designed to penetrate heavily defended airspace during long-range reconnaissance missions.

>Were they?

Bill Sweetman dismissed the report in an early 1993 issue of the Aerospace Daily newspaper quoting anonymous defense analysts and Pentagon officials as saying a Mach 5 turboramjet-powered reconnaissance aircraft design (canceled at the design phase due to the technological hurdles to making its turboramjet propulsion work under real-world conditions) as a cover story when justifying his belief that the US Air Force was deploying a classified hypersonic spyplane because the expansion of infrastructure at Area 51 along with the “skyquakes” led him to argue that the Pentagon was lying when it denied the existence of a hypersonic spyplane.

Bill Sweetman noted in his 1993 book about the putative hypersonic spyplane with which the codename Aurora was mistakenly associated in some publications that the operating cost of the SR-71 was just 7 percent of US military spending on reconnaissance satellite launches given his observation that there was no opposition within the echelons of the USAF to the retirement of the SR-71 in March 1990, but since the tiniest bits of info about the Quartz/AARS program (e.g. Tier III) were not yet published in aviation-related print media when Sweetman published the book Aurora: The Pentagon’s Secret Hypersonic Spyplane, he just assumed that the Air Force was commencing deployment of a hypersonic spyplane.

In Reply to: Re: Lockheed Mach 5 Penetrator posted by quellish on August 06, 2023 at 17:18:47 PST:


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