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Questions tagged [reconnaissance-aircraft]

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7
votes
2answers
1k views

How slow could the U-2 fly at 50,000 ft?

How slow could the Lockheed U-2 fly at 50,000 ft? It was surely subsonic as its max speed is 500 mph.
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Why does the U-2 Dragon Lady not have swept wings?

Swept wings increase the critical mach number for aircraft with otherwise identical wings (Source 1). The U-2 Dragon Lady is limited in altitude by its critical mach number, as it needs more speed in ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

What are the differences between the SR 71 variants?

I read that all SR 71 blackbirds were different, what was different with each one and is one regarded as superior to the rest? Why?
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does the radar dome on the E-3 have a white stripe down the middle?

Every picture I can find of the E-3 has a blue/black radar dome on top with a fairly thick white stripe down the middle but I can't figure out why. Is it related to the position of the radar unit ...
11
votes
3answers
7k views

Why was the U-2 so different from the SR-71?

Both were designed for the same goals: taking photographs at high altitude, avoiding radar. Both were designed by the same company with a few years apart. Yet one is a "jet glider", with large ...
29
votes
5answers
9k views

Why was the production of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird halted?

Why was production of Lockheed's SR-71 Blackbird halted, given that it was an advanced supersonic jet that was ahead of its time?
5
votes
2answers
381 views

Why isn't the U-2 used for commercial purposes?

There are some companies that use decommissioned military aircraft for commercial high-altitude flights (for, say, tourists). Examples would be the MiG-31 and the MiG-29: ...
9
votes
2answers
899 views

Why didn't the U-2 spyplane have any chaff?

The U-2 spyplane was shot down over Russia in 1960 and over Cuba in 1962, both times by a radar-tracking missile. Why wasn't it equipped with any chaff to throw off the missile? Chaff is just a cloud ...
27
votes
7answers
12k views

Could a SR-71 be shot down today?

I've read that the SR-71 had no missile defenses because it could simply outrun any adversary. Is this still true? Or is it unlikely that the SR-71 could operate unimpeded in the face of modern ...
40
votes
3answers
15k views

How did SR-71 spy, flying at 80,000 ft and 3500 km/h?

The SR-71 Blackbird is a famous supersonic reconnaissance/spy aircraft, undoubtedly one of the most amazing flying machines ever. Now, with the capabilities it had: Maximum speed: Mach 3.3 (2,200+ ...
20
votes
3answers
13k views

What is the minimum turning radius of an SR-71?

What is the minimum turning radius of an SR-71 at Mach 3.2 and an altitude of 80,000 feet? I have heard that if an SR-71 were to cross the Pacific coast over San Francisco and pull a hard turn to ...