The SR-72 Darkstar was on display over the weekend

Top Gun: Maverick, the summer's biggest hit, was reportedly spied on by the Chinese government, who redirected one of their most powerful reconnaissance satellites to monitor the film's production. This weekend, you got an up-close look at the SR-72.

SR-72 "Darkstar
The Darkstar, a fictional Lockheed Skunk Works aircraft featured in the film "Top Gun: Maverick," is being towed into place at Edwards AFB in preparation for the 2022 Aerospace Valley Open House, Air Show, and Stem Expo.

Despite China's ongoing trend of bootlegging western-made films and producing low-budget knockoffs of Hollywood hits for the Asian market, the country was only interested in one of the film's props: a replica of the SR-72 "Darkstar."

Skunk Works, a not-so-secret part of Lockheed Martin's aerospace division where top-secret planes like the SR-71 Blackbird were made, was a key part of making the movie-style hypersonic jet.

As the producer of Top Gun: Maverick, Jerry Bruckheimer knows how to make a splash in the industry. He sought out something completely new for this film.

SR-72 "Darkstar" in Top Gun: Maverick
 SR-72 "Darkstar" in Top Gun: Maverick

It was the "Darkstar," which some experts in the field of aviation have speculated could reach speeds of up to Mach 6. Beijing apparently thought it was a real experimental aircraft and wanted to get a closer look, despite the fact that it was just a movie prop. That is a testament to how convincing the fake Darkstar was.

Experience the SR-72 in Detail

A full-size prop was made, and it was unveiled at the 2022 Aerospace Valley Open House, Air Show, and STEM Expo at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California this past weekend, despite widespread conjecture about the extent to which the plane was rendered with CGI (computer-generated imagery).

The SR-72 will make an appearance at the STEM Expo at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California.

The fact that the mock-up would be present at all sparked widespread interest on social media platforms.

“Yes, the rumors were true! The Lockheed Martin Darkstar is at Edwards and will have its world debut at the 2022 Aerospace Valley Open House, Air Show, and STEM Expo this weekend! Designed to showcase the future, it was only right that local #STEM students received the first look! The Darkstar will be on static display all weekend long at #AvAirshow,” Edwards AFB announced via its Facebook page last week.

The SR-72 will make an appearance at the STEM Expo at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB) in California.

If you weren't able to attend the Aerospace Valley Air Show in person, don't worry; the event's Twitter account (@AVAirShow) posted several photos of the Darkstar prop plane. All reports say that the Darkstar was the most interesting thing at the air show, even though it was just a static display and couldn't even fly, let alone go very fast.

“The Darkstar looks so real that seeing the aircraft prop in person is even more impressive than seeing it in the movie,” reported TheAviationist.

At Least Until the Real Thing Gets Here

Even though Lockheed Martin has already made it clear on its website that a real SR-72 Darkstar is not in the works, rumors persist that a movie prop is being used as a blueprint for a real plane.

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. Darkstar's abilities could be more than just a story if Skunk Works, which is known for making the fastest planes, combined them with its passion and energy for shaping the future of aerospace. They could be reality

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