At a recent presentation by a Lockheed Skunk Works an executive¬† (O’Banion) hinted at prototype aircraft built with newly developed tools and printing capabilities providing the potential to exceed Mach 5. In the article this hint was extrapolated to an idea of a successor to the famous SR-71. While the Blackbird holds a near mystic place in most plane lovers hearts it seems like it might be reasonable to take what O’Banion said and put it in context to the modern era. The Blackbird was designed to outrun anything shot at it while taking high altitude pictures. It had a low radar presence and the speed to get away from anything which did in theory spot it. Would a modern plane have such a role even with a hypersonic speed, would it even need or want a pilot in the cockpit, what role would it serve in today’s air force are all questions worth considering. Additionally, on the engineering side, scram jets (at least the idea of) have been around for decades – what changes in material or knowledge (outside of design as referenced here) have lead to the construction of the X-51 and x-43? Could we finally also see a successor for the Concorde such as the XB-1?