‘Top Gun: Maverick’: Studio Paid U.S Navy More Than $11,000 Per Hour To Use Fighter Jets: Report

Super hornet
Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

“Top Gun: Maverick” used authentic U.S. Navy jets while filming, but the planes didn’t come cheap.

Fortune reported that the studio shelled out more than $11,000 per hour for the privilege, and lead actor Tom Cruise wasn’t even allowed to touch the controls.

Fans of the 1986 cult classic “Top Gun” are thrilled to see Cruise returning to one of his most iconic projects. The 2022 version, “Maverick,” promises the same same action and thrills as the original, including heart-pounding fighter jet scenes. To make the scenes look real, the Navy let the studio use F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets for an hourly fee of $11,364.

The 59-year-old actor has his pilot’s license and had actually flown in the original “Top Gun” movie. He was also able to fly certain aircraft for the new film, just not the Super Hornets. Per Fortune, Pentagon regulations won’t allow non-military personnel from controlling a Defense Department asset other than small arms in training scenarios, Pentagon entertainment media spokesperson Glen Roberts said.

Roberts also said the real Top Gun pilots are nothing like the characters from the movie. He said these cocky, rebellious types of recruits “would never exist in naval aviation.” Fortune described real Top Gun school candidates as “studious air nerds who toil away for hours in the classroom and participate in intense training flights at Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada.”  

Further, Roberts noted how the military had the option to request script edits, though he’s not aware of any alteration requests for “Top Gun.” The spokesperson said the movie “does not have to be a love letter to the military” but it does “need to uphold the integrity of the military.”

Roberts explained that the Super Hornet, a jet known as the “Rhino,” takes center stage in the movie over the more advanced F-35C. He also mentioned how the F-35 is a single-seat plane, which meant actors could not tag along in them.

A lot of “Top Gun: Maverick” was filmed in 2018 but has had its release delayed due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic. Val Kilmer, one of the stars of the original film, returned to “Maverick” with the aid of special technology that helped him speak even after losing his voice from a tracheotomy in 2014 following a throat cancer diagnosis, The Daily Wire reported.

“I’m grateful to the entire team at Sonantic who masterfully restored my voice in a way I’ve never imagined possible,” Kilmer said.

The movie “Top Gun: Maverick” was released this week. 

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