An F-14 Tomcat Has Returned To The Deck Of An Operational Carrier For Top Gun 2 Production

We have been following the production of the highly anticipated sequel to Top Gun closely, a movie that is now deep in production. Last time we discussed the movie’s development was in regards to the revelation that the F-14 Tomcat would make at least a cameo appearance in the film, if not having a starring role. This came as photos leaked of Tom Cruise interacting with an F-14 at a snow-covered aircraft shelter at an airport near Lake Tahoe and also shooting some scenes in the vicinity around it. The jet, which was a real aircraft that was likely pulled from a museum, had special phoenix markings unique to the movie, as well. Now that same jet has appeared aboard an operational U.S. Navy aircraft carrier at Naval Station North Island in San Diego. 

Images of the jet show Cruise and a production crew working around the Tomcat that is positioned on one of the carrier’s two bow catapults. So it, is quite likely that this aircraft will be seen operating from an aircraft carrier in the film and is more than just a single scene plot tool within the script. Apparently, the airframe was also used for scenes shot at NAS North Island, which is colocated with the naval base. 


In the photos, the Tomcat is also packing an AIM-9 Sidewinder with orange bands, indicating it is a live round. This is certainly for the purposes of filming. The USS Theodore Roosevelt is rumored to be used for the movie’s production, so that is likely the carrier we are seeing the Tomcat on. There is a chance that it will set sail with it onboard, which would indicate extensive shooting of the Tomcat while at sea. 

Also, keep in mind that this is not a flying aircraft. It is being used as a static prop for ground footage. There are no flying Tomcats anywhere in the world aside from in Iran. The Navy retired the type in 2006 and most were either chopped up or demilitarized and sent to museums. Getting one flying for the movie would be very costly and nearly impossible due to red tape surrounding the Tomcat’s sensitive export controls due to their continued use by Iran. There are plenty of other issues as well. 


In other news, I have heard from two sources that aerial filming is ongoing and actual footage of aircraft in flight be used extensively in the movie. This is great news as it was worried that nearly all of the flight sequences would be fabricated with CGI, negating one of the original film’s best attributes. 

Regardless, the Tomcat is back aboard an operational supercarrier for the first time in over a decade which is bound to warm the hearts of many who remain superfans of Grumman’s swing-wing Fleet Defender.

UPDATE: 2/15/2018—

We have new pictures and information as to what the Top Gun 2 production crew is doing with the Tomcat on the Theodore Roosevelt’s deck. Check out our full update by clicking here. 

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