The SR-71 Blackbird

The USAF SR-71 Blackbird Program

The SR-71 Blackbird has a long and distinguished career during it's operations for the USAF. 

 

In December 1962, the Air Force ordered six “reconnaissance/strike” aircraft for high-speed, high-altitude flights over hostile territory after a nuclear attack—hence its original designator RS. Compared to the A-12, the SR-71 was about six feet longer, weighed 15,000 pounds more fully loaded, had more prominent nose and body chines and a two-seat cockpit, and carried additional optical and radar imagery systems and ELINT sensors in interchangeable noses.

1 Jul 1980

Diego Garcia Operations

Diego Garcia Operations

Author: Blackbird Historian  /  Categories: USAF Operations  / 

SR-71 Operations were conducted for a short time in 1978/79 at Diego Garcia. One of the SR-71 shelters at Beale AFB was dismantled and shipped to the coral island and then reassembled for use by the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing. Diego Garcia is  located in the Indian Ocean. It is the largest island of the Chagos Archipelago, SW of Sri Lanka. Diego Garcia is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). The island is also claimed by Mauritius. The Archipelago consists of 2,300 islands; Diego Garcia, largest and southernmost island, occupies a strategic location in the central Indian Ocean. The Island is site of a joint US-UK military facility. The 11-sq-mi (28-sq-km) island was leased (1970) to the U.S. It was later developed as a major U.S. naval base to guard the PERSIAN GULF oil routes and to counter increased Soviet military activities in South Asia and Africa.

 

Photos courtesy of Msgt Donald J Smith, USAF, Retired

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