Lockheed CL-2103

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Message posted by Vahe Demirjian (Member since 04/28/2022) on September 26, 2023 at 14:23:24 PST:

I recently got a copy of the bookazine "US Supersonic Bomber Projects Volume 2" by Scott Lowther and on page 118 of this bookazine it is briefly mentioned that the Lockheed CL-2103 hypersonic bomber project of 1980 (which would have been a whopping 399 feet long) was seen by Lockheed as having a secondary purpose as a strategic reconnaissance vehicle able to carry a vast suite of reconnaissance equipement, including side-looking radars and cameras.

Given that the late January 1979 Aviation Week and Space Technology article titled "Mach 4, 200,000-Ft. -Altitude Aircraft Defined" mentioned two Lockheed concepts in early 1979 for a hypersonic replacement for the SR-71, one for a Mach 4 aircraft with a 200,000 foot ceiling and turboramjet propulsion, and another for a Mach 7 spyplane with a maximum altitude of 250,000 feet and powered by scramjets, and because the CL-2103 would have cruised at Mach 6-7, there are two possibilities regarding the relationship of the Lockheed CL-2103 hypersonic bomber in its secondary role as a reconnaissance vehicle to the 1979 Lockheed hypersonic spyplane proposals:
- The proposed reconnaissance version of the CL-2103 might have borrowed some technology from the 1979 Mach 7 spyplane concept besides scramjets
- The CL-2103 reconnaissance variant was a stepping stone to some of Lockheed's Mach 5 Penetrator studies because its projected service ceiling of more than 100,000 feet was far less ambitious than the estimated altitudes of the 1979 Lockheed designs for a hypersonic replacement for the SR-71


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