The hypersonic jet piloted by Tom Cruise in the upcoming Top Gun movie looked so real and scary that China actually moved its spy satellite to a different route to photograph it.

Via Instagram / @tomcruise

The hotly anticipated sequel of the 1986 Top Gun, Top Gun: Maverick is ready for its theatrical release at the end of this month after a painful delay of almost three years. Originally scheduled for release on July 12, 2019, the Tom Cruise starrer was delayed initially by its complex flight sequences and later postponed by two years due to the pandemic. However, the rave reviews after its first-ever screening at the CinemaCon 2022 suggest the wait was completely worth it! From what we’ve gathered so far, the sequel begins three decades from where the original Top Gun left off and continues to follow Maverick’s journey as a US Navy Pilot where he’s put in charge of training a group of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission. The teasers have been promising some jaw-dropping flying sequences, mostly involving F/A-18 Hornets and even Russia’s stealth fighter, the Su-57. However, one of the big highlights of the upcoming movie will be a fictional next-generation fighter dubbed “Darkstar.” Reportedly, the prop spy plane made for the movie looked so real that the Chinese government moved a spy satellite to get a look at it.

Rendering of the SR-72 from Skunkworks. Via – The Drive.

This shocking claim was made by none other than Top Gun’s producer and celebrated filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer. “The Navy told us that a Chinese satellite turned and headed on a different route to photograph that plane. They thought it was real. That’s how real it looks,” Bruckheimer told Sandboxx News. While it might seem like a bit of a PR stunt by the movie’s production team to generate more interest, there are good reasons to actually believe Bruckheimer. Well, you see, the fictional Darkstar hypersonic jet that’ll be seen in the new Top Gun is not like any other regular prop plane designed for a Hollywood movie and is a whole lot more realistic than you may believe.

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Via Twitter / Alexhollings52

In fact, the producers of the movie collaborated with Lockheed Martin Corporation’s legendary Skunk Works advanced projects division to design and create a full-scale mockup of the hypersonic jet, which has been confirmed by the chairman, president, and CEO of Lockheed Martin, James Taiclet. In a blog post made on LinkedIn, Taiclet revealed that the members of the Skunk Works team had “partnered with Top Gun’s producers to bring cutting-edge, future forward technology to the big screen.”

Via Instagram / @tomcruise

“The reason we approached Skunk Works is because I wanted to make the most realistic hypersonic aircraft we possibly could. In fact, as you saw, we built it full-scale in cooperation with them,” Top Gun’s director Joseph Kosinski told Sandboxx News. “But the reason it looks so real is because it was the engineers from Skunk Works who helped us design it. So those are the same people who are working on real aircraft who helped us design Darkstar for this film.”

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A close up of the Darkstar drone from the movie.

But there’s more to it that I guarantee will make you jump in excitement if you’re an aviation enthusiast or love military jets. The Skunk Works division was also responsible for creating the legendary, record-setting Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird in the early 1960s. Currently, the American aerospace company is developing a spiritual successor of the supersonic jet called the SR-72 concept. Although the project is shrouded in mystery, it is an unmanned reusable hypersonic military jet capable of carrying out intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR), in addition to strike missions. When the fictional Darkstar’s pictures are compared to the design renderings of the SR-72, you’ll surprised to find all the similarities. Coincidental? Maybe not! A Lockheed Martin executive by the name of John Neilson corroborated the rumors by tweeting that the fictional jet could provide a “sneaky peak at what might be the Lockheed Martin SR-72.” When all these facts are put together, the possibility of the Chinese spy satellite trying to grab some intel doesn’t sound so absurd. China has been long accused of copying the F-22 and F-35 stealth jets to make their own. Nevertheless, I can’t wait for the Top Gun: Maverick any longer.

[Via: The Drive]

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Written By
Sayan Chakravarty, a Senior Writer at Luxurylaunches, brings over 10 years of automotive journalism expertise. He provides insightful coverage of the latest cars and motorcycles across American and European markets, while also highlighting luxury yachts, high-end watches, and gadgets. An authentic automobile aficionado, his commitment shines through in educating readers about the automotive world. When the keyboard rests, Sayan feeds his wanderlust, traversing the world on his motorcycle.