The early 1990's saw major speculation on the government's "black aircraft production" for a hypersonic airplane named Aurora. Analysts posited that the Aurora was a spy plane designed to replace Lockheed's SR-71 Blackbird, a Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft. We wondered if Aurora had secretly surveyed Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. Several sightings and sonic booms later, it's still unclear whether or not the Aurora actually existed. Some people speculate that one Aurora was built, but that it failed. Ben Rich, the former head of what is now Lockheed Advanced Development Company has denied the Aurora as a hypersonic plane, claiming instead that "Aurora" is a code name for a different project. But what are we to make of the Air Force's $9 billion budget hole? Whatever the case, the Aurora talk declined after the aircraft was reportedly passed over for research into unmanned hypersonic gliders.
Read the full story in "Out of the Black: Secret Mach 6 Spy Plane"