These Are the 6 Awesome Planes That Featured in ‘Top Gun: Maverick’

Top gun maverick
Tom Cruise stars in "Top Gun: Maverick" SOURCE: PARAMOUNT

The long-anticipated Top gun: Maverick, has finally been released. Despite the enormous success of the original 1986 film, the fans had to wait for 36 years for a sequel to be made.

Just like its predecessor, Maverick was a huge success. We compiled a list of all the aircraft seen in the 2022 blockbuster.

P-51 Mustang

The P-51 Mustang is one of the most iconic WWII-era planes. It is THE American fighter aircraft. Its range and maneuverability made it an excellent long-range escort fighter, but it also did great as a ground attack fighter bomber. It is also the aircraft plane to appear in Maverick. The P-51 was first flown in 1940 and was officially retired from the U.S. military in 1957; however, it would still serve the Dominican Air force for another 30 years.

North American P-51 Mustang
North American P-51 Mustang

F-14 Tomcat

The F-14 is the Navy’s favorite and has proven to be a flexible and reliable aircraft over decades of service. It is also very special for the fans of the movie because Cruise’s character spent a lot of time on screen, flying on these. As brilliant as Tom Cruise is, the Navy understandably wouldn’t allow him to fly a fighter jet on his own, so two-seaters like the Tomcat were the only option.

The F-14 is a fighter aircraft; it belongs to a somewhat rare breed of aircraft with a variable-sweep wing design. It is also carrier-capable, which means that it is a Navy aircraft.

F-14A Tomcat of NFWS (TOPGUN)
F-14A Tomcat of NFWS (TOPGUN) NAS Miramar c. 1993

Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II

The F-35 is among the newest planes in the United States military, it is also among very few 5th-generation aircraft models, defined by their stealth characteristics. The Navy only recently got to play with F-35’s; they were introduced to Navy service in 2019. It is currently among the most desirable aircraft within NATO.

Top Gun: Maverick does feature the F-35 Lightning, but since it only comes in a single pilot configuration, it couldn’t be used in scenes where the actors are in the cockpit.

U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II
A U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. John R. Nimmo, Sr./RELEASED) DIGITAL

The Hypersonic ‘Darkstar’ Jet

The people behind making the movies have always tried to make them as realistic as possible, and while there were some fictional planes, they were always based on real aircraft. While the SR-71 was retired in the 90s, the Darkstar seemed more futuristic but realistic enough to fool the Chinese government. According to the producer Jerry Bruckheimer, the Chinese took satellite photos of the plane, believing it was real.

Gun: Maverick features the Darkstar jet, which resembles to Lockheed Martin’s SR-71.

Lockheed Darkstar. Photo: Lockheed Martin

Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet

The Super Hornet is among the newer planes featured in the latest film. The multirole fighter was first introduced in 1999 and is to replace the F-14 Tomcat. Similar to F-14, the Super hornet also comes with two seats and thus was the perfect aircraft for filming.

In the latest movie,  Maverick is tasked with training new pilots on the new aircraft, and as a result, it was used extensively during filming.

F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft
A US Navy (USN) F/A-18E Super Hornet aircraft. Photographer’s Mate Airman Phillip A. McDaniel, U.S. Navy

Sukhoi SU-57 Felon

Let’s talk bad guys. In the original film, the Navy pilots were fighting against Soviet-made MiG-28’s. Now, if we were to ask Soviet Engineers about MiG-28, they would be very puzzled, considering they had never made such an aircraft. So, in reality, the MiG’s were Northrop F-5s painted black and decorated with Soviet insignia for the movie.

In the latest movie, the enemies have received an upgrade in the form of a fake Sukhoi SU-57 Felon. Unfortunately, the Russians understandably wouldn’t land their newest 5th generation fighters to the American filming crew, so the SU-57s that appear in the movie are CGI.

The Felon is Russia’s first and only fifth-generation aircraft. First introduced in 2020, only 16 were ever built, 10 of which are test models.

Sukhoi Su-57
Sukhoi Design Bureau, 054, Sukhoi Su-57. Photo: Anna Zvereva