|Aircraft role||Supersonic reconnaissance aircraft|
|Real-world origin||United States|
|AC installments||Ace Combat 2
Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies
Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War
Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War
Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation
Ace Combat X2: Joint Assault
Ace Combat 3: Electrosphere (As a fictional variant.)
|Primary operator||Usean Rebel Force
Federal Erusean Air Force
Osean Air Defense Force
|Secondary operators||Yuktobanian Air Force
Belkan Air Force
Estovakian Air Force
The SR-71 Blackbird is a famed long-range reconnaissance aircraft designed by Lockheed Corporation. It was designed in 1964 as the successor of the U-2 Dragon Lady, whose low flight speed led to a particularly infamous combat loss in 1960 during a recon mission in the Soviet Union.
In the Ace Combat series, the SR-71 first appeared during Ace Combat 2. While the Blackbirds have never been playable aircraft in any AC game to date, they appear at least once in most of them at some point. They generally fly fast and high by the standards of the game, making them difficult to intercept. However, engaging SR-71s in the game is much easier than it would be if they flew at typical real-life speed and altitude, since the in-game "ceiling" is several kilometers below their normal operating altitude, and that in-game fighters are generally limited to speeds of roughly Mach 2 even at full afterburner.
In Ace Combat 04: Shattered Skies, the SR-71 returns, this time as a "bonus" aircraft. Two Blackbirds are present in the game.
The first Blackbird appears in Mission #08, Shattered Skies. It is the first target the player locks into upon beginning the mission. The Blackbird flies at 30,000 ft. elevation, around the Riass Space Center's proximity. It can be easily tracked in the radar as it is a very fast orange arrow. If not intercepted in time, the aircraft will accelerate and escape the battle zone. The second Blackbird is present in Mission #16, Whiskey Corridor. It is found in the south-western corner of the map at about 15,000 ft., just north of the Return Line.
The SR-71 Blackbird makes a single appearance in Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War. It is the Yuktobanian Air Force spy aircraft that the Wardog Squadron need to pursues in Mission #01, Shorebirds. Because the Wardog are cannot allow to open fire, it can only be shot down using the gun. Doing so, however, will result in a mission failure.
However, once given permission to engage it is possible to shoot the SR-71 down with the machine gun. This can be tricky as no targeting assistance is given, and the plane has a habit of rapidly decelarating and causing you to crash if you're too close behind.
In Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War, when the Galm and Crow Squadrons arrive to Tauberg Plateau in mission 09 ("Sword of Annihilation/Operation Judgement"), the Belkan Ace Jens "Rabe" Thon (Assault Record 067) takes off from Excalibur on an SR-71 Blackbird and attempts to escape south at high altitude. Due to Rabe's speed, it is recommended to use a fast aircraft (e.i. Mirage 2000D or MiG-31 Foxhound) to intercept the Blackbird. Anyway, an attacker like the A-10A can intercept the Blackbird, just accelerate and check map to confirm its position, at an altitude by 18,000 ft. As well, normal planes can use long-range weaponry (i.e. SAAMs) to attack the SR-71 at mid-range. The latter however, is not recommended due to danger of being caught in Excalibur's laser when trying to keep the player's aim on the enemy
Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation features a SR-71 Blackbird in mission 05 ("Anea Landing"). It is located at about 20,000 ft over Ortara Airport. It appears when you have to protect your landing forces.
- Ace Combat X2: Joint Assault features a SR-71 ace named Buzzword. This is the second Blackbird to be featured as an ace aircraft in the AC series (after ACZ).
- The Ace Combat series