According to Aviation Week, the Skunk Works division of Lockheed Martin will soon begin testing a new classified aircraft called the Speed Racer, whose very existence is shrouded in a thick veil of secrecy.
Lockheed Martin originally announced it in September 2020, with the Skunk Works not disclosing any details regarding the new vehicle. The Skunk Works track record includes several developed aircraft, including the DarkStar spy drone (which never went into production) and the RQ-170.
DarkStar spy drone
It is known that when creating the Speed Racer, StarDrive digital engineering methods were actively used. This technology consists in the use of special software to create "digital twins" of the aircraft at all stages - from design to real flight. With the help of the "digital twin", engineers can predict how the aircraft will fly, make adjustments and improve its design even before the start of flight tests.
StarDrive reduces development time and costs. By comparison, the F-35 was built (without StarDrive) over two decades, while the Air Force digitally engineered, covertly designed, built and tested a prototype of a new fighter in just a year.
According to Skunk Works officials, the prototype of the new aircraft is ready for ground testing, during which tests will be carried out for reliability, vibration resistance and many others. The next stage is full-fledged flight tests.