Inextricably linked to the Navy Fighter Weapons School thanks to the hit movie Top Gun released in the spring of 1986, the F-14 Tomcat came to symbolize the very best of US naval fighter aviation throughout the jet’s three decades of fleet service.


THE F-14 TOMCAT and its association with TOPGUN became an international phenomena thanks to Tom Cruise’s character, LT Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell, in the 1986 film that portrayed a class going through the US Navy Fighter Weapons School (NFWS). For almost 20 years, TOPGUN instructors saw the Tomcat exclusively as the ‘enemy’ as they strived to train fleet F-14 pilots and radar intercept officers (RIOs) in the best ways to defeat potential opponents across the globe. Fleet crews came to TOPGUN to learn from the school’s instructors in pale blue T-shirts and crisp flying suits who were undeniably ‘the best of the best’.

Become a Premium Member to Read More

This is a premium article and requires an active Key.Aero subscription to view.

I’m an existing member, sign me in!

I don’t have a subscription…

Why not join our community of aviation enthusiasts? Pick one of our offers and access a wealth of world-class aviation content.