What Is “Speed Racer”?

I found this post at The War Zone by Joseph Trevithick about Lockheed-Martin’s “Speed Racer” project fascinating:

Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works advanced projects bureau has officially revealed the design of its secretive Speed Racer air vehicle. The missile-shaped unmanned system is ostensibly intended to serve as an experiment in digital engineering techniques, but has the potential to be the basis for future swarming drones and low-cost cruise missiles.

Steve Trimble, Aviation Week’s defense editor and friend of The War Zone, was first to report on the new information about Speed Racer. He was also able to confirm that a computer-generated segment in a video Lockheed Martin had released ahead of the Air Force Associations’ 2021 Virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium, which wrapped up yesterday, did indeed depict this air vehicle. The company similarly acknowledged that a rendering it released last year was also of Speed Racer.

both for its subject matter and its opacity. I’ll try to clear up some of the opacity.

“Skunk Works” is a reference to a newspaper comic strip that has been defunct for almost 50 years. It has come to refer to any free-wheeling laboratory.

“Speed Racer” is a reference to a Japanese anime and manga franchise that is more than 50 years old.

I did read L’il Abner (the comic strip). I did not watch Speed Racer.

As to the project itself, “Speed Racer” appears to be a proof-of-concept and, as far as I can tell, the concept they’re trying to prove has less to do with the specific craft being designed than with the rapid application developmental approach being used to design it. Whether that’s a worthwhile activity I can’t actually say but it certainly looks as though those involved are having fun doing it.

4 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    Here he comes! Here comes Speed Racer
    He’s a demon on wheels!
    He’s a demon and he’s gonna be chasin’ after someone
    He’s gainin’ on you so you better look alive
    He’s busy revin’ up a powerful Mach 5!

  • steve Link

    That T-7 looks way more cool than the T-1 I got to fly. Anyway, I am sure there is room to speed up the design and build process, but I would bet that most of that delay actually comes from making sure that as many parts as possible are made in as many states as possible so that funding is guaranteed and maintained. (I did watch Speed Racer.)


  • walt moffett Link

    Remember Lil Abner and a bar maid who called herself Mammy Yokum, Good memories thanks for bringing them up.

    This project sounds more like a “hole mah beer and watch this…”.

  • Grey Shambler Link

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