The speaker was Lockheed vice president Jack O’Banion who oversees the Skunk Works operation.
assuming O’Banion chose his verb tense purposely—came the surprise.
“Without the digital transformation, the aircraft you see there could not have been made,” O’Banion said, standing by an artist’s rendering of the hypersonic aircraft. “In fact, five years ago, it could not have been made.”
“We couldn’t have made the engine itself—it would have melted down into slag if we had tried to produce it five years ago,” O’Banion said. “But now we can digitally print that engine with an incredibly sophisticated cooling system integral into the material of the engine itself and have that engine survive for multiple firings for routine operation.” The aircraft is also agile at hypersonic speeds, with reliable engine starts, he said. A half-decade before, he added, developers “could not have even built it even if we conceived of it.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... hypersonic
Lockheed has quite a nice presentation on their "future plane":
https://www.lockheedmartin.com/content/ ... sr-72.html
So, is this "Aurora" actually flying today? Inquiring minds want to know....