Blackbird: why did the Americans want to bring a unique reconnaissance plane back to life

On September 11, 2001, the United States of America was attacked on its own land. Much has been written about the September 11 attacks and the ensuing Global War on Terror. But over the years, more and more details of events of that time have surfaced, writes The American magazine The Drive.

One of the least known events for fans of the unique SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft and aviation enthusiasts in general is an attempt to resurrect the program in the early 2000s.

The SR-71 program was officially discontinued on November 22, 1989. In the 1990s, Blackbird supporters made unsuccessful attempts to bring the planes back into service. The point in the debate was put by then US President Bill Clinton. In 1999, the SR-71 scouts were handed over to NASA, and several museums received aviation museums.

However, less than 2 years later, immediately after the bloody terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Pentagon requested the opportunity to return Blackbird planes to the Air Force. This took up to 90 days and about $ 45 million.

The new role of the SR-71 was to be in the fight against terrorism. The Pentagon wanted to use a unique aircraft for mapping enemy territory, as well as for “non-lethal demonstrations of force”, flying over the enemy at supersonic speeds of 3000 km / h and scaring him with a shock wave (apparently, this is about Afghanistan - approx. Ed.).

As of September 13, 2001, three SR-71 aircraft, with tail numbers 61-7980, 61-7971, and 61-7967, were located at the Edwards US Air Force base. There was work to re-mothball these complex and truly unique aircraft.

However, the limited support from the leadership of the Air Force, as well as the alleged high cost of operation, which, by the way, has always been the curse of this aircraft, did not allow the plans to come true.

In addition, since the creation of Blackbird, the very methods of reconnaissance have changed. Satellites were used in full, which were significantly cheaper in maintenance and did not endanger the lives of pilots (due to their simple absence).

Moreover, the U.S. Air Force still had U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, which could well cope with the tasks of mapping the terrain.
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  1. slesarg65 Offline slesarg65
    slesarg65 (Igor Ivanov) 30 March 2020 15: 26
    Apparently, we went along a difficult path. Again money. The plane, of course, is epoch-making, but there are so many defects! He would have airtight tanks - and there would be no price - here the bullet flew by and yeah! But somehow in the USA they are not friends with titanium. Ours even boiled the submarine, and they are riveted. Well, if only rubber tanks guessed to lay in the plane, but no!
    1. Lieutenant Rzhevsky I 30 March 2020 16: 26
      Quote: slesarg65
      He would have sealed tanks


      Quote: slesarg65
      But somehow in the USA they are not friends with titanium.

      Why make friends? You can buy from Russia.
    2. Arkharov Offline Arkharov
      Arkharov (Grigory Arkharov) 31 March 2020 23: 14
      Yes, somehow treated the existing tanks, probably know what they are doing. Unique, of course, is the plane, and not one is lost. 800 futile missile launches on it in Vietnam.
  2. Lieutenant Rzhevsky I 30 March 2020 16: 38
    The Pentagon wanted to use a unique plane to map enemy territory,

    They did not have maps of Afghanistan? Satellites could not cope with this task?
    It seems that the chest just opened.

    It took up to 90 days and about 45 million dollars.