The SR-71 Blackbird was always my favorite growing up… I had “Top Gun” book that detailed all sorts of planes, and I read it over and over, memorizing sizes, speeds, payloads. Even now I remember that a F2-Phantom is faster than an F-16.
The article mentions how important the plane was to the Cold War effort and how it out flew more than 4,000 launched missiles in its service lifetime. The plane was only grounded because it was too expensive. I also suspect that our spy satellites have reduced its usefulness. Having spent a few minutes reading about the A-10 today, which came to be in the 70’s and will be in service until at least 2028 because we really can’t make something any more effective for any reasonable amount of money, I am in awe of what NASA and the Defense Industry was able to achieve in the 50’s and 60’s. It feels like to me that must be the height of American aerospace engineering. Certainly the F-22 and F-35 will be remarkable, but they are so expensive and so late; if you spend enough money something in the end will be made.