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Waspie_Dwarf

US to build hypersonic spy plane

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US plans for hypersonic robot spy plane revealed

Lockheed Martin has begun work on a successor to the supersonic Blackbird SR-71 spy plane.

The unmanned SR-72 will use an engine that combines a turbine and a ramjet to reach its top speed of Mach 6 - about 3,600mph (5,800km/h).

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I think it's ridiculous to believe they haven't had a spyplane that can outperform the blackbird for decades. The blackbird was nearly 40 years old before they even acknowledged it's existence, can we seriously believe that they would tell us about it's successor before it was built?

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Mach 6 is ridiculous..

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So what does the US need this for?? The only nation worth spying on is China and can't we just do that with Geo-synchronous satellites?? I thought satellites made high speed recon planes obsolete?

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So what does the US need this for??

For spying funnily enough.

The only nation worth spying on is China

Tell the troops in Afganistan that.

and can't we just do that with Geo-synchronous satellites??

Nope. Geosynchronous orbit 22,500 miles above the Earth and are next to useless for spying at that distance, Spy satellites are typically in low earth orbit 100-200 miles up.

I thought satellites made high speed recon planes obsolete?

Had you actually read the article before commenting you would have read this:

While spy satellites can photograph enemy territory, the relatively long time it takes for them to be moved to a new orbit so they pass over a target can limit their usefulness.

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For spying funnily enough.

Tell the troops in Afganistan that.

Are you suggesting that we need a mach 6 spy drone in order to know what is going on in Afghanistan? I thought we already had Predator drones to do that, plus a half dozen other forms of data collecting.

Nope. Geosynchronous orbit 22,500 miles above the Earth and are next to useless for spying at that distance, Spy satellites are typically in low earth orbit 100-200 miles up.

You are right the geosynchronous spy sats are SIGINT, or signal intellegence, and the Imaging spy sats (IMINT) are in low orbit.

Had you actually read the article before commenting you would have read this:

Still you get a lot more mobility, but at a gigantic cost. I'd also imagine that high value targets already have a imaging spy sat sitting on them. So, probably this drone would be good for observing lower priority/value targets, or out of the way places, or during a highly mobile war. I just think that we already have hardware to do that and at less cost.

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The XR37B may be used for surveillance activity. Although it allows for extended missions, I would imagine the costs associated with this vehicle are considerably greater than a sub-orbital mach 6 aircraft. I am more surprised it has been such a long time in coming.

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