In June 1964, Lockheed was one of two competitors chosen to continue work on SST program. The Lockheed L-2000, shown in the first image as a wooden mockup, would have had a 4,000 mile range and Mach 3 cruise speeds. It featured a double delta wing design for swift transonic acceleration and excellent low-speed handling qualities. Lockheed proposed two versions, the L-2000-7A, an intercontinental model for up to 266 passengers and the slightly larger, 308-passenger L-2000-7B for domestic use.
The second picture instead shows was taken in 1965 and shows technicians installing a large scale model of the Lockheed L-2000 design in the forty-by-eighty foot wind tunnel at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, for a ground plane test.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy committed the government to subsidizing 75% of the development of a commercial airliner to compete with the Anglo-French Concorde and the Soviet Tu-144 then under development. The director of FAA, Najeeb Halaby, elected to improve upon the Concorde’s design rather than compete head-to-head with it. The SST, which might have represented a significant advance over the Concorde, was intended to carry 250 passengers (a large number at the time, more than twice as many as Concorde), fly at Mach 2.7-3.0, and have a range of 4,000 mi (7,400 km).
The program was launched on Jun. 5, 1963, and the FAA estimated that by 1990 there would be a market for 500 SSTs. Boeing, Lockheed, and North American officially responded. North American’s design was soon rejected, but the Boeing and Lockheed designs were selected for further study.
Eventually the L-2000 lost out to the Boeing 2707.
However a combination of environmental, economic, and political factors led to the cancellation of American SST program in 1971.
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin
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