Lockheed Martin confirms it helped create the Darkstar plane in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

The Lockheed Martin SR-72 is confirmed to have appeared in the opening of the recently released film Top Gun: Maverick.

Last month news of a secret experimental spy in the works at Lockheed Martin resurfaced with speculation of it appearing in Tom Cruise’s latest film.

(Photo: Ken Ishii/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)
YOKOHAMA, JAPAN – MAY 24: Actor Tom Cruise attends the red carpet for the Japanese premiere of ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ at Osanbashi Yokohama on May 24, 2022 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.

Lockheed Corporation CEO James Taiclet has confirmed that Skunk Works’ Advanced Projects Division is working with Top Gun: Maverick’s producers to come up with a fictional spy plane that was revealed in a LinkedIn post.

The dark star

In the film, Maverick works for the Air Force as a test pilot who wants to fly the latest hypersonic aircraft, the Darkstar. However, the program’s budget was cut but Maveric being himself, disobeyed orders and made an unauthorized run to the Darkstar and piloted it.

The real SR-72

In the real world, the SR-72 has not yet made its first flight, but it is expected next year. However, we still haven’t seen what’s happening behind closed doors in the aerospace industry, and we’ll probably only see more of it when it comes time for testing.

What we know so far is that it will feature an advanced propulsion system around a turbine-powered combined cycle with a dual-mode ramjet that can fly at 4,600 miles per hour.

Fortunately, Lockheed Martin worked with the film Top Gun: Maverick work on adapting the SR-72 hypersonic aircraft. Of course, a few changes have been made to make it look cooler on the big screen. You can even see the Lockheed Martin connection on the pilot stick.

There are differences between the Darkstar and the real SR-72 that are worth noting. For one, the one in the movie features two inward-tilting tail fins instead of just one.

Additionally, the fictional Darkstar has no forward visibility while the real SR-72 will be configured as an unmanned aircraft. There might be a demo plane with space for a single pilot, though.

So far, the SR-72 is being built as a hypersonic aircraft demonstrator, meaning it’s open whether it will be given the go-ahead for full production. If approved for official production, the aircraft will likely be in the Air Force by 2030.

Read also : NASA awards Lockheed Martin contract to build MAV and retrieve first Mars samples from Perseverance

Don’t expect right away

The black star on the Top Gun: Maverick film really looks like the SR-72? Don’t expect right away.

According to Lockheed’s Ananda Costa, “It’s important to note that Darkstar is a hyper-realistic concept aircraft designed specifically for the film and is otherwise fictional. Hope you also spotted the Skunk on the vertical tail of the vehicle.”

Related article: Lockheed Martin spacecraft set to embark on 12-year journey to study Trojan asteroids near Jupiter

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Written by April Fowell

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