- A new image shows a mysterious aircraft flying over Kansas
- The jet appears to be the same one that was spotted over Texas last month
- Photographer Jeff Templin says it may have been as high as passenger jets
- A retired Marine previously said the mysterious plane is the SR-72
- The SR-72 is designed to cross entire continents in less than an hour
- Developers at Lockheed Martin say the plane could be operational by 2030
A new photo of a mysterious flying object over Kansas has been revealed.
It appears to be the same aircraft as one that was snapped soaring over Texas last month.
The exact identify of the aircraft remains a mystery, but rumours abound that it could be a secret jet.
'The photo is grainy because it was taken with a hand-held maxed-out 400mm telephoto lens through a cloud layer and then it was severely cropped to bring it up even close,' says Jeff Templin, who took the photo on 16 April.
'There is no way to know the altitude and no way to judge its size as there is no point of reference.
'My sense of it with the naked eye was that it was quite high, at least the altitude passenger jets cruise over but if it were smaller like a "drone" it could conceivably have been lower and smaller.'
They, too, are unsure if it is the same plane as the one spotted previously
A retired Marine with nearly two decades of aviation experience stepped forward with a compelling theory about the mysterious plane that was spotted flying over Texas last month.
On March 10, photographers Steve Douglass and Dean Muskett took pictures of three puzzling aircraft flying over Amarillo, and posted them online in hopes of identifying the planes.
Retired-Marine James Vineyard submitted one of the more interesting explanations, telling the Houston Chronicle he believed they were SR-72 Blackbirds - a spy plane that can cross the U.S. in less than an hour, unmanned.
It provided day and night, very high-altitude (70,000 feet / 21,000 m), all-weather intelligence gathering.
But Douglass, who saw the planes himself, doesn't agree.
'The SR-72 is still in development,' he said Tuesday. 'Plus it's a high-speed, high-Mach plane. These were going airliner speed. They were not in a hurry to get anywhere.'
The SR-72 is currently being developed by Lockheed Martin in California, and according to the company's website they say the plane could be operational as early as 2030.
It is the predecessor of the SR-71 which broke speed records when it flew from New York to Lonton in less than two hours in 1976.
Lockheed Martin's Hypersonics program manager Brad Leland wrote that the plane is designed to 'strike at nearly any location across a continent in less than an hour.'
'Speed is the next aviation advancement to counter emerging threats in the next several decades. The technology would be a game-changer in theater, similar to how stealth is changing the battlespace today,' Leland said.
That's what the photographers thought when they first saw the group of aircraft, but they say they checked with the base and no B-2s were flying anywhere in the U.S. that day.
Instead, Douglass believes that the planes are a no type of spy plane - a stealth transport plane that could sneak troops into a another country unseen.