Lockheed Martin Reveals How the "Darkstar" Jet from 'Top Gun: Maverick' Was Conceived

Now that Top Gun: Maverick is one of the most-watched movies of 2022, becoming Tom Cruise’s first movie to hit $1 Billion USD at the global box office, many are discussing one of the earlier scenes in the film involving a prototype jet.

Without spoiling too much of the story, this “Darkstar” prototype is tasked with hitting speeds of Mach 10. While this number has yet to be reached even in the slightest — the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird’s record is Mach 3.3 — that didn’t stop the Top Gun: Maverick team from dreaming. Enlisting Lockheed Martin Skunk Works to come up with the concept, the team eventually landed on the “Darkstar” Prototype, essentially the SR-71 on steroids.

While the version seen on film was not fitted with engines, it was a full-scale “structurally sound” model of the concept. There’s no confirmation from Lockheed Martin on if they are developing a working version, but their website indicates that the Darkstar’s capabilities could be “more than mere fiction” and “could be reality…”

Those interested can check out the behind-the-scenes footage of the development of the “Darkstar” below.

In other design news, Bombardier unveils its fastest private jet, the Global 8000.
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