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.

13 Oct 1973

SR-71 Middle East 'Giant Reach' Sorties

SR-71 Middle East 'Giant Reach' Sorties

Author: SR Admin  /  Categories: USAF Operations  /  Rate this article:

In operation 'Giant Reach', Pilot Jim Shelton and RSO Gary Coleman in #979, departed Griffiss AFB on the first of a series of flights to the Middle East. After 11.13 hours  of flight time involving 6 refuelings and more than five hours of flight above Mach 3.0, Jim Shelton landed SR #979 back at Griffiss AFB, NY. The "Photo Take" was highly successful and provided Defense Analysts and the President of the United States with information about the actual Syrian military situation.


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