Military Aviation

Top Gun: Maverick likely to feature F-35C Lightning II along with F/A-18 Super Hornet

A film crew from Paramount Pictures was aboard USS Abraham Lincoln the same time the Navy began launching F-35C jets off the ship interchangeably with F/A-18E/F Super Hornets as an integrated air wing

Top Gun: Maverick will likely feature the Navy’s new Lockheed Martin F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters alongside older Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

As reported by USNI News in fact, a film crew from Paramount Pictures was aboard aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) the same time the Navy began launching F-35C jets off the ship interchangeably with F/A-18E/F Super Hornets as an integrated air wing.

Actually since Aug. 20 six F-35Cs are operating aboard Lincoln and the film crew almost certainly got an up-close look at the Lightning II – operating alongside the Super Hornets, the EA-18G Growlers, the E-2 Hawkeye and the C-2 Greyhound.

Asked what role the new jets may play in the movie, Michael Singer, vice president of marketing and publicity for Jerry Bruckheimer Films and Television, told that “we are not providing any details about the production at this time.”

The Navy was limited in what it could reveal about the filming aboard Lincoln or the sea service’s role in the upcoming movie.

Navy spokesman Lt. Seth Clarke told that the level of support the service will provide is still being worked out, but “I can tell you that U.S. naval aviators will be flying in this movie.”

This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F-35C Lightning II VFA-125 Rough Raiders, NJ406, 169160 / 2018

He added that Lincoln specifically was chosen for filming because “the ship’s schedule was ideal based on the needs of Paramount films at this time. Additionally, the film crew presence incurred no additional costs, logistics or burden to the U.S. Navy.” Lincoln was due to be at sea to conduct carrier qualifications for pilots in Carrier Air Wing 7.

Noteworthy even though we reported on Aug. 22 that the Paramount camera crew was onboard USS Abraham Lincoln, the details of the F-35C operations aboard the same ship were not released until Monday.

Tom Cruise teased the start of filming on the long-awaited Top Gun sequel on May 31, 2018 with a tweet featuring an image of an older Capt. Pete Mitchell standing in a flight suit with his famous HGU-33 helmet (that wore to fly his F-14A Tomcat) in hand.

The movie starring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer is looking to cast the son of Maverick’s Radar Intercept Officer (RIO), Goose (played by Anthony Edwards in the original). Top Gun: Maverick will also see Kenny Loggins re-recording ‘Danger Zone’ for the movie.

Top Gun: Maverick is slated to hit theaters on Jul. 12, 2019.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur/Released

Artwork courtesy of

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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