Spy Plane Can Fly Anywhere on Earth—in an Hour

But aircraft won't be in service until 2030 at the earliest

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 6, 2013 12:45 PM CST | Updated Nov 10, 2013 3:55 PM CST

(Newser) – Lockheed Martin is working on an unmanned spy plane that can travel at six times the speed of sound—meaning that no matter where it needs to go, it can be there in an hour, LiveScience reports. The SR-72, under development in California, is a follow-up to the SR-71 Blackbird, developed in the 1960s and used by the US Air Force until 1998. At mach 6—some 3,500mph—the upcoming plane will go twice as fast as its predecessor, and three times as fast as today's fighter jets.

"Hypersonic is the new stealth," Lockheed engineer Brad Leland tells Reuters. "Your adversaries cannot hide or move their critical assets. They will be found. That becomes a game-changer." A missile showing off the technology could be ready in five or six years, at a cost of less than $1 billion, he says. But the plane itself will take a little longer. It could be ready for service by 2030, notes Aviation Week via LiveScience.

A Lockheed Martin image of the planned plane.
A Lockheed Martin image of the planned plane.   (Lockheed Martin)
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