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SR-91 Aurora aircraft

SR-91 Aurora aircraft

Aurora also known as SR-91 Aurora is the popular name for a hypothesized American reconnaissance aircraft, believed by some to be capable of hypersonic flight at speeds of Mach 5+.  According to the hypothesis,  Aurora was developed in the 1980s or 1990s as a replacement for the aging and expensive SR-71 Blackbird.

A British Ministry of Defence report released in May 2006 refers to USAF priority plans to produce a Mach 4-6 highly supersonic vehicle, but no conclusive evidence had emerged to confirm the existence of such a project. It was believed by some that the Aurora project was canceled due to a shift from spy-planes to high-tech unmanned aerial vehicles and reconnaissance satellites which can do the same job as a spyplane, but with less risk of casualties.

The main question here is, Does the US Air Force or America’s intelligence agencies have a secret hypersonic aircraft capable of a Mach 6 performance?. The continually growing evidence suggests that the answer to this question is YES. Perhaps the most well-known instance which provides evidence of such an aircraft’s existence is the sighting of a triangular plane over the North Sea in August 1989 by oil-exploration engineer Chris Gibson. As well as the famous “skyquakes” heard over Los Angeles since the early 1990s, found to be heading for the secret Groom Lake (Area 51) installation in the Nevada desert, numerous other facts provide an understanding of how the aircraft’s technology works. Rumored to exist but routinely denied by U.S. officials, the name of this aircraft is Aurora.

The outside world uses the name Aurora because a censor’s slip let it appear below the SR-71 Blackbird and U-2 in the 1985 Pentagon budget request. Even if this was the actual name of the project, it would have by now been changed after being compromised in such a manner.

The plane’s real name has been kept a secret along with its existence. This is not unfamiliar though, the F-117a stealth fighter was kept a secret for over ten years after its first pre-production test flight. The project is what is technically known as a Special Access Program (SAP). More often, such projects are referred to as “black programs.”

So what was the first sign of the existence of SR-91 Aurora ? On 6 March 1990, one of the United States Air Force’s Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird spyplanes shattered the official air speed record from Los Angeles to Washington’s Dulles Airport. There, a brief ceremony marked the end of the SR-71’s operational career. Officially, the SR-71 was being retired to save the $200-$300 million a year it cost to operate the fleet. Some reporters were told the plane had been made redundant by sophisticated spy satellites.

But there was one problem, the USAF made no opposition towards the plane’s retirement, and congressional attempts to revive the program were discouraged. Never in the history of the USAF had a program been closed without opposition. Aurora is the missing factor to the silent closure of the SR-71 program.

Testing such a new radical aircraft brings immense costs and inconvenience, not just in the design and development of a prototype aircraft, but also in providing a secret testing place for an aircraft that is obviously different from those the public are aware of.

The Groom Dry Lake, in the Nevada desert, is home to one of America’s elite secret proving grounds which was Aurora’s most likely test location. Comparing today’s Groom Lake with images of the base in the 1970s, it is apparent that many of the larger buildings and hangars were added during the following decade. Also, the Groom Lake test facility has a lake-bed runway that is six miles long, twice as long as the longest normal runways in the United States. The reason for such a long runway is simple, the length of a runway is determined either by the distance an aircraft requires to accelerate to a flying speed, or the distance that the aircraft needs to decelerate after landing. That distance is proportional to the speed at which lift-off takes place. Usually, very long runways are designed for aircraft with very high minimum flying speeds, and, as is the case at Edwards AFB, these are aircraft that are optimized for very high maximum speeds. Almost 19,000 feet of the runway at Groom Lake is paved for normal operations.

Lockheed’s Skunk Works, now the Lockheed Advanced Development Company, is the most likely prime contractor for the SR-91 Aurora aircraft. Throughout the 1980s, financial analysts concluded that Lockheed had been engaged in several large classified projects. However, they weren’t able to identify enough of them to account for the company’s income.

Technically, the Skunk Works has a unique record of managing large, high-risk programs under an incredible unparalleled secrecy. Even with high-risk projects that the company has undertaken, Lockheed has a record of providing what it promises to deliver.

In 2006, renowned aviation writer Bill Sweetman had stated and derived to a conclusion that, “This evidence of 20 years of examining budget “holes”, unexplained sonic booms, plus the Gibson sighting , helps establish the program’s initial existence. My investigations continue to turn up evidence that suggests current activity. For example, having spent years sifting through military budgets, tracking untraceable dollars and code names, I learned how to sort out where money was going. This year, when I looked at the Air Force operations budget in detail, I found a $9-billion black hole that seems a perfect fit for a project like Aurora.”

About Larkins Dsouza

Founded Defence Aviation, clean freak, loves everything aviation, WAR junkie, serendipitous & loves to create something new.
  • drifter

    Its interesting how the shape of modern spy and fighter aircraft closely resembles (how should i put it), oh yes, out of this world techology. No i am not crasy, but you cant help thinking that places like area 51 is not exactly a tourist destination. I guess my so called visions are not that crazy after all, i mean, seeing something before its existance.


  • Anonymous

    This looks like Thunderbird 2, from the side profile.

    Does this mean the the USA is forming ‘International Rescue’ for real?

    Let’s hope that G Dubya isn’t in charge after leaving office…he’d certainly bugger things up!

    F.A.B Virgil ;-)

  • Anonymous

    This looks like Thunderbird 2, from the side profile.

    Does this mean the the USA is forming 'International Rescue' for real?

    Let's hope that G Dubya isn't in charge after leaving office…he'd certainly bugger things up!

    F.A.B Virgil ;-)

  • Anonymous

    i have seen this craft i live outside campbeltown in scotland. four weeks ago i was walking my dog up on the hills at 11:30 pm gmt. when i herd a very loud sonic boom a few mins later i then seen a black craft apear from the irish sea and by pass the R.A.F base at Machrihanish
    there was a lot of lights and movement down at the base i dont know what i saw that night but it was like nothing iv ever see before in my life?

    i do know the R.A.F Machrihanish was used by the U.S.A.F in the cold war. and is also an emergency runway for the space shuttle aswell so that would co inside with the aurora program and and groom lake.

    • That Guy

      So I know this thread is old.. but you don’t hear a sonic boom and then see a super sonic plane… it blows by you and then you here a sonic boom. Because… it’s traveling, um, faster than sound….

  • Anonymous

    i have seen this craft i live outside campbeltown in scotland. four weeks ago i was walking my dog up on the hills at 11:30 pm gmt. when i herd a very loud sonic boom a few mins later i then seen a black craft apear from the irish sea and by pass the R.A.F base at Machrihanish
    there was a lot of lights and movement down at the base i dont know what i saw that night but it was like nothing iv ever see before in my life?

    i do know the R.A.F Machrihanish was used by the U.S.A.F in the cold war. and is also an emergency runway for the space shuttle aswell so that would co inside with the aurora program and and groom lake.

  • chris

    i saw a black triangle shaped craft over norfolk, but unlike the one you are on about this was silent with no boom or anything!!

  • Dark November

    Back in 1994 i was on a military exercise in Engeland ,South-west, the Field used for Maintenance and Utility was on RAF brize Norton,but our Missions and Training exercies were Further South very close to Raf's largest Testbase :Boscombe Down.
    One day we heard and saw very much activity, and i saw a strange Aircraft in the Skies on approach when we were close to one of the Bases Perimeter. Everything ,all roads near the base ,were immediately closed down for public and a large Crowd appeared … we could'n t see very much but we know waht we saw, a stange Aircraft ,Dark grey ,,very blurry ,to see but Triangular shaped, like .

    NExt month, it was all to be written Down in the Air Forces monthly, and after me looking for what ive seen,it has te be aType Of Aircraft called 'Artischock ' One of the Types from the BAP Programme,the Black Air Forces Programme ,what we've heard was funded by the US Gov,and DOD, for more than 100 Million a Day..
    Very much a pity that still i couldnt find any pictures or ,good technical proof on these Types of Aircraft, wich really Exist .

  • David P.curcione

    The new SR-91 is worlds Fastest Combination Rocket engine ? Scramjet Engine & One Regular Jet engine too! Langing Or takeoffs from the Ground too! It flys over 2600+ M.P.H. + too!

    The SR-91 the Replace ment of the Sr-71 to did retired too! The Crusing speed is Mack 3.5+ Too!

  • Mogamboo

    I saw a Black Shape Aurora Plane when I was having a nice relaxing long dump back in Zimbabwe at 3am, well it wasnt nice and slow as I heard a sonic boom whilst I was out in the Jungle in the middle of nowhere, my brink just flew out of my butt! Damn right fast! I covered in dirt/dust due to the sonic boom and low flight level, we dont have any big buildings. We have lions prancing around in the Jungle not Aurora spy planes. (Mogamboo Latundoowandosilaasitutsi)

  • Co-Ree

    I've got a friend who works for Lockheed.I always throw little questions at him to see his reaction.Awhile back I asked him about aurora."Nah!I don't know anything about a plane called aurora.Oh!You didn't say plane did you?"

  • Dark November

    Boscombe Down Sighting II :
    After the very intriging ,but interesting Sighting we all had back in 1994,while Serving the COrps Air Manoeuvre Brigades ,While we we're coming back from a military patrol with Jeeps and AH Lynx helicoptres … We saw this pretty imposing massive,Bomber type large advanced Aircraft landing in the rainy weather,… it was a great distance but nog further than a few kilometers,due to my many years of experienced as an Military Aircraft observer,knowing all the Types and their dimensions, i could tell the estimated length of the craft …. ,in fact we just came along in time, It was probable the most interesting thing ive ever seen … Despite the complete different study and Goals (nature conservation) that i'm active at now…

  • Techo Geek

    The abrupt retirement of the SR-71 program was the signal that a new, more advanced aircraft was fully operational (Aurora/SR-91). I have worked on many top level projects for the government. The government will never admit that a Top Secret program exists, even if there is evidence that the program exists. Just for your info, a few years ago a civilian satellite tracked an aircraft flying from Area 51 to the East coast in under 1 hour. Is there something going on here? You betcha, Aurora exists!


    • Techno Geek

      Oh, I almost forgot, drop the S from SR-91 and add the H to make it HR-91. We are no longer talking about Supersonic aircraft, We are going Hypersonic!


      • Nick Baker

        SR stands for "Strategic Reconnaissance"

  • Trevor Welch

    Perhaps Some of the technologies employed in this Ultra Secret Craft is from what scientists have learned about the crashed UFO from 1947/Roswell. Anti Gravity Propulsion and Plasma beam acceleration .

  • ProudFox

    "SR" is an error. When presiident Lindon Banes Johnson announced the existance of the programme ( which had been outed by a little old lady with a cheap camera) he misspoke and called the RS-71 the "SR-71". The bureaucrats did what all such folk do — they changed the designation to protect their boss.

    • USAF RET

      Lyndon Baines Johnson…”Barbeque son. They’re all my airplanes.”

  • preadtron

    Aurora is a perfect aerodynamic plane. i have made a model out of paper and it goes straight and really fast . Aurora is not named as SR-91 or anything . its speed can be more than 2000.

  • A.Smith

    I saw what could have been the Aurora nearly collide mid-air with a passenger jet near my home. The jet black plane passed so close underneath the passenger jet it feathered the vortex of exhaust from the passenger jets turbo-fans.

    I heard no sonic boom nor crack however the black plane was clearly travelling much faster than the passenger jet which was likely just slightly sub-sonic.

    The black plane I witnessed looked like a Tanto Knife, I couldn’t make out any discernible wings, the blade shaped plane clearly looked like a secret military jet however now that I have personally seen, SR-71,F-117,B2’s, U2’s etc. Whatever wings that craft had were either minimal or my vantage point just couldn’t see them properly. I suspect the wings are very minimal at speeds, perhaps using a gyroscopic leveller as a control surface.

    I was tempted to call the tower some miles away to see if their was a radar reading but any more that is a open invitation to have you doors kicked in and labelled a domestic terrorist. I wonder what the propaganda reports would have been given if that passenger jet had been clipped, the near miss was 100′ or less at head on speeds with the Aurora erupting from the clouds passing just below the incoming passenger jet. The front of the Aurora looked exactly as a Tanto Knife looks with it’s distinct chisel point then squarely back like a knife. Nothing like I have seen before of USA military prototypes or spyplanes.

  • vcx

    high speed(altitude) planes like the U2 and sr71 is the reason for the major depletion of our ozone layer. plus all the chemicals they use for stealth coatings. just another terrible thing about our society whose major activity is essentially tribal warfare.

    • Gordon N. Oklahoma

      There are only 43 U2s in service and 3 of those are trainers. Considering the fact that the re-engined U2 uses the very common F-16 engine I doubt seriously that it is causing major damage to the ozone layer. Other than the 3 SR-71s that NASA flies for atmospheric research and to test new engine designs, all other SR-71s have been grounded for over 20 years. You are entitled to you opinion but on these points I think you’re giving the state of technology way too much credit.

  • Rich

    A friend of mine spotted a pulse type contrail a couple of days ago sitting in his backyard. Probably a pulse engine design and had a delta type shape. Wonder if is the Aurora SR-91?

  • kimble

    OLD news once again same rehashed technology scramjets auxcill propullsion to assist takeoff any person interested is awere of the X15 project rocket propelled manned missle and by the look of the aerodynamics it lacked in all areas but one sheer outright speed in this day and age we no longer need any of these so called reconn aircraft that carry little or no ordinance due to limitations in design an have no operational range once again impressive if your traveling backwards remember starwars with so many armed sattelites above us at any given time spy planes are a thing of the past

  • Guest – Alamo

    Can't see how this can be a "stealth" aircraft, as the exhaust flame is huge and visible for miles. I assume this "beast" must fly north of 120K feet and perhaps about 4000 MPH or more. It may be impossible to shoot down with current technology given it's speed and altitude. Question: the US has many small low altitude satellites that fly faster and higher. If so, what is the "big deal" here, other than it is an impressive piece of technology? Perhaps it might have some use as a "bomber" aircraft?

  • Sofia Lucifairy

    I believe Aurora exists!

  • Douglas Pauschert

    The Government never retires something UNTILL it has something to replace it with!

  • alex

    stealth bomber

  • Martin Michaelson

    don't they look like evolutionary developments of earlier craft? x-planes, lifting bodies, sr-71, xb-70, & so forth. i've seen 3 or 4 of them in the airspace adjacent to Los Angeles since 1999 or so. The contrails have developed over time, so they must be a work in progress. or maybe i'm crazy, hehe. and area 51 is certainly a tourist destination.

  • Corey

    Blackbird SR – 82 i think

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