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The BLACKBIRD, revisited in BLACKSBURG. Presented by: Pedro De Oliveira Michael Libeau on April 21, 2000. Motivation for the project. American intelligence forecasted U-2 vulnerability Subsonic cruise speed 70 kft ceiling 1750 nm range Improved Russian missile technology plotted (SAM’s)

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the blackbird revisited in blacksburg


Presented by:

Pedro De Oliveira

Michael Libeau

on April 21, 2000.

motivation for the project
Motivation for the project
  • American intelligence forecasted U-2 vulnerability
    • Subsonic cruise speed
    • 70 kft ceiling
    • 1750 nm range
  • Improved Russian missile technology plotted (SAM’s)
  • U-2 being shot down on May 1, 1960 over U.R.S.S. reinforced the idea
  • Government asked for a new aircraft
    • low radar cross-section aircraft
    • Mach 3+ cruising speed (continuous!)
    • altitudes in excess of 80 kft.
a12 the definitive idea
A12 - the definitive idea

[Whitford], p. 188

sr 71a general data
SR-71A General Data
  • Primary function: Strategic Reconnaissance
  • Wing span = 55 ft 7in (16.942 m)
  • Length = 107 ft, 5 in (32.741 m)
  • GTOW = 140,000 lbf (63,500 kgf)
  • [email protected] = 2 [email protected],500 lbf (65,000 lbf SLST)
  • Max speed = Mach 3.31 (World record speed)
  • Rate of Climb = 10,000+ fpm
  • Ceiling = 85,069 ft (also a World record)
  • Range = 2,982 nm at Mach 3, 74,740 ft, on internal fuel
  • Endurance on internal fuel, at loiter speed= 7h,
  • At above range 1h20min over target area
  • Manufacturer: Lockheed (McNamara ordered tooling destroyed)
speed comparison faster than a rifle bullet
Speed Comparison(“faster than a rifle bullet”)
  • Mig-25engines reported being destroyed after flying at 3.2M. Unofficial maximum speed was 2.8M
  • XB-70 only dashed at 3.2M - most of the flight was subsonic.
  • The SR-71 used to fly at 3.0M+ for hours.
thrust to weight ratio comparison
Thrust-to-Weight Ratio Comparison
  • The Mig-25 fuselage has a much smaller fineness ratio.

Jane’s, 74/75

more on t w x w s comparison
More on T/W x W/S Comparison





[Whitford], p. 39

aerodynamic considerations another application of the kiss methodology
Aerodynamic ConsiderationsAnother application of the KISS methodology
  • High fineness ratio bodies
  • Highly swept double-delta wing.

[Whitford], p. 188

aerodynamic considerations fuselage
Aerodynamic Considerations - FUSELAGE
  • High fineness ratio for minimum wave drag
  • Use of chines:
    • better directional stability: reduction of the side-force
    • offset the backward movement of the A.C. with Mach number

[Whitford], p. 150

[Whitford], p. 150

aerodynamic considerations wing
Aerodynamic Considerations - WING
  • Double-delta plan form allows high (t/c) ratio to minimize wave drag
  • Swept keeps most of the wing in Mach cone :
    • For Mach 3.0 flight
    • SR-71 wing sweep angle:
  • Conical camber
    • moves the center of lift inboard
    • relieves loading on engine nacelle structure due to outboard wing
    • reduction in high rolling moment due to sideslip inherent to highly swept wings

[Whitford], p. 188

aero considerations vertical tails
Aero Considerations - VERTICAL TAILS
  • All moving tails (+20/-20 deg)
  • Cant angle to
    • reduce induced rolling moment when dr ≠ 0
    • stay on the correct side of the vortices shed by the nacelles - reduced VT deflection at low speed with  ≠ 0

Whitford, p. 195

vortices i
Vortices - I

Crickmore p 66

vortices ii
Vortices - II

Crickmore p 181

the all moving vts
The all-moving VTs.

Crickmore p 44

Drendel p 20

aero considerations aerodynamic heating
Aero Considerations - Aerodynamic Heating
  • The SR-71, a hot airplane:
    • 600 F at nose (aerodynamic heating at Mach 3+)
    • 520 F at the windshield glass
    • 1200 F at the exhaust nozzle (fuel burned)
  • 93% of the structural weight built of Titanium alloys
  • Cord-wise corrugations on wing skin
  • The utility of the black paint (lower temps., lower RCS)
  • Nitrogen both in tires and in fuel tank
aero considerations aerodynamic heating1
Aero Considerations - Aerodynamic Heating
  • Fuel used also as coolant
  • JP-7, a high-flashing point fuel
  • Fuel leakage always a problem
  • Special hydraulic fluids (powders?) to operate at 600 F
  • Special tires, retracted into the fuselage fuel tank area
fuel leakage always a problem
Fuel leakage always a problem

Air&Space Magazine, Feb/Mar 99, vol. 13 (6)

propulsion turbojet or ramjet
Propulsion: Turbojet or Ramjet?
  • At Mach 3 cruise, turbojet engine makes only 17% of total thrust

AIAA-69-757, p. 7

turbo ramjet a hybrid propulsion system
Turbo-ramjet: a hybrid propulsion system

AIAA-69-757, p. 7

AIAA-69-757, p. 7

flow must decelerate from supersonic to subsonic before the compressor first stage
Flow must decelerate from supersonic to subsonic before the compressor first stage

  • Reconnaissance (it should be RS, Pres. Johnson turned it SR)
  • Interceptor (YF-12)
  • Mother-ship
  • Research Vehicle
sr 71 in high speed research
SR-71 in High Speed Research
  • NASA Dryden currently is conducting high speed flight research using two SR-71 aircraft.
  • Excellent platforms to carry out research and experiments in a variety of areas (aerodynamics, propulsion,structures, thermal protection materials, high-speed and high-temperature instrumentation, atmospheric studies and sonic boom characterization)
  • Data from the SR-71 high-speed research program will be used to aid designers of future supersonic/hypersonic aircraft and propulsion systems, including a high-speed civil transport.
nasa s sr 71 and a 12
NASA’s SR-71 and A-12

bye bye blackbird
Bye-bye, Blackbird.

[Jenkins], p. 85

one airplane several names
One airplane, several names
  • A(rchangel)-12
  • Blackbird
  • Cygnus
  • Habu
  • Senior Crown
  • SR-71 as Strategic Reconnaissance, but also...
  • YF-12
reference list
Reference List
  • Burrows, William E., “The Oxcart Cometh,” Air&Space Magazine, Vol. 13 (6), Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C., Feb./Mar. 1999.
  • Crickmore, Paul F., “LOCKHEED SR-71 – The Secret Missions Exposed,” BAS Printers Limited, Great Britain, 1993.
  • Drendel, Lou, “SR-71 Blackbird in action,” Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., Carrolton, TX, 1982.
  • “Jane’s All the World Aircraft” from years 68/69, 69/70, 74/75.
  • Jenkins, Dennis R., “SR-71/YF-12 BLACKBIRDS”, WARBIRDTECH series, vol. 10, Specialty Press Publishers and Wholesalers, 1997.
  • Johnson, Clarence L., “Some Development Aspects of the YF-12A Interceptor Aircraft,” AIAA Paper No. 69-757, 1969.
  • Whitford, Ray, “Design for Air Combat”.