The Air Force and Space Force have sent a not-so-subtle YouTube message to countries messing with the U.S.’s various global sandboxes that includes what appears to be a sneak peak of a drone dubbed Son of Blackbird. Near the end of a short video extolling the Air Force’s intelligence capabilities, the slickly produced video cuts to dark image of a sleek and stealthy-looking aircraft in a hangar that meets the USAF geek description of the SR-72 Mach 6 snooping platform. The military forums lit up with speculation that the video preceded official confirmation of the super-secret program’s existence.
Lockheed Martin confirmed it was working on a successor to the Blackbird more than eight years ago but there hasn’t been any announcement since then. At the time, the company said it would be uncrewed and be twice as fast as its namesake. To hit those speeds, Aerotime Hub speculates the aircraft will have an engine that functions as both a turbine at lower speeds and a ramjet above Mach 3. The drone may also be armed with hypersonic missiles that the video apparently references in the comment that “the future is coming at Mach 18.”