Maverick and Goose flew a F-14A Tomcat in the original Top Gun, but it appears that Capt. Pete Mitchell will get an upgraded ride in the sequel according to leaked photos.
According to the site Revenge of the Fans, this is Maverick’s new jet fighter.
The Aviationist identified the aircraft as a F/A-18 Hornet. That sure beats flying a cargo plane full of rubber dogshit out of Hong Kong. See a closer shot of the plane and Maverick’s name on the plane’s cockpit rail HERE.
The Hornet makes sense since earlier reports that Top Gun 2 camera crews were on the USS Abraham Lincoln, a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier based out of Norfolk operating with Joint Strike Fighters and Super Hornets.
The F-14 Tomcat first appeared in September of 1974 and was retired in September of 2006. The U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet debuted in November of 1983 and it is still in service today. While the F-14 Tomcat is an absolutely incredible fighter jet, the F/A-18 Hornet is certainly no fucking slouch as you can from this video of high-speed maneuvers at a very low altitudes as seen from the cockpit in this tremendous video.
So which is the superior aircraft? For that answer we turn to The Aviationist:
In FAC(A) Forward Air Controller (Airborne) mission both aircrafts have some strengths and weaknesses: while the Tomcat had a greater on-station time than the Super Hornet, the F/A-18 has an integrated cockpit and for air-to ground missions has the capability to carry not only Laser Guided Bombs (LGBs) and Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), but also High Anti-Radiation Missile (HARM) and Joint Standoff Weapons (JSOWs) which the F-14 could not carry. Still, the F-14 could carry a reconnaissance pod whereas the F-18 can fly as a buddy refueler. Anyway, thanks to its eleven weapon stations, the Super Hornet is more flexible than the Tomcat and it can carry a larger array of air-to-ground ordnance. The F/A-18 Super Hornet is a more modern airplane with newer equipment, easier to maintain: a great advantage in times of budget constraints.
Here is a virtual dogfight between a DCS: F-14 Tomcat Phoenix Aim-54 Vs. a F-18 Hornet Amraam 120C.
In the movie, the fictional MiG-28s were Northrop F-5E (one seat) and F (two seat) Tiger IIs. No word on what will be the enemy aircraft for the sequel.
Tom Cruise is getting back into the cockpit, but not on a Hornet just yet. Cruise, dressed in a flight suit, was seen at the Marana Regional Airport near Tucson, Arizona in his personal P-51 Mustang airplane.
Also last week, the Hollywood actor was seen at in Fort Worth, Texas and Los Angeles, California.
But, would it have been too much to ask of the U.S. military to allow the movie to feature something built in the 2000s, perhaps like a F-35 Lightning II? The U.S. Navy’s official VFA-125, the “Rough Raiders,” Facebook page posted this video of an F-35 buzzing the tower. They did not indicate if any coffee was spilled.
Two weeks ago, it was announced that Top Gun: Maverick would be delayed an entire year. Paramount Pictures said in the statement: “The extra time will give filmmakers the opportunity to work out the logistics of presenting flight sequences with new technology and planes.” Who knows, maybe we do get some newer jets such as the F-35. Top Gun: Maverick soars into theaters on June 26, 2020.