h/t Daily Timewaster
|And I suppose they recruit pilots from the deserts of
BFE who used to bullseye womp rats in their T-16s, right?
CW posted this (he was kidding) as the "artists conception of the SR-81".
Look, we retired the SR-71s in 1999.
Some anonymous soopergenius opined that "satellites replaced the SR-71" and "high flyers aren't coming back".
Catch up on anything-but-current-events, from 30 years ago in fact:
(REALITY) The mysterious rumble and bounce has occurred five times since last June, always about 7 a.m. on Thursdays. These were no earthquakes, but a passing aircraft, Caltech seismologists say.
"All I can say is that it's something that's traveling through the atmosphere at several times the speed of sound in a generally northeasterly direction," said Jim Mori, a seismologist with the United States Geological Survey at Caltech.
Analysts from Jane's Defense Weekly, the widely respected London-based military periodical, say that the Thursday morning phenomenon could be a top secret new spy plane, dubbed the Aurora, that can fly up to six times the speed of sound, or about 4000 MPH.
The Air Force denies that any such plane exists.
Jim Mori, Ph.D., anything but dumb, is a SME on earthquakes and seismology. And California is paved with GPS-precise-to-millimeters seismographs wall-to-wall, which made collecting the data easy and meticulously precise. So when a string of "earthquakes" hit SoCal in 1991-1992, always before 7am, always on a Thursday, he plotted the rumbles on the SoCal seismograph network, and did some napkin math.
The minute-by-minute timelines formed an arrow-straight chevron moving at about 70 miles a minute south to north from the Pacific Ocean towards Area 51, and Tonopah AFB beyond that, and based on speed-over-ground, they were moving at 4000+ MPH. Mach 6.
Pre-7am, because this was a project in progress, and on Thursday, unlike Fridays, traffic was lighter, so less people up and about. Project engineers and such tend to be M-F guys. And earthquakes don't punch time clocks.
Ergo, something moving in the air, not in the ground, at Mach 6, and coming in for a landing at one of the two most secured and remote AFBs we have.
Since then, other evidence has piled up:
Black delta-wing unidentified aircraft, frequently seen in high-altitude formation with USAF birds like KC-17s and F-15s, etc., over the USA and Europe. Frequently with contrails suggestive of a pulse-jet, and making an unfamiliar and distinctive sound.
I remind all and sundry that it was years between the SR-71s first operational flights for recon after the U-2s vulnerability was exposed to the world in 1960, and the time the USAF actually admitted to owning and flying the -71.
To date, AFAIK, they've still never copped to the existence of the Aurora, let alone revealed nomenclature, official photos, performance specs, or anything like, in 30 years.
But you think they gave up a world-beating recon and intel asset like the SR-71 (it was still setting speed records the day they retired it), in exchange for nothing? Or satellites? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Sure they did. NOT.
Now, see if you can figure out why China and Russia have spent the last 30 years busting their scientific asses to develop hypersonic missile tech, at a huge cost in effort and treasure.
Hint: It ain't to shoot down recon satellites, kids.
(Sidenote: If the Air Farce had someone really bright somewhere, their most top secret:codeword-level unit would be a couple of science fantasists, and a small crew of welders and carpenters, and their sole job 24/7/365 would be to create whimsical plywood and sheet metal fake aircraft, especially designs that failed spectacularly, and plant them at a few testing airbases, and leave them out for satellite recon and GoogleEarth to find. I'd also have them take a couple of cutting edge planes and paint false black silhouettes on the undersides, and change the shape using light blue over wingtips and such, maybe a couple of smoke generators on underwing mounts to fake additional engines, just to give amateur airplaneologists something misleading to photograph. For that matter, they'd create fake ICBM silos scattered on military bombing ranges, and leave a few SSBNs fake hulls moored at several Navy docksides too, with full guards and foot traffic. Just saying.)
On a tip from a reader - Morons will be morons: The Great Canadian Dronemaster Windbag gets it wrong again. Space starts at the Kármán Line, where the atmosphere ceases to exist, which is 100km (330,000') up, some 230,000' feet higher than reconnaissance aircraft reportedly fly, i.e. nearly 2½ times higher than anything with wings goes since the X-15 stopped going there. This boundary was established in the 1960s, and recon planes don't fly there, because by definition, no one flies where there's no atmosphere within which aircraft (which cleverly has "air" in the description) control surfaces would work. People who fly to space get astronaut wings. People who fly recon flights have ordinary pilots' wings. And they carry their balls in their helmet bags, because they need something that big to hold them. Stick with being massively ignorant about drones, Gasbag. Being ignorant about everything you touch only takes you from sad to utterly pathetic. But thanks for playing, and enjoy the extra looks.