The Lockheed Martin SR-72 is a conceptualized hypersonic UAV intended for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance proposed by American company Lockheed Martin to succeed the retired Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.
In June 2017, Lockheed Martin announced that the SR-72 would be in development by the early 2020s and is to top Mach 6. Executive Vice President Rob Weiss commented that
SR-72 Will carry weapons, which the famous SR-71 never did. It was used for espionage and intelligence gathering, instead.
The SR-72 is essentially a hypersonic precision bomber with the objective of striking an adversary before they have time to counteract the attack, along with possible espionage capability.
The purpose of O’Banion’s presentation of the SR-72 and its scramjet engine was to explain the critical role of digital advancements in designing and testing the aircraft and its engine in digital 3D models.
He claims the digital transformation in recent years allowed the design to be robust with no moving parts, and to be extremely agile at hypersonic speeds.
Lockheed announced it was developing the SR-72 in 2013, and that the “Son of Blackbird” would hit Mach 6 — over 4,500 mph — and possibly be operational by 2030.
Last year, reports emerged that Lockheed might test an “optionally piloted” flight research vehicle in 2018, and an actual test flight in 2020.