Lockheed Martin’s secretive Skunk Works unit may have already finished making the radical hypersonic update of the long-retired Mach 3 SR-71 Blackbird spy plane.
Jack O’Banion, Vice President of Strategy and Customer Requirements, Advanced Development Programs for Lockheed Martin, let slip at a conference the unmanned aircraft has already been made.
Speaking at The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics SciTech Forum, he showed a slide of a digital mockup of the craft, and said ‘Without the digital transformation, the aircraft you see there could not have been made.’
Scroll down for video
Jack O’Banion posted this image of a digital ‘twin’ of the craft, saying ‘Without the digital transformation, the aircraft you see there could not have been made.’
‘In fact, five years ago, it could not have been made.’
O’Banion also said the aircraft will have a ‘digital twin’ that knows every part on the aircraft.
‘Talking about speed, you’re talking about hypersoncs, aircraft that operate above mach 5,’ he added.
According to Aviation Week late last year, a technology demonstrator, believed to be an unmanned subscale aircraft, was observed flying into the U.S. Air Force’s Plant 42 at Palmdale, where Skunk Works is headquartered, in July.
The SR-72 hypersonic plane will be a strike and reconnaissance aircraft that tops Mach 6, and the firm has been working on the project since the early 2000s…..more here