All fighter jets in Top Gun: The Maverick trailer

The Top Gun: Maverick trailer features a number of actual fighter planes. But what do these specific jets bring to the table?

Nearly four decades after the release of the original film, Tom Cruise is reprising the role of Pete Mitchell for Top Gun: Maverick. And, as always, Cruise insists on doing the stunts himself and flying the plane. But with a new list of fighter jets seen in the trailers, those less passionate about aviation are wondering exactly what the plane brings to the table.

Just like the original, all planes are actual fighters used in modern combat. However, some artistic liberties are still taken to make certain jets look better than they actually are. Fortunately, Alex Hollings and the military news site Sandboxx recently published a detailed guide to every plane seen in Top Gun: Maverick‘s, detailing the accuracy of their on-screen portrayal and real-life attire.


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Cruise switches to an F/A-18 Super Hornet in Top Gun: Maverick


Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

Maverick’s original aircraft, the F-14 Tomcat, has become iconic for fans. But with the fighter’s retirement in 2006, it’s now being upgraded to an F/A-18E Super Hornet. While the F-14 is significantly faster, the Super Hornet is much more modernized and economical, greatly improving pilot survivability. With updated weapon systems and longer airtime, this American strike fighter is also an impressive ally.

Often referred to as the Rhino, due to its protruding protrusion at the front, the fighter can carry up to 17,750 pounds of external weight, allowing up to 11 different assortments of bombs and missiles to be attached at the same time. However, since all of these weapons are external, it makes the aircraft easier to detect on radar. Thankfully, the jet’s flight time and lethal capabilities far outweigh any negatives.


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Top Gun: Maverick’s new enemy is the Su-57


An updated American aircraft also means adversaries have modernized their fighters. But while the plane is undoubtedly deadly, the Su-57 isn’t quite the formidable foe suggested by the trailers. With only 14 built by the Russians, this craft was not considered useful enough to justify the construction costs. With poor stealth capabilities and outdated engines, the Su-57 would likely be out of its league against a Super Hornet. However, not everything is bad for the Russian aircraft, as the Su-57 matches the Super Hornet’s impressive maneuverability and can even reach the same speeds. Also, unlike the American fighter, the Su-57 can store six internal missiles to aid in its stealth, meaning it will still fight well.


The F-35C provides superior air support in Top Gun: Maverick


Although not featured in the trailer, Paramount film crews were seen working with another American fighter, the Lockheed Martin F-35C. This aircraft specializes in stealth and air support, being one of the most difficult fighter aircraft to detect. But what really makes the F-35C shine are the modern on-board computer systems. With sensors drawing constant data from surrounding land, sea, air and enemy aircraft, this fighter offers better situational awareness than any other tactical aircraft to date.

To the detriment of its strengths, the F-35C can only carry four weapons at a time if it wishes to remain stealthy and can take damage when rolling at maximum speeds. But with its superior computing power, the F-35C makes the perfect support role for any surrounding American aircraft and is one of the most valuable assets in a fight.


To see these jets in action, Top Gun: Maverick opens in theaters on May 27.

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