On August 26, 1981, an American reconnaissance aircraft was flying a bit too close to the contentious zone between North and South Korea for comfort. Subsequently, it came under threat from a missile fired from the northern side of the border. What happened next made it into the international press.
The aircraft involved was an SR-71 – known as the Blackbird – a long-range surveillance asset. At the time it was one of the fastest planes in production, its turbojet engines capable of delivering two times the speed of sound. Not only that but it was also capable of flying at very high altitudes, at heights not all military planes could achieve.
The story behind the SR-71, from conception to finished article, is fascinating. The Pentagon asked Lockheed for an update of the manufacturer’s iconic U-2 for use in the ever-developing Cold War. A plane that could be both fast and stealthy, with the ultimate aim of being impossible to be shot down.