Lockheed Martin unveils Speed Racer UAS design

Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works advanced projects bureau has officially revealed the design of its Speed Racer air vehicle.

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Lockheed Martin unveils Speed Racer UAS design 01 After release, the vehicle deploys a pair of pop-out wings (Picture source: Lockheed Martin )

The existence of Speed Racer became known last September,  during a lightly attended online press event by the Skunk Works at the virtual Air, Space and Cyber Conference. The announcement came against the backdrop of the Air, Space and Cyber conference, where U.S. Air Force leaders unveiled the “e-series” designation for digital engineering models of weapon systems, which is aimed at dramatically shortening the development cycle and cost of new aircraft and missiles.

The Skunk Works concept for the Speed Racer follows the spirit of the e-series approach. The UAS will seek to demonstrate Lockheed’s readiness to participate in the Air Force’s favored new approach to weapons development, Skunk Works officials say. Lockheed Martin declined to provide additional details about the configuration and schedule for Speed Racer, except to note that it may be incorrect to interpret the concept’s name as suggesting a high-speed or even supersonic jet: “I’ll tease that Speed Racer is an acronym. I can’t share [the acronym] right now, but it does not necessarily imply fast in Mach [number],” said Joe Pokora, Lockheed’s Speed Racer project manager.

Lockheed Martin unveils Speed Racer UAS design 02 Air-launched Speed Racer UAS (Picture source: Lockheed Martin )

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. It appeared in a computer-generated segment in a video promoting Lockheed Martin’s StarDrive digital environment released ahead of the Air Force Associations’ 2021 Virtual Aerospace Warfare Symposium (see below).