How Would the World’s Top Defense Contractor Design the Batmobile?

Detective Comics #156

Detective Comics #156 (Credit: DC Comics, February 1950)

Advanced technologies firm Lockheed Martin is the world’s leading developer of aerospace and defense products—fighter jets and missiles—as well as a builder of  deep space probes and a vehicle that will take humans to Mars. Given their talent for building futuristic weaponry and space-age technology, Lockheed asked their own engineers to give input on a critical matter of national security: The design of the Batmobile.

Over the years, Batman’s iconic ride has gone through over a dozen reinventions and re-imaginings from its first appearance as a red sedan in Detective Comics #27 in 1939 to the final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy—where the Batmobile took the form of a militaristic combat vehicle.

With the release of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice and the introduction of yet another incarnation of the Batmobile, Lockheed Martin engineers describe via the company’s website, the capabilities that would give Batman the edge in the war against Gotham city’s worst supervillains.

Bat-Drones: John Yuhnick, Aviation and Unmanned Systems Chief Engineer

“Before riding into any dangerous situation on a dark night, we could deploy a swarm of drones from our optionally-manned superhero vehicle to get a bats-eye view at the scene of the crime, whether in the air, on land, or underwater, and relay those images back to the superhero from a safe distance. Autonomously operated and similar to bats with sense-and-avoid capability, the drones can maneuver through urban areas or standoff from more than 1,000 feet away to provide imagery to identify and track villains.”

3-D Printing: Connie Henshall, Senior Manager, Advanced Materials and Nanosystems

“The classic superhero vehicle has never been short on muscle, but power and stability go hand in hand with chassis design. By applying 3-D printed latticed chassis structures instead of heavy monolithic ones you see in most cars, we’d improve the vehicle’s performance, reduce its weight and tune its chassis specifically for the dynamic environments the suspension and tires will experience throughout the gothic city. “We can build engines that make way too much power for the cars we drive, but getting that power to the road through elegant engineering and design is truly the best way to maximize the power and handling of any vehicle – especially a superhero vehicle.”

“Superheroes have many foes, so why not redesign the superhero vehicle for each of them? By installing a 3-D printer and additive manufacturing processes to the cave, or wherever the superhero lives, the superhero and his trusted butler could analyze and build a prototype out of next-generation structural materials in a six-month timeframe – three and a half years faster than a commercial vehicle.”

Heightened Senses: Mike Worden, Director of Integrated Intelligence Systems

“As adversaries of today’s superheroes become more tech-savvy, the super vehicle could have sensors to control the electromagnetic space, which includes radio, infrared and radar signals. These sensors would allow it to disarm explosives and use decoy signals to thwart flying enemies.”

Sensory concept

Sensory concept (Credit: Lockheed Martin)

Data-driven Combat: Blake Davis, C4ISR Technical Director

“At the heart of the sensor system would be a sophisticated command, control, computer and communications system to relay real-time intelligence and allow defense mechanisms and weapons to deploy at the appropriate times – without the intervention of the caped crusader. The system could also share information with the superhero’s loyal butler or sidekick, who supports the mission from a command station.”

Supersonic Flight Capability: Rob Vermeland, Air-Breathing Hypersonics Engineer

“When a quick getaway is the superhero’s best choice, he or she may need to fly twice the speed of the fastest bullet – faster than a mile a second. The vehicle would be modified to include a scram jet, which would work in parallel with its jet engine to take-off and accelerate to hypersonic speeds. As it leaves the pavement, it would deploy a thermal protection system allowing it to withstand thousands of degrees of heat generated by air friction at these extreme speeds.”

Robin Seemangal focuses on NASA and advocacy for space exploration. He was born and raised in Brooklyn, where he currently resides. Find him on Instagram for more space-related content: @not_gatsby

How Would the World’s Top Defense Contractor Design the Batmobile?