We now have a better idea of what the hypersonic test airplane teased by the trailer might look like. And there’s also a Sukhoi Su-57 Felon-like die-cast model in the set.
One of the most interesting details about “Top Gun: Maverick” we have discussed here at The Aviationist since the first photos of “Maverick” in High Altitude pressure suit on set emerged in 2018, is the presence of a stealthy hypersonic aircraft in the sequel to the 1980s action movie.
In fact, all the trailers released so far (including the extended Super Bowl version) show Tom Cruise aka Capt. Pete Mitchell, a test pilot (according to the name tag shown in the first trailer), flying a stealthy experimental hypersonic while wearing an all-black high-altitude pressure suit similar to the actual ones worn by high altitude reconnaissance pilots in aircraft like the U-2 and SR-71. And, as already highlighted, the enigmatic test article seems to be somehow inspired to the Lockheed SR-72 hypersonic reconnaissance plane.
A new hint at the shape of the movie’s mysterious aircraft might be in the new Matchbox “Top Gun: Maverick” line available on Jun. 1, 2020. As reported by CNN, the popular toy brand (owned by Mattel) is about to release a series of die-cast models featured in both the 1986 and 2020 Top Gun movies, including the Grumman F-14 Tomcat (both the original and the 2020 version one), the Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornet, the hypersonic aircraft as well as the F-35, the P-51 Mustang (that also appears in the trailer) and another quite mysterious jet, whose shape reminds the one of the Russian Sukhoi Su-57 “Felon”.
Considered that the new die-cast models must have been officially licensed, it’s safe to assume the hypersonic aircraft is depicted as it will appear in the movie.
Based on the new image we can’t but notice that while the trailer seemed to suggest the bottom side of the hypersonic aircraft (with its widely spaced engine nacelles and engine’s rectangular air intake ramps) might be inspired by the concept images of the SR-72 released by Lockheed Martin in 2013, the images of the Matchbox playset, taken by Jacob Krol for CNN, show the upper side of the hypersonic aircraft with the twin tails and small trapezoidal wing that make the experimental aircraft more similar to an SR-71 than its successor.
Indeed, based on Lockheed Martin’s original concept renderings, the SR-72 should have a pointy shape and a single tail.