This has to be one of the coolest and the LOUDEST military aviation photos in history. No less than three Tomcats and three Phantoms are headed by an SR-71 Blackbird as they pour on the coals during a high-speed, low-level flyby over NAWS China Lake. The circumstances of how this shot came to be remain a mystery, but I would like to thank it happened because it simply had to.

The SR-71s, some of which were based out of Edwards AFB and Plant 42 for various testing duties, were no strangers to their nearby Death Valley residents (in high-speed jet terms) at NAWS China Lake. VX-4's notorious Vandy #1, with its iconic Playboy bunny tail logo and its gloss black paint job looked especially handsome when flying off of the mighty Blackbird's wing.


Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address

Share This Story

Get our newsletter