Since 1976, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird has held the world record for the fastest ‘air-breathing manned aircraft’ with a recorded speed of 1,905.81 knots (2,193.2 mph; 3,529.6 km/h). That works out to a staggering 36.55 miles/58.83 km per minute.The Blackbird was so fast that its strategy against surface-to-air missiles was to simply accelerate and outfly them. Below you will find an extensive gallery of this iconic aircraft along with information on the history, design and records the plane holds to this day.
The Blackbird was developed as a black project from the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance aircraft in the 1960s by the Lockheed Skunk Works. Clarence “Kelly” Johnson was the lead designer and was responsible formany of the design’s innovative concepts.