ANSWER of this QUESTION is given in the LINK below Faster than a speeding bullet and unlike any other aircraft ever built it raced the Sun and one Flying at speeds of 2,000 miles an hour in the top 1% of the Earth’s atmosphere It holds every major speed and altitude record for a jet you did all of this Effortlessly, and that was the feeling you had that you had control of so much power It was the world’s first stealth aircraft Flying over enemy territory and photographing a hundred thousand square miles of the Earth’s surface in an hour You were sitting at the very front of that hundred and seven foot long spear penetrating enemy airspace you were Truly the tip of the sword if anything went wrong. We would be on the 6 o’clock news once shrouded in secrecy battle stations now reveals using archive film and color reenactments the covert world of the sr-71 blackbird In order to create an aircraft capable of operating at the speeds and altitudes that Kelly envisaged His skunkworks team would have to overcome a series of huge technological problems It was clear that a traditional aluminium airframe would not withstand these extreme conditions You could not fly an airplane past 2.6. Mach, and you just barely mega then with aluminum his ear planted just turned to jelly The decision was made to build the airframe from titanium Titanium was both light enough to reach altitudes in excess of 80,000 feet and strong enough to withstand the enormous temperatures generated by Mach 3 flight No one had ever built an airplane out of titanium so he had to begin from scratch We didn’t even have tools that you could use to develop titanium and to bendin to shape it to make an airplane So we had to start by designing tools. It was a gigantic undertaking Creating an aircraft able to cruise at Mach 3 was difficult enough, but the skunkworks Also had to face the challenge of combining this level of performance with the new science of stealth To avoid features that would create strong radar reflections the plane had taken on a revolutionary shape The wings were blended into the body and The long surfaces on the forward fuselage known as chimes were designed to deflect incoming radar waves As with the inward angled twin fins The pointed engine cones and the nearly flat lower fuselage Also a special radar absorbent plastic or composite was developed to be incorporated into all the leading edges When you look at an sr-71 20% of what you see is composite, you know it’s just unbelievable at that time, and it was developed in our shops An sr-71 was a hundred times smaller radar return Than an f-14 which is only half as big and was developed ten years later. So that was a really truly first airplane specifically designed with stealth in mind The development of the sr-71 was being carried out under conditions of utmost secrecy On the 22nd of December 1964 the sr-71 was rolled out onto the flight line of Lockheed’s Burbank plant Coated in black Radar-absorbent ferrite paint the black bird as it became known was an extraordinarily futuristic looking machine Lockheed test pilot Robert Gilliland would be the first in the cockpit When we got going as a matter of fact For the actual first flight it had 383 open items these are things that are supposed to be working that aren’t working

So it was a bare-bones type of operation for the first flight, and you might say these kind of things could be dangerous But there are plenty of other people that would like to been in my position. I assure you of that The acceleration when we made the first engine run and they had those afterburners going in there and that thing is straining against those cables, and I just Felt boy. This is really gonna be something The flight lasted just over one hour reaching top speeds of over a thousand miles an hour a phenomenal accomplishment for a first flight of any aircraft Kelly Josh was there and some of his guests were there, and I don’t remember who else was there But the whole kit and caboodle were very happy including me It seemed that Kelly had created his ultimate spy plane But would it be able to evade radar and fly high enough and fast enough to escape the Soviet fighters and missiles in 1966 the first sr-71 spy plane was delivered to Beale Air Force Base in California a Shot of triethyl borin gas ignites the fuel and the j58 engines are started We’re really got impressive is when it starts taxing out of the Hank And it’s 110 feet long and so the same keeps coming out keeps coming out keeps coming out and all of a sudden you realize That’s an awesome looking airplane as it gradually comes out of the hangar So here we’re we’re looking on airplane there’s going to be going 2,000 miles an hour, and it’s design was so futuristic There’s like no other airplane that had ever been Designed because it was going to fly in an environment that no other airplane had ever been I Never forget, how it feels to light those afterburners and feel one light before the other one does and it jerks you pretty hard And it accelerates rather rapidly just a matter of seconds. You’re you hitting 180 knots indicated air speed lifting off at 210 Making sure you get the gear retracted before it over speeds at 300 knots and you keep pulling that nose up to try to achieve The 400 not climb out and in less than two minutes from brake release you’re pouring out of after burning your level of 24,000 feet It’s quite a ride I Remember the first time I took the aircraft up to speed and into altitude then went through Mach 1 and I approached Mach 2 and it went through Mach 2 without the slightest indication of any problems, and I marveled at that And then it rolled right on through Mach 3 But none of us had ever been that fast before but you did all of this Effortlessly, and that was the feeling you had that she had control of so much power on this aircraft That was almost limitless As the sr-71 accelerates through Mach 3 the triple sonic boom is followed by a blast of heat radiated in its black skin that reaches temperatures of 1,100 degrees It truly flew through the air like a hot knife through butter it really did so it was pointy on every end But it had elegance, but it was an elegance that was designed for performance On March the 21st 1968 the first sr-71 operational sortie was flown out of Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa, Japan Approaching the target area the RSO concentrates on operating the high-tech surveillance equipment The six different cameras were able to photograph a hundred thousand square miles in an hour Producing images with such high resolution that of vehicles number plate could be clearly identified The Blackbird crews were successfully infiltrating enemy territory and gathering a mass of intelligence about their adversaries but with the Iron Curtain still firmly in place and Soviet technology constantly improving how long with the Sr-71 remain flying safely in such dangerous areas it would soon fix the ultimate test

It was time to bring in the Blackbird The sr-71 would fly directly from Griffis Air Force Base, New York to the Middle East The flight would be over 11 hours long with six refuelings on the 12th of October under codename giant reach the mission began By 10 o’clock in the morning the sr-71 had reached its second refuelling point over Portugal Because of the highly classified nature of this mission no one other than the tanker crew knew they were coming on the way in to that particular refuelling the tanker crews said the Portuguese control kept calling out an airplane in relation to the tanker and the Tanker says you know we don’t see anybody of course They knew it was us But I’m sure that they could tell on their scope Something was happening because the two blips merged for a while for 20 minutes, and then this one accelerates on Jim Shelton approached the Egyptian coastline The Egyptians were well-equipped with their Soviet allies constantly replenishing less Appliance Russia was developing the si5 which was a missile that would go up above well above your altitude and come back down at you and Yes, that was a concern You had the radar receiver in the back cockpit Gary could tell me that yes now we’re being tracked by some Sam missile We need to do something so at that particular point we were Jam we would speed up By the time the Egyptian missiles were ready to fire the sr-71 had already cleared their airspace and was speeding towards Israel But the heavily armed Israelis, also had no knowledge of this covert blackbird operation and immediately went on full alert When we rolled in on the first pass over Israel My defensive system just lighted up like a pinball machine and I indicated to my pilot. I got all these indications back here. I said just you know maybe keep your eyes open because Seems like somebody’s shooting at us Despite launching a barrage of missiles the Israelis did not manage to shoot their presumed enemy out of the sky The Blackbird headed back to the United States no, one knew the airplane could fly that far and perform a mission like that and come back and and Hand the intelligence people the product The Blackbird was also a record breaker on September the 13th 1974 Kelly Johnson’s Sr-71 flew across seven time zones from London to Los Angeles in a race with the Sun taking just three hours 47 minutes and 39 seconds In the same year the Blackbird had flown a record-breaking flight from New York to London Fifty-two years earlier Charles Lindbergh had flown approximately the same distance in 33 hours The sr-71 made the flight in 1 hour 55 minutes and 42 seconds But the sr-71 would soon be needed in a more serious capacity Another soviet-backed middle-eastern enemy was on the warpath and was determined to humiliate the United States There would be no better way than to shoot the sr-71 out of the sky At RAF Mildenhall in England Sr-71 pilot Brian shul knew that they were on course for retaliation now We knew that something was going on because all of a sudden the Mildenhall base had a an extra security arm of guards around it Our BOQ living quarters had armed guards at the doors next thing you knew every tanker and the airforce Practically was landing at keel Mildenhall there were new airplanes on the ramp that you hadn’t seen before and it was no secret to Every Brit aircraft spotter out there that there was something going on The British government gave permission for the United States to fly the missions from their bases in England At 9:30 a.m On the 14th of April the sr-71 crew members were ordered to a top-secret briefing They were informed that the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing at Lakenheath would be striking selected libyan targets within hours When we heard the words you know this morning at 2:00 a.m.. The f-111s are launching

We were a little surprised that well. This is for real. It’s happening The sr-71s job would be to record the results of the airstrikes against Tripoli and Benghazi that Night the f-111s began their mission So when we’re trying to sleep in the middle of the night you’re awakened by the war of f-111s taking off Listen to that it was quite serious at that time because we knew maybe some of those people wouldn’t come back By the time the sr-71 crews arrived to prepare for their mission the f-111s were already bombing Libya The 111 had a number of targets to take out Missile defenses sites and things but also all the terrorist training camps and to really hit Qaddafi’s headquarters basically To really show them that we’re going to come right into his backyard Our job was to come and assess everything that was done. I gather pictures and target data for maybe succeeded strikes Flying in directly after a bombing raid the cruise could expect Libya’s sophisticated air defense network to be on full alert and eager to retaliate After refueling and now traveling at supersonic speeds they near the Gulf of Sidra and the Libyan target area We’re doing over 2,000 miles an hour at this point and we were we were like a speeding bullet except faster and We had crossed the line of death with impunity But the Libyans equipped with the latest Soviet long-range high-altitude missiles pose the greatest threat yet to the Blackbird It was at that time that Walters start picking up some missile signals he got two indications, and then actually got a launch indication And we had a big decision to make where we were we were running into the target area before we made the turn we continued to that point where Qaddafi’s headquarters were or do we make a turn away now to save ourselves from the missiles and Our decision was to push the throttles board we thought in 14 seconds We can beat that missile to that point and then make the turn Made the turn Went feet wet got to the coast yet, and I will tell you That was probably the fastest I’ve ever seen the sr-71 and fly They don’t run the missile gathered the photographic intelligence, and we’re now heading away from the danger zone Walt said okay, you can you can pull it back now Where was my hand was still locked in the forward position there? We were seeing Mach numbers that were a little scary that we had not seen before and the jet did it effortlessly The intelligence photos that were brought back clearly showed that the bombing mission had been a success But despite the success of the sr-71s over Libya its days were numbered at the end of the 1980s It was decided that the cost of operating the sr-71 was no longer sustainable the Blackbird program was terminated From now on All American surveillance would be carried out by satellites on December the 20th 1989 the Sr-71 made a final pass down the runway at Lockheed’s Burbank plant in honor of all those who worked on this exceptional play Kelly Johnson was there to pay an emotional farewell to his favorite creation Impressive to the last the Blackbird said for international speed records while being delivered to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum The sr-71 blackbird served six different presidents and saw action on hot and cold war fronts alike and Despite being shot at over 4,000 times No aircraft was ever lost to enemy fire It is the only operational airplane in the history of the American Air Force in which no Air Force crew members were ever killed That’s a record that no other airplane has and when you consider the environment in which it flew The speed the altitude the temperatures, that’s a real credit to Kelly Johnson