Did any of the devices in Top Gun: Maverick remind you of anything? It’s quite normal: Lockheed Martin took the opportunity to teaser its next hypersonic aircraft.
The recent Top Gun: Maverick had the daunting task of living up to its franchise’s storied pedigree, and it seems to have been a big hit with audiences (see our review). Without going into detail to spare those who have not yet seen the film, we can see a remarkable aircraft that immediately brought back memories to aviation enthusiasts. And it was no coincidence, as the film crew had some help from military industry titan Lockheed Martin (LM).
The machine in question is a hypersonic stealth aircraft called Darkstar. To avoid any disappointment for those who have not seen the film, we will not go into the details of his role in the script. But its appearance, already unveiled in the trailer below at 2:10, was very noticeable since it is immediately reminiscent of the SR-71 Blackbird.
It is an iconic aircraft developed by LM (or more precisely its famous Skunk Works division) which still retains the title of the fastest aircraft in its category; a record that has stood since… 1976. And this relationship is even more concrete than it seems; the Darkstar featured in the movie is actually based directly on the SR-72, the announced successor to the Blackbird, which Skunk Works is due to deliver in 2025.
A taste of the successor to the Blackbird
Since this is secret-defense technology, it is obviously not a carbon copy of the SR-72 concepts. “It is important to note that the Darkstar is a hyper-realistic concept aircraft specifically designed for the film and is otherwise fictional”, insists Ananda Costa, spokesperson for the brand, in a statement to Space.com.
On the other hand, the CEO of Lockheed Martin has all the same confirmed in half-words the direct relationship between the two devices. On LinkedIn, he explained that the film’s team worked with Skunk Works, and it seems obvious that this big-screen cameo was central to that collaboration. The manufacturer’s logo is also visible on the device.
It is in any case interesting to note that in the United States, even the giants of the military sector do not refuse a little product placement from time to time. It must be admitted that the manufacturer could hardly miss this opportunity to present its next predator of the sky, which will apparently be able to move at Mach 6 (7400 km / h) and to embark also hypersonic missiles.
In any case, it will be interesting to observe the differences between this Darkstar, the real SR-72 once it enters service, and also all the other hypersonic aircraft projects that are in progress at the moment, such as that of Stratolaunch. It’s probably only a matter of time before we enter the age of widespread hypersonic aeronautics.