Manufacturer: Lockheed

Model: unknown

Name: Blackbolt

Type: High-speed stratospheric reconnaissance aircraft

Date: 1977

Status: Operational service

Country: United States

Service: U.S. Air Force

Designation: SR-72A


Conceived as a follow-on to the famed Blackbird, the Lockheed SR-72A Blackbolt first flew in November 1969.

Twelve aircraft were produced until 1973. They served with the USAF until 1988 and were replaced by Northrop's TR-3A Black Manta.


This uses of one the archetypal classic inflight pics of the Blackbird. What I did was to join the wing tips and the nose to form a triangular all-wing aircraft, which was simply in theory, but required to create the new wing surfaces by sampling bits of existing material and pasting it to the new areas in a convincing way, especially with regards to the textures.

One more thing: I had to extend the jet engines' cowlings a little bit so that the tip of the shock cones reached the wing edges.

Viewers' comments:
  • The elegant SR-72 silhouette is surprising, never seen before, but this is very logical for a black black program (top top secret during 40 years)... (Tophe)
  • Sharp & pointy! Bet sightings of that have caused many a redneck to grab their shotgun & get on the early evening news! (Mossie)
  • Ideas, ideas, ideas... thanks, now I need an SR-71 kit. (anthonyp)
  • The SR-72 is a black beauty! (lauhof52)
  • Blackbolt is really impressive. (ysi_maniac)
  • Aurora :-) (edwardio1973)
  • You know what will be funny? If this is the actual design of...Aurora! :D (Japanimes)
  • Well done! (Rekalnus)
  • Split shock cones? Now that's interesting! (Shasper)
  • The inlet cones on the SR-72 really must project ahead of the leading edge of the wing, as on the SR-71. Otherwise they won't be able to do their job, and a supersonic shockwave will cause unstarts or worse. (ramblerdan)
  • Very cool design, just one remark though. The cones in front of the engine intakes on the real blackbird are adjustable to allow the correct amount of air in at the most efficient way possible. By merging them into the wing you loose this feature. Not sure what this would do to the performance of the aircraft though. That said, I like it a lot! All your designs look great. (Azharcho)

My comments:

Oops! This shock cone thing sure points the limitations in my technical knowledge.. :( Thanks folks for the explanations.

From a financial viewpoint, the USAF would probably not have embarked on the procurement of a new strategic reconnaissance type so soon after the Blackbird was made operational. Also, the advantages of a triangular shape for high-altitude designs had not yet translated into actual design evolution. Even the very existence of the alleged Northrop TR-3A, which is said to be an all-wing triangular aircraft, remains to be proved.