Boeing design studies in 1980s for hypersonic reconnaissance aircraft

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Message posted by Vahe Demirjian (Member since 04/28/2022) on July 01, 2024 at 16:45:30 PST:

It's been obvious from technical documentation that Lockheed in the late 1970s and 1980s worked on the Mach 5 Penetrator and other design studies for a hypersonic successor to the SR-71 under contract from the US Air Force. However, it recently transpired to me that a number of hypersonic reconnaissance designs were worked out by Boeing under the catch-all Model 1074 company designation for hypersonic military aircraft (including the Model 1074-0006 long-range interceptor):

The Boeing Model 1074-0012 and Model 1074-0019C were both designed for traveling at Mach 6 and used General Electric turboramjet engines, but the Model 1074-0019C had a single turboramjet buried in the rear fuselage, while the Model 1074-0012 happens to be the hydrogen-fueled airplane with two turboramjet engines below the wings shown in a three-view drawing from the 1992 report "Control Strategy for Maximizing Reconnaissance Range of Hypersonic Cruise Vehicles" (see webpage link, which erroneously dates the Model 1074-0012 drawing to 1990 despite the fact that the Model 1074-0012 design was conceived prior to 1990).

Again, Boeing's work on hypersonic spyplane projects in the 1980s not only helps to illuminate hypersonic spyplane design studies done in the US in that decade but also shows Bill Sweetman's limited knowledge of hypersonic spyplane design studies in the US during the 1970s and 1980s at the time he wrote the book "Aurora: The Pentagon's Secret Hypersonic Spyplane". John Boatman's 1994 article about the Quartz program, like the article in an early 1993 issue of Aerospace Daily magazine, revealed that the US Air Force in the 1980s invited aerospace firms to investigate the feasibility of a hypersonic follow-on to the SR-71, but eventually realized that scramjet technology was too immature to make a hypersonic spyplane feasible and began getting involved in the Quartz program in 1989/1990 (although USAF officials ruled out a notional reconnaissance version of the B-2 as an SR-71 replacement).

As a side note, was the Boeing methycyclohexane-fueled Mach 5.5 aircraft shown in a drawing in the 1990 report "Advanced Aircraft Secondary Power System Design" designed for reconnaissance or not, and did it receive a Model 1074-xxx designation like the Model 1074-0012 and 1074-0019?

Attached link: No-longer active FAS page on hypersonic spyplane rumors


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