World’s fastest plane Lockheed Martin ‘Darkstar’ Fiction or Reality? Details revealed

The avgeeks across the globe are up for a delight with several fighter jets shown in the movie Top Gun: Maverick starring Tom Cruise, right from a vintage jet to an experimental stealth plane. 


World’s fastest plane Lockheed Martin ‘Darkstar’ Fiction or Reality? Details revealed

At the very start of the Top Gun: Maverick movie, that was released in theatres after much delay last month, Tom Cruise visits a secret test facility to fly a stealth plane, resembling the famed Lockheed Martin SR-71 "Blackbird". Called the Darkstar, the plane touched 10 Mach, which makes it the fastest aircraft in the world, even though fictional. But is it really a fictional plane or Lockheed Martin is actually working on a Mach 10 plane? The U.S. based aerospace and defence major revealed some details of the concept plane recently.

Lockheed Martin CEO, James Taiclet, recently disclosed the involvement of its legendary Skunk Works division following the world premiere of the film and has now created a dedicated webpage for mysterious Darkstar. “Lockheed Martin Skunk Works thrives on tackling seemingly impossible work, developing technologies for tomorrow’s challenges before the need is even identified,” the website says.

“When the Top Gun: Maverick team was looking to push the envelope and stand true to Maverick’s Need for Speed, Skunk Works was their first call. With Skunk Works’ expertise in developing the fastest known aircraft combined with a passion and energy for defining the future of aerospace, Darkstar’s capabilities could be more than mere fiction. They could be reality…”

Is Darkstar real?

The Darkstar is roughly based on the Lockheed Martin’s SR-71 Blackbird, which was a long-range, high-altitude, strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed and manufactured in the US and was operated by both the United States Air Force and NASA. Reports say that the plane in the movie is SR-72, often referred to as "Son of Blackbird", and is a hypersonic UAV based on SR-71. The plane can take flight in 2025 with a Mach 6 top speed.

Lockheed Martin’s Director of Communications for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, John Neilson, in April tweeted that Darkstar could offer a “sneaky peek at what might be the Lockheed Martin SR-72.” Like the Darkstar in the movie, Mach 6 will be enough to blow off rooftops.

What’s SR-72 Aircraft?

The SR-72 is the advanced unmanned SR-71 based stealth aircraft being developed by the Lockheed Martin for the Indian Air Force. The plane can reportedly touch Mach 6 speed, which will make it the fastest in the world.  For the initiated, Mach is the speed of sound (1200 kmph) and 6 Mach means 7,200 kmph. For reference, the fastest operational fighter jet can go 2.5 Mach (3,000 kmph).

The plane will be able to carry hypersonic missiles and will be used for high-speed intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), and strike operations. Lockheed says that the SR-72 will change the “definition of air power by giving the US significant tactical and strategic advantages” and forever change the ability of the US to deter and respond to conflicts.

So, to answer your question, is Darkstar a fiction or reality? It’s actually a fictional plane made only for the movie and the closest aircraft in reality will be SR-72 that will be operational as early as 2025.

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