Under the Americans set up layers of “shady” shadow, has long been unable to understand the “Blackbird” family the truth. In fact, the “Blackbird” family, namely “Blackbird” series aircraft have three generations: the CIA’s single-seat reconnaissance aircraft A-12 “bullock cart” and its variants, test and USAF YF-12A fighter strategy reconnaissance SR-7l. These three types other aircraft were manufactured 15, 3 and 31. Currently still in use, “Blackbird” Only four: two SR-71A by the US Air Force 2nd 9th Reconnaissance Wing Detachment returned to service type used by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Terai Dryden Flight Research an SR-71A and an SR-71B used in the center.
In the “Blackbird” three generations of the family that young and old, the actual completion of the development and use of the armed forces, only A-12 “bullock cart” and SR-7l “Blackbird”, but the SR-71 is the advent of the first two are inseparable a. A clear understanding of the ins and outs of the first two, they will naturally understand the origin of the SR-71′s. (To note here, the United States had two kinds of fighters called the A-12, the other is the attack aircraft, two A-12 should not be confused. See Wikipedia entry A-12.)
A-12 “bullock cart” is a 1959 Lockheed for the CIA developed high altitude reconnaissance aircraft. SR-71 prototype A-ll introduce some news media have, in fact, A-12 “ox-cart.” Back in 1955, the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft first flight soon, Lockheed dedicated to research and development of the “Skunk Works”, began on the successor to the U-2, a method of reducing the radar cross section of the super Sonic reconnaissance basic research. In order to deal with the technical performance was gradually improved Soviet radar system, under the leadership of the famous U-2 aircraft designer Kelly Johnson, the “Skunk Works” implemented a code-named “enthusiasm” of the plan to study a speed M3 level, and can greatly reduce the new surveillance radar cross-sectional area of the body.
In 1957, the company first proposed the use of cut on the tip of the triangle and two turbojet engine monoplane design, code-named “Archangel 1″ (AIohangell), referred to as A-l.
Then he proposed a use of the F-104 fighter has a similar diamond wing profile, the wing layout, installed two turbojet program, code-named “Archangel 3″, referred to as A-2.
In the “enthusiasm” of the research program to reduce the radar cross section of the body art A-3 after each program, called A series of programs, do not add “Archangel” is a code. So, then developed A-12 and the United States have long outreach called A-11 aircraft and the equipment used, the number of A is the “archangel” the first letter of the word in English, it does not mean that the aircraft purposes.
A-12 is a modification made on the basis of the A-2, and meet the requirements put forward by the military. Competition with it, is the company’s proposed picture Convair aircraft program. The program uses a lifting body shape, speed M4 level unmanned reconnaissance aircraft, nicknamed the “fish”, is scheduled to launch from a B-58 “super thief” aircraft.
US Department of Defense, the Air Force and the CIA these two competing schemes were compared with the review, the final selection of the A-12 program, and formally approved in August 29, 1959. January 26, 1960, the CIA and Lockheed signed a manufacturing and testing of 12 Lockheed A-12 contract, A-12 aircraft subsequently also entered the development phase.