Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. SR-71 "Blackbird" testing. The SR-71 from Lockheed underwent test and development at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., in the mid-1960s, and went on to surpass YF-12 records. For more than 25 years, the aircraft provided the nation with demonstrated strategic reconnaissance capability. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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SR-71 Blackbird: SR-71, unofficially known as the "Blackbird," is a long-range, advanced, strategic reconnaissance aircraft. The first flight took place on Dec. 22, 1964. The U.S. Air Force retired its fleet of SR-71s Jan. 26, 1990, but returned them in 1995 until January 1997. Throughout its nearly 24-year career, the SR-71 remained the world's fastest and highest-flying operational aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Michael Haggerty)