A high definition model of the SR-71, or famed 'Blackbird' spy plane, circa 1972. The model contains detailed cockpit interior, landing gear, and the unmanned D-21 drone as shown. The rear cockpit is configured as the launch officer's control for the D-21 drone. Two additional texture sets are provided (see below)
Three sets of textures are provided; USAF MD-21 (for use with Drone extra), NASA experimental, and USAF deployment. Textures can be downloaded in PSD format to produce new color, bump, specular, and reflective maps for all surfaces.
The SR-71 Type A, unofficially known as the Blackbird, was a long-range, advanced, strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the YF-12A and A-12 aircraft by the manufacturer's Skunk Works (also responsible for the U-2 and many other advanced aircraft). The legendary 'Kelly' Johnson, in particular, was the man behind many of the design's advanced concepts. The SR-71 was one of the first aircraft to be shaped to have an extremely low radar signature. The aircraft flew so fast and so high that if the pilot detected a surface-to-air missile launch, the standard evasive action was simply to accelerate. No SR-71 was ever shot down.
One notable variant of the basic A-12 design was the M-21. This was a A-12 platform modified by replacing the single seat aircraft's Q bay, which carried its main camera to a second cockpit for a launch control officer. The M-21 was used to carry and launch the D-21 drone, an unpiloted, faster and higher flying reconnaissance device.
Confusingly, this variant was known as the M-21 when the drone was absent, and the MD-21 when it was attached to the plane. The D-21 drone was completely autonomous; having been launched it would overfly the target, travel to a rendezvous point and eject its data package. The package would be recovered in midair by a C-130 Hercules and the drone would self destruct. The program to develop this system was canceled in 1966 after a drone crashed into the mother ship shortly after being launched, destroying the M-21 and killing the Launch Control Officer.
The only surviving M-21 is on display, along with a D-21B Drone, at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington.