Picture of an F-14 Tomcat

Top Gun priced up

Perhaps one of the most iconic films of the 1980s, Top Gun, the military-based action-drama starring Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer, is getting a sequel.

Top Gun: Maverick is slated to land in cinemas near you in on the 12th July 2019. To that end, and our strong interest in the aerospace and defence industry, we’ve put together a blog post pricing up equipment and personnel from the first movie.

F-14 Tomcat

Picture of an F-14 Tomcat

Arguably the star of the show, the F-14 Tomcat is the fighter plane Maverick, Goose and their fellow pilots use to battle the MIG-28’s from the unnamed enemy state in the film.

The fighter was designed as an air superiority and long-range naval interceptor. Built to counter the threat other aircraft pose, the Tomcat specialised in air-to-air engagements.

Retired from the US Navy’s active fleet in 2006, the F-14 was superseded by the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

The Tomcat is still in active service with the Iranian Air Force.

Quick facts

Crew: 2 (Pilot and Radar Intercept Officer)

Length: 62 ft 9 in (19.1 m)

Wingspan:

Spread: 64 ft (19.55 m)

Max. takeoff weight: 74,350 lb (33,720 kg)

Maximum speed: Mach 2.34 (1,544 mph, 2,485 km/h) at high altitude

Combat radius: 500 nmi (575 mi, 926 km)

Ferry range: 1,600 nmi (1,840 mi, 2,960 km)

Service ceiling: 50,000+ ft (15,200 m)

Cost calculator

Engine: General Electric F110 (1998) $7,438,314.96 $11,500,000.00 (2018, calculating inflation)

Payload: M61A1 Vulcan 6-barreled Gatling Cannon, $178,823.93 (1998) $276,470.58 (2018, calculating inflation) assortment of air-to-air missiles

and bombs depending on configuration

Airframe: (Body of aircraft) price unknown, comprised of steel, aluminium and other raw materials.

Avionics: AN/AWG-9, plus additional radar equipment

Total cost: $38 million (1998) $58.7 million (2018, calculating inflation)

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grumman_F-14_Tomcat. https://history.defense.gov/Portals/70/Documents/secretaryofdefense/OSDSeries_Vol9.pdf

Northrop F-5

In Top Gun, the Northrop F-5 is referred to as the fictitious MiG-28. At the time of filming, the Cold War was still at its height, with the US and its allies facing off against the Soviet Union.

As the Top Gun film crew couldn’t obtain footage of actual MiG-29’s in flight, the Top Gun film crew worked with the US Navy to paint Northrup F-5’s black, complete with star insignia to portray the fighter as an enemy aircraft.

Like the Tomcat, the F-5 is proficient in air-to-air combat, but with modifications, can strike a variety of ground-based targets

It is still in service in the US, as well as a range of other countries all over the world.

Quick facts

Crew: 1

Length: 47 ft 4¾ in (14.45 m)

Wingspan: 26 ft 8 in (8.13 m)

Height: 13 ft 4½ in (4.08 m)

Max. takeoff weight: 24,722 lb (11,214 kg)

Maximum speed: 917 kn (Mach 1.6, 1,060 mph, 1,700 km/h); at altitude

Range: 760 nmi (870 mi, 1,405 km)

Cost calculator

Engine: General Electric F110 (1998) $7,438,314.96 $11,500,000.00 (2018, calculating inflation)

Payload: x2 M39 revolver cannons, 2x Lau-61/LAU-68 rocket pods, Hydra 70mm rockets $2,799.00 (2018 price) AIM-9 Sidewinder, $603,817 (2018 price) and other miscellaneous weapons

Airframe: (Body of aircraft) price unknown, comprised of steel, aluminium and other raw materials.

Avionics: Emerson Electric AN/APQ-153 & 159

Total cost: $2.1 million (1962) $17.5 million (2018, calculating inflation)

USS Ranger (Enterprise)

PIcture of the USS Ranger aircraft carrier

The USS Enterprise is the aircraft carrier Maverick operates out of in the film. But in real life, the floating fortress was an active warship in the US naval operations.

Called the USS Ranger, the ship has featured in many TV shows and films over the years, but ultimately, was decommissioned in 1993, and then scrapped in 2015.

Launched in 1954, the USS Ranger saw deployments in numerous armed conflicts over its years of service. It featured in the Vietnam War, as well as the 1991 Iraq War.

At its pomp, the remarkable vessel housed a crew complement of 3,826.

Quick facts

Weight: 56,300 long tons (57,200 t) light, 81,101 long tons (82,402 t) full load

Length: 1,046 ft (319 m)

Propulsion: 4 geared turbines, 4 shafts, 280,000 shaft horsepower (210 MW)

8 Babcock & Wilcox boilers

Speed: 34 knots (63 km/h)

Complement: 3,826 officers and men.

Radar: AN/SPS-48 3D air search radar, AN/SPS-48 2D air search radar, AN/SPS-10 surface search radar

Aircraft carried: 70–90

Cost calculator

Total cost: $182 million (1954) $1.66 billion (2018, calculating inflation)

Maverick

Picture of a pilot

The man behind the steering wheel, Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, pilots the Tomcat fighter plane.

To even get to the point of getting inside of a plane, pilots must spend years of their life training, with basic training totalling approximately $1 million according to the Department of Defence (DoD).

The same report goes onto to state that the actual cost of training a pilot, including keeping them up-to-date with the latest technology, can cost up to $9 million throughout an aviator’s career.

Got anything you’d like to say?

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our Top Gun-themed blog post. Is there anything from the film or the defence industry you’d like to share with us? Let us know on our LinkedIn or Twitter accounts.