Re: Revealed: the F-22's impact on the retirement of the SR-71

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Message posted by quellish (Member since 06/26/2008) on May 23, 2024 at 9:40:49 PST:

Not exactly.

In 1985 most of the SR-71 costs were not classified. Some reconnaissance payloads and avionics were, but the operating costs, etc. were not. In fact, in 1985 the SR-71 fleet was undergoing a number of upgrades and enhancements to ensure they could keep flying for another 20 years.

Unfortunately in 1989 when the Air Force wanted to cancel the program they used the one-time costs of these upgrades to calculate a very inflated operating cost for the SR-71 - the costs were inflated by a factor of 2-3.

The Air Force did essentially the same thing years later with the F-117 - inflated operating costs based on upgrades as justification for killing the program.

The SR-71 could perform a mission within several days, but the take from the mission required additional processing time as these systems were film based. In 1989 however this was only a minor concern. In 1995 when the SR-71 was reactivated on a limited contingency basis a realtime downlink for the ASARS system was added.

The Air Force did not want the SR-71 and there were other competing systems in development at the time of cancellation. One of these systems was on life support, the other was many years away from any chance of being operational.

In Reply to: Revealed: the F-22's impact on the retirement of the SR-71 posted by Vahe Demirjian on May 22, 2024 at 21:00:00 PST:


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