A Mach 6 Spy Plane on the Cheap

What can government still get for a measly billion dollars?

Perhaps more than you think:

Lockheed Martin maintains it could produce a hypersonic demonstrator the size of an F-22 fighter for less than $1 billion.

Lockheed Martin CEO Marilyn Hewson, speaking at an annual media day event this week, said the price tag for the SR-72 includes development, manufacture and flight-testing of a hypersonic plane. Hewson added that the company has already produced a "controllable, low-drag, aerodynamic configuration" under the HTV-3X program capable of "stable operation" from sub-sonic through hypersonic speeds up to Mach 6.

The Hypersonic Test Vehicle, or Blackswift Test Bed, is part of the Falcon program jointly funded the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Air Force. Falcon is a component of a larger Pentagon "prompt global strike" capability designed to develop hypersonic weapons and a delivery vehicle that would allow it to hit targets anywhere in the world within an hour.

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