SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft

SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft

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Credit: US AIR FORCE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: SR-71 Blackbird strategic reconnaissance aircraft in flight. This aircraft was designed and built at the Lockheed Company's legendary 'Skunk Works' and was operational between 1964 and 1998. About 85% of the aircraft structure is made from titanium and titanium alloys; ironically the metal was obtained covertly from the USSR at the height of the Cold War. The SR-71 holds two world records for air-breathing manned aircraft: the fastest sustained speed (3529.6 km/h, Mach 3.32) and the greatest sustained altitude at 25,929 metres (85,069 feet). A total of 32 SR-71 aircraft were built. Photographed on a mission out of its home base, Beale Air Force Base, California, USA.

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