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

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Message posted by Vahe Demirjian (Member since 04/28/2022) on May 23, 2024 at 14:18:44 PST:

I agree that development of the YF-22 played a very minor role in the USAF's initial retirement of the SR-71 in 1990 because the YF-22's victory in the ATF competition came down to Northrop's preoccupation with the B-2 and TSSAM programs. Your point about the time it would take for photos to be processed from SR-71 missions given that the Blackbird could carry film cameras ties in to comments by Defense Department official Keith R. Hall to the Senate Armed Services Committee on June 15, 1993 about the SR-71 being retired in 1990 because the canceled Quartz unmanned reconnaissance flying wing had a real-time satellite data link to provide images to field commanders, which the SR-71 lacked when it was retired in March 1990.

Lockheed definitely was busy in the late 1980s with production of the F-117, development of the YF-22 and its partnership with Boeing to redesign its Quartz proposal after a subscale demonstrator for Lockheed's initial Quartz design crashed in the mid-1980s. While Sheffield's remarks about Air Force Chief of Staff Larry Welch ordering the SR-71 to be retired to help Lockheed's chances of winning the ATF contract are quite exaggerated, Sheffield agrees with Sweetman and many other people (you and I included) that satellites were never going to replace the SR-71 due to the laws of orbital mechanics giving satellites only episodic coverage of enemy territory.

In Reply to: Re: Revealed: the F-22's impact on the retirement of the SR-71 posted by quellish on May 23, 2024 at 9:40:49 PST:


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