The SR-71 Blackbird entered service with the United States Air Force in 1964 and began development in 1958. It remains the fastest aircraft ever built. Over 90% of the SR-71 was made of titanium, a rare material at that time. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was tasked to obtain titanium from the world’s most plentiful source - the Soviet Union, the country which the SR-71 was being built to spy on. Through shell companies, the CIA purchased material through Third World countries, and shipped the raw ore to the United States for processing and SR-71 production at the Skunk Works ultra-secret Lockheed plant in Palmdale, California.
This piece of ‘Soviet’ titanium was part of SR-71 'Super Skater' (serial number 17970). This aircraft was lost on 17 June 1970 following a re-fueling collision with a KC-135Q (59-1474) tanker. Lt. Col. Buddy L. Brown and his RSO Maj. Mortimer J. Jarvis both ejected and survived the crash. The KC-135 made it back to Beale AFB, California with a damaged refueling boom and aft fuselage. Super Skater crashed into the desert.
This wall hanging display is framed under glass and is 8.5 x 11 inches in size and the titanium fragment is 1.2 x 1.2 inches.
Each signed and numbered by the artist - 1 of only 50.
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