The USSR contributed to the creation of the U.S. strategic supersonic reconnaissance aircraft SR-71 Blackbird, considered the fastest aircraft in history, by providing it with titanium.
The American magazine recalls that the SR-71 Blackbird had a unique airframe, 90 percent made of titanium, which allows it to withstand high temperatures. The publication notes that the U.S. lacked its own metal for the production of aircraft, due to which the Soviet Union was needed.
The magazine writes that Washington bought titanium from the USSR fraudulently, with the result that the latter did not know for what purposes the sold metal was used. “This prompted the Central Intelligence Agency to embark on a program of covert buying of the metal, using shell corporations and Third World countries as intermediaries,” assures The National Interest.
The magazine recalls that the U.S. built 32 units of SR-71 Blackbird, and admits – if the USSR knew about the purpose of the sold titanium, it would not have approved its purchase by the American side.
In November 2019, The Aviationist wrote that the J58 (JT11D-20) engine air intakes were a key feature of the American SR-71 Blackbird, allowing the aircraft to reach a record cruise speed of Mach 3.2 numbers.
In November 2018, the U.S. Air Force awarded four Swedish pilots “Air Medals” for protecting the SR-71 Blackbird from the USSR during the Cold War.
The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird is considered the pinnacle of aviation art. Decommissioned in 1998, the scout holds the record for Mach 3.2 Mach numbers in forward flight. The Skunk Works team at Lockheed Martin is currently working on the SR-72 hypersonic aircraft.