Military Review

What will the Lockheed Martin SR-72 hypersonic aircraft be?

41
What will the Lockheed Martin SR-72 hypersonic aircraft be?
Possible appearance of SR-72


In 2013, the management of Lockheed Martin first announced the development of a promising SR-72 aircraft capable of developing hypersonic speeds. Such news expectedly attracted the attention of specialists and amateurs aviation... In the future, new details of the work were repeatedly reported, but the finished aircraft is not yet available, and its construction and tests were again postponed to a later date.

From rumors to news


Rumors about the possible development of a new aircraft with characteristics no lower than that of the strategic reconnaissance SR-71 have been circulating over the past several decades. So, in the middle of the 5s, there were reports in the press about a new aircraft from Lockheed Martin, which could fly 6-XNUMX times faster than the speed of sound. However, all these rumors were not confirmed.

The first official information about the project with the working title SR-72 was published in November 2013 by Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine. It was reported that over the past few years, Lockheed Martin and related organizations have been engaged in a variety of research and created scientific and technical groundwork for the subsequent design of a new aircraft. Then it was argued that an experienced technology demonstrator aircraft could be created as early as 2018. Several images of the aircraft as presented by the artist were attached to the messages.

Soon the new information was commented on by the US Air Force command. The Pentagon as a whole is interested in the development of hypersonic aviation. Samples of this class should provide advantages over a likely enemy in the distant future. However, the SR-72 project was not discussed with the Air Force. In addition, the project was presented during a period of gradual cuts in military spending, which could negatively affect its future.

At the end of 2014, it became known about a new agreement between Lockheed Martin and NASA to conduct research work on the topic of hypersonic propulsion systems. Apparently, these studies ended in success. At the beginning of 2016, Lockheed-Martin spoke about an imminent technological breakthrough, which will allow speeds up to 6M.


SR-72 and original engine variant

In mid-2017, the timing of the work was adjusted. Then it became known about the transfer of the main design work to the beginning of the twenties. By this time it was planned to create the necessary technological and scientific groundwork.

Several interesting news came in early 2018. So, it became known that the construction of a demonstrator or an experienced SR-72 had not yet been launched. In addition, they announced the development of a number of new technologies that will ensure the creation of such an aircraft. It was noted that without them, it would not be possible to develop a car with the required level of performance.

The latest news about the SR-72 came a few months after that. Then Lockheed Martin said that a prototype aircraft will be built and will fly by 2025. The planned role of the machine was also revealed. It is proposed to make it a carrier of hypersonic missile weapons.

Technological groundwork


Official images of the SR-72, which may not reflect the actual design, show an IC machine with a lower fuselage and wing carrier, a delta wing with long beams and two engines in nacelles. Such materials do not allow determining the mass of important features of the project. In particular, it is still not clear if the SR-72 has a cockpit. Perhaps a heavy hypersonic UAV is being developed.

According to Lockheed Martin, the new aircraft will be able to reach speeds of at least 5-6M. This places particular demands on the design and materials of the airframe. According to various estimates, such a glider should have a mixed structure of heat-resistant alloys and composites. Additional cooling means may also be required, for example by circulating fuel, as on the serial SR-71.


Scout SR-71 - current Air Force speed record holder

Together with the company Aerojet Rocketdyne, a new engine of a combined scheme with a turbojet and a direct-flow circuit was developed. To create such a power plant, it was necessary to master new technologies. So, in 2018, they talked about creating engine parts using 3D printing. This made it possible to integrate a cooling system into them, providing the necessary characteristics and preventing the destruction of the structure in the main modes of operation.

The United States Air Force and Lockheed Martin no longer see the point in creating a high performance reconnaissance aircraft. Therefore, the promising SR-72, unlike its predecessor, the SR-71, will have to carry different equipment and / or weapons. So, it is proposed to make it a platform for hypersonic missiles, probably for strike purposes.

Airplane tasks


Soon after the "premiere" of the SR-72 project, representatives of the US Air Force talked about their interest in hypersonic topics. An aircraft with the highest flight performance can be useful for the further development of combat aviation. At the same time, it is not yet quite clear what niche the new Lockheed-Martin development can occupy.

Obviously, the Air Force will not order a hypersonic reconnaissance aircraft. Photo reconnaissance tasks have long been transferred to satellites and UAVs. Implementation of electronic intelligence is simply impossible due to the specifics of hypersonic flight.

The proposal for a hypersonic missile carrier with hypersonic weapons looks more logical and interesting. Such a strike complex will be able to solve particularly complex tasks and will seriously increase the potential of long-range aviation. First of all, it will significantly reduce the time required to strike at the designated target. In addition, the likelihood of a successful breakthrough through enemy air defense and missile defense increases.


However, despite the interest in hypersonic topics, the Air Force is in no hurry to order further development of the SR-72 as a missile carrier. Moreover, in the current plans for the development of tactical and strategic aviation there is simply no place for such equipment. Frontline aviation in the foreseeable future will develop through the construction and modernization of aircraft of the current types. The future of long-range aviation is associated with the B-21 project - it will be an unobtrusive subsonic aircraft.

The real prospects of the SR-72 can also be affected by the complexity of the project. It is obvious that such an aircraft, even taking into account the savings in mass production, will be record-breaking expensive. Accordingly, even the wealthy US Air Force will not be able to create a large fleet of such equipment. The inability to build the optimal amount of equipment and achieve the desired performance may even lead to the abandonment of the project.

Project Perspectives


As far as is known, to date, Lockheed Martin and related organizations have carried out a complex of research and development work and gained experience and technologies for the full development of the future SR-72. Reports from past years suggest that its design has already begun, and the first flight of the prototype will actually take place by the middle of the decade.

The real prospects of such a project are still in question. The potential customer speaks only of interest, but, as far as is known, he is in no hurry to conclude contracts and order a full-fledged combat vehicle. In addition, the aircraft with the characteristics and capabilities of the SR-72 does not correspond to the current plans of the Pentagon. Perhaps the Air Force is not yet willing to take risks and get involved with an overly daring project.

However, the situation may change in the coming years. By 2025, the development company plans to begin flight tests, based on the results of which a potential customer will draw conclusions. If Lockheed Martin and its associates were truly able to solve all the engineering and technological challenges, the project will receive support and be able to move beyond test flights.

It is not known what scenario the events will develop in the coming years. The development company has long ceased to please the public with new reports about the SR-72, and the potential customer is in no hurry to disclose their plans and intentions. Apparently, reports on the progress of work will become constant and regular only at the time of the launch of the tests - if the project is not closed by that time.
Author:
Photos used:
Lockheed Martin, US Air Force
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  1. Pessimist22
    Pessimist22 1 February 2021 06: 03
    -8
    Another drank some American dough.
    1. A1845
      A1845 1 February 2021 10: 43
      0
      a new engine of a combined scheme with turbojet and direct-flow circuits was developed.
      such pictures were published in the magazine "technology-youth" half a century ago or more
      again nothing news
      someone was able to master supersonic combustion? (do not offer hydrogen!)
      1. letinant
        letinant 2 February 2021 02: 37
        0
        Quote: A1845
        a new engine of a combined scheme with turbojet and direct-flow circuits was developed.
        such pictures were published in the magazine "technology-youth" half a century ago or more
        again nothing news
        someone was able to master supersonic combustion? (do not offer hydrogen!)

        You also remembered this issue of "Technician of the Youth". If I am not mistaken, then the year is somewhere between 1995-1996.
  2. Kot_Kuzya
    Kot_Kuzya 1 February 2021 06: 34
    -1
    Even at Mach 3, the plane's skin heats up to 400 degrees Celsius, as happened with the Blackbird, and at Mach 6, I think it will warm up to 1000 degrees, or even more, which makes it impossible to fly the plane at such a speed.
    1. Ka-52
      Ka-52 1 February 2021 07: 25
      +11
      and at 6 Mach, I believe it will heat up to 1000 degrees

      if it were up to 1000, then it would not be a problem. But at 6M, the heating temperature at the leading edges will be about 3000 degrees.
      1. Kot_Kuzya
        Kot_Kuzya 1 February 2021 07: 35
        0
        Well, even more so. Notably in the USA they are sawing the budget. Serdyukov and Vasilyeva against the background of the Pentagon generals sawers, just petty thieves.
        1. eklmn
          eklmn 1 February 2021 19: 42
          -1
          Kuzma, it's time to get used to capitalism. This is all state in Russia, and Serdyukov and Vasilyeva sawed off state grandmothers. And Lockheed Martin is a private company, and spends its money on development, on R&D, not government. Moreover, as written in the article, the company does not even know if the product will go into production. But this is how normal companies work - for the future. Personally, you are new, and it is not clear why ... Still, you live in the 21st century ...
          1. OgnennyiKotik
            OgnennyiKotik 2 February 2021 12: 15
            +2
            There are different types of development in the United States. According to the state program or corporate. If the state program, then the state compensates for the costs, there are 3 basic options: state budget (F-35), state + corporate budgets (F-117), state budget + all expenses in excess of the budget (B-2)
            There are purely corporate projects in which the state buys ready-made solutions.
      2. PROXOR
        PROXOR 1 February 2021 17: 27
        +1
        When the weave was put on the wing, it was made of titanium. It is based on the reduction in weight and resistance to heating.
    2. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 1 February 2021 12: 24
      +1
      Quote: Kot_Kuzya
      and at Mach 6, I think it will warm up to 1000 degrees, or even more, which makes it impossible for the plane to fly at such a speed.

      Do a little research on the topics you write about. Such a flight is not only possible, it was almost 60 years ago.


      The X-15 is an experimental US rocket plane. The first manned hypersonic aircraft to perform suborbital manned space flights. The first reusable spacecraft. The main objective of the X-15 project is to study the possibility of creating a manned suborbital hypersonic bomber X-20 Dyna Soar. For the study of flight at hypersonic speeds and the entry into the atmosphere of winged vehicles, assessment of design solutions, heat-shielding coatings, psychophysiology during control in the upper atmosphere.

      The record flight of the X-15 program was the flight of the pilot Joseph Walker 22 August 1963 year.

      Data for this flight:

      Gross weight of a refueled aircraft: 15195 kg
      Mass of consumed fuel: 6577 kg
      Weight after planting: 6260 kg
      Maximum height reached: 107,96 km
      Range of flight: 543,4 km
      Active Flight Duration: 85,8 seconds
      Mach Number: 5,58
      Media: NB-52A bomber
      In flight, an unofficial altitude record for the aircraft was achieved, which lasted from 1963 to 2004. The maximum speed is 7274 km / h. The maximum height is 107,96 km. The record was set by aircraft X-15 # 3, number 56-6672.
    3. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 1 February 2021 12: 55
      +3

      "at Mach 6, I think it will warm up to 1000 degrees, or even more, which makes it impossible for an airplane to fly at such a speed" ///
      ---
      But what about Zircon flies?
      It's a cruise missile. As it were - an unmanned disposable high-speed aircraft.
      1. onstar9
        onstar9 3 February 2021 03: 46
        -3
        Quote: voyaka uh
        "at Mach 6, I think it will warm up to 1000 degrees, or even more, which makes it impossible for an airplane to fly at such a speed" ///
        ---
        But what about Zircon flies?
        It's a cruise missile. As it were - an unmanned disposable high-speed aircraft.

        Well, then the Russian rocket. And they can do anything ...
  3. Reserve buildbat
    Reserve buildbat 1 February 2021 06: 41
    +3
    "Technological breakthrough", which was reported in 2016 - is this a picture of a turbojet engine and a ramjet engine? So I kind of saw such pictures back in the early 2000s. Another thing is that so far no one has been able to bring these pictures to metal.
    And there is another question: a hypersonic missile carrier should theoretically carry missiles in its internal compartments. How will they open hatches and launch rockets on hypersound? I just don't understand how the structure will hold up and how they are going to push the rocket into the stream.
    1. mark1
      mark1 1 February 2021 06: 56
      0
      Quote: Stroibat stock
      how they are going to push the rocket into the stream.

      Backside, backside ...
      And then the MiG-41 will jump!
      1. Reserve buildbat
        Reserve buildbat 1 February 2021 19: 12
        +2
        Very funny. About kindergarten level. I'm seriously interested. At such speeds, it is extremely difficult to bring anything outside the fuselage contour. Air, you know, also has a density. And opening the hatch is also very difficult. That is, there should be either a swing hatch-holder, like on the Blackburn Bucaneer, or sliding doors. Swinging doors here will greatly increase air resistance.
        1. mark1
          mark1 1 February 2021 19: 24
          0
          You at least strain and try to comprehend because I didn't say anything funny. The hatch opens not to the bottom, not to the side, but back (if you know it, as on the A-5 Vigilent) and the racket comes out of this hatch "backwards". As you can see, everything was invented and applied long before us.
          1. Reserve buildbat
            Reserve buildbat 1 February 2021 19: 29
            0
            Was wrong. I didn't even remember about Vigilent. I apologize.
            1. mark1
              mark1 1 February 2021 19: 30
              0
              Drove, also flared up ...
          2. Lontus
            Lontus 3 February 2021 04: 20
            +1
            Quote: mark1
            The hatch opens not to the bottom, not to the side, but back (if you know it, like on the A-5 Vigilent) and the racket comes out of this hatch "backwards".

            In practice, this scheme was not used on the A-5 Vigilent:
            "In practice, the system was not reliable and no live weapons were ever carried in the linear bomb bay. In the RA-5C configuration, the bay was used solely for fuel"

            So the question from Stroybat Reserve is very relevant.
            1. mark1
              mark1 3 February 2021 06: 59
              0
              Do not take on the burden of design problems (in practice, they were not used, but tests were carried out, where could they be, the plane would simply not have been adopted for service. And if you shove a simple bomb on the Vietnamese "ass", naturally in the 60s , accuracy will suffer, so it has not been applied in practice). There was a question, there was an answer with reference to a precedent - technically possible.
    2. Rufat
      Rufat 1 February 2021 09: 16
      -16%
      They're all bullshit. Only RUSSIA can do something like this
  4. Rufat
    Rufat 1 February 2021 09: 15
    -10%
    It's all nonsense. The Russian SU-57 is the best.
  5. Outsider
    Outsider 1 February 2021 11: 30
    +3
    Quote: Kot_Kuzya
    Even at Mach 3, the aircraft skin heats up to 400 degrees Celsius

    - 3M - 334 ° C.
    ... and at Mach 6, I think it will warm up to 1000 degrees, or even more, which makes it impossible for an airplane to fly at such a speed.

    - 6M - 1506 ° C.
    http://old.as-club.ru/kurs3/aero/html/kurs_567_0.html
    1. The eye of the crying
      The eye of the crying 1 February 2021 13: 35
      0
      Obviously, the temperature depends on the altitude. Some will be 1506 degrees, and some will not.
      1. Outsider
        Outsider 1 February 2021 18: 45
        0
        - The kinetic heating temperature depends on altitude only in the sense that the temperature changes with altitude. But since from 11 to 20 km the temperature is constant, -56 ° C, and from an altitude of 20 km to an altitude of 30 km it gradually increases by 10 ° C, i.e. at an altitude of 30 km, the outside air temperature is -46 ° C, then this dependence can be neglected and only the dependence on the number M can be considered. After all, hypersonic aircraft do not fly below 20 km.
  6. Mountain shooter
    Mountain shooter 1 February 2021 12: 24
    0
    Most likely, there will be no hypersonic aircraft. Is that space. There will be rockets (and already are), and what functions can an aircraft with such characteristics perform? Maneuver at such speeds? Yah...
    1. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 1 February 2021 12: 29
      0
      I don’t believe in the fact that it will go into the series in the coming decades, in what will be done completely. Without such projects, it is impossible to move science and technology forward. For this, there are a huge number of experimental aircraft of the X line.
  7. Narak-zempo
    Narak-zempo 1 February 2021 12: 51
    -4
    promising aircraft SR-72, capable of developing hypersonic speed

    That's where the spherical drank in a vacuum.
    At one time, after all, they covered up the super-expensive SR-71 program, because with the advent of reconnaissance satellites, the concept became outdated.
    What has changed besides Lockheed's appetites?
  8. PSih2097
    PSih2097 1 February 2021 13: 05
    -1
    In particular, it is still not clear if the SR-72 has cockpit.

    which will allow speeds up to 6M.

    Oh, what kind of condo should be there so that the pilot is not fried to a "crisp" ...
    1. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 1 February 2021 13: 17
      +3
      The same as almost 60 years ago, was on the X-15. This plane flew at a speed of 5,6M
      1. Local from the Volga
        Local from the Volga 3 February 2021 15: 21
        0
        I flew! One whole time!
  9. Klingon
    Klingon 1 February 2021 15: 44
    +1
    Quote: voyaka uh
    "at Mach 6, I think it will warm up to 1000 degrees, or even more, which makes it impossible for an airplane to fly at such a speed" ///
    ---
    But what about Zircon flies?
    It's a cruise missile. As it were - an unmanned disposable high-speed aircraft.

    Well, first of all, Zircon has no lantern. in addition, hypersonic vehicles have a special ceramic coating. By the way, the shuttles were covered with ceramic tiles in critical areas of the skin as they entered the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds. It was the damage to this skin that caused the disaster of one of the last shuttles.
    1. voyaka uh
      voyaka uh 2 February 2021 23: 53
      +1
      So you're assuming that Zircon has a ceramic coating?
      Otherwise, its seeker, electronics will burn out at hypersonic speed.
      1. Klingon
        Klingon 3 February 2021 03: 41
        +1
        ceramic-based coating is the first thing that comes to mind, although I may be wrong, maybe these are completely different materials, who knows, they are usually not very declassified. By the way, blocks of conventional ICBMs also enter the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds. for a long time already
        1. voyaka uh
          voyaka uh 3 February 2021 12: 02
          0
          "conventional ICBMs also enter the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds" ///
          ----
          A conventional ICBM warhead is a strictly symmetrical cone that enters
          the atmosphere is almost vertical. It is covered with a thick layer of heat-shielding materials.
          The warhead at the terminal site looks like a falling meteorite. With a long burning tail.

          We're talking about WINGED rockets. Which should, like Zircon, be induced
          and hit a moving target. And somehow not to burn out
          at hypersonic speed. We are discussing this riddle. recourse
  10. NF68
    NF68 1 February 2021 17: 54
    +1
    Wouldn't it be easier for the Americans to use satellites for these purposes?
    1. OgnennyiKotik
      OgnennyiKotik 1 February 2021 17: 57
      +1
      One does not cancel or exclude the other. Orbital aircraft have been flying for more than 10 years. New projects are launched. They do not care what payload they carry.

      1. NF68
        NF68 1 February 2021 17: 59
        0
        Quote: OgnennyiKotik
        One does not cancel or exclude the other. Orbital aircraft have been flying for more than 10 years. New projects are launched. They do not care what payload they carry.



        Satellites will be cheaper.
  11. Outsider
    Outsider 1 February 2021 18: 47
    0
    Quote: OgnennyiKotik
    The same as almost 60 years ago, was on the X-15. This plane flew at a speed of 5,6M

    - Mostly in space, rising to an altitude (sometimes) of just over 100 km. laughing
  12. evgen1221
    evgen1221 2 February 2021 18: 41
    0
    Until the engine and materials work out, the wunderwafe won't exist.
  13. Klingon
    Klingon 3 February 2021 18: 04
    0
    Quote: voyaka uh
    "conventional ICBMs also enter the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds" ///
    ----
    A conventional ICBM warhead is a strictly symmetrical cone that enters
    the atmosphere is almost vertical. It is covered with a thick layer of heat-shielding materials.
    The warhead at the terminal site looks like a falling meteorite. With a long burning tail.

    We're talking about WINGED rockets. Which should, like Zircon, be induced
    and hit a moving target. And somehow not to burn out
    at hypersonic speed. We are discussing this riddle. recourse

    Well, how does it mean that they solved this problem, because in the KB there are no fools sitting right? And is ceramics not a heat-shielding material in your opinion? quite to itself, up to 5000 ° C will withstand calmly