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Название: Aurora - The Pentagon's Secret Hypersonic Spyplane
Автор: Bill Sweetman
Издательство: Motorbooks International
Серия: MIL-TECH Series
Размер: 18.3 MB
On March 6, 1990, one of the United States Air Force's (USAF) sleek, matte-black Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spyplanes, serial number 64-17972, shattered the official air speed record from Los Angeles to Washington's Dulles airport. There, a brief snow-dusted ceremony marked the end of the SR-71's operational career, as the record-breaking aircraft was handed over to the National Air and Space Museum. Officially, the SR-71 was being retired to save the $200-$300 million a year that it cost to operate the fleet. Some reporters were told that the SR-71 bad been declared redundant because spy satellites had improved so much that the aircraft was no longer needed. But there was something badly wrong with the picture; not only was the Air Force, from chief of staff' Gen. Lawrence Welch on down, declining opposition to end its most glamorous manned-aircraft mission, but it also was discouraging congressional attempts to revive it. Never in its history had the Air Force—owned and operated by the pilot community—walked away from a manned mission, however mundane, without a fight.