Does Lockheed Martin’s SR-72 Darkstar stealth spy plane have a cameo in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’?

Most aviation aficionados are familiar with the SR-71 Blackbird, Lockheed’s Cold War-era spy plane that set speed and altitude records for decades across the sky at 80 000 feet at Mach 3, showcasing its insane capabilities with rare exotic alloys and futuristic design. .

Now the wild blue out there may soon get a little wilder with Lockheed Martin’s spiritual successor in the SR-72 Darkstar, a hypersonic jet intended to provide superior aerial reconnaissance for the Air Force later this decade or so. next. And it might just make an appearance in the new “Top Gun: Maverick” movie, according to a recent trailer.

Rumors are also swirling that the upcoming ‘Top Gun’ sequel starring Tom Cruise, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, features a glimpse of what the SR-72 could be in the action feature’s latest trailer that will hits theaters May 27. 2022.

Apparently, Cruise’s character Pete Mitchell (call sign Maverick) pilots an experimental craft that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Darkstar, but it could also be a fictional variant of the SR-72. Remember, this is Hollywood!

Matchbox is already releasing the super-secret plane in a blister pack as part of its “Top Gun: Maverick” line of related products, so it’s a safe bet that this will be its official release party on the big screen. month.

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An artist’s concept of the SR-72 Darkstar hypersonic jet. (Image credit: Lockheed Martin)

This super cool Mach 6 marvel is still in the testing phase but should be rolling out for first flight demonstrations no later than 2023. But with a tight lid on its stealthy creation, it might have already taken to the air without the general public being aware.

The so-called “Son of Blackbird” development program has remained secret since rumors of its genesis circulated in the aviation industry 10 years ago. This unmanned or semi-autonomous high-altitude vehicle will use a special hypersonic propulsion system to allow the mean-looking aircraft to be deployed as an Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft.

Although satellites provide the bulk of military surveillance forces, a super-fast tool like the SR-72 would act as a companion to existing manned aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to provide flexible options in the global game. complicated espionage.

Lockheed Martin’s SR-72 Darkstar concept is expected to fly at Mach 6 for hypersonic missions. (Image credit: Lockheed Martin Corp.)

Here’s what we’ve learned so far: Designed by the legendary “Skunk Works” of California-based Lockheed Martin, the SR-72 has been rumored to spotlight an advanced propulsion system revolving around a combined cycle turbine engine, which is the fusion of a modified fighter turbine engine with a dual-mode ramjet, AKA a scramjet. This type of hybrid engine would propel the Darkstar machine skyward at a staggering 4,600 miles per hour!

So far, the SR-72 is being built simply as a hypersonic aircraft demonstrator, a designation that leaves open the decision of whether or not it will be given the green light as a full production vehicle. There is also speculation about its role as a potential manned research vessel that could even carry a complement of clandestine strike weapons to bomb targets from the stratosphere.

As with any sophisticated aircraft of this nature, it takes time to fix problems and push through big budgets. The SR-72 Darkstar’s first phase of testing is slated to take place in late 2023, and if approved for official production, it won’t join the Air Force’s arsenal until the 2030s.

Matchbox’s Darkstar toy link from “Top Gun: Maverick” offers a glimpse of a futuristic hypersonic jet. (Image credit: Matchbox)

Until then, you can still purchase the Darkstar’s Matchbox die-cast toy as part of the studio’s merchandising effort.

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