Top Gun (TOPGUN)

TOP GUN FILMS / US NAVY’S TOPGUN

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The US Navy created its Fighter Weapons School (better known as TOPGUN) in the late 1960s, though it came to worldwide attention with the release of the 1986 film ‘Top Gun’ starring Tom Cruise. Since it creation TOPGUN has evolved to meet the changing threats and also expanded the courses it offers.

With the release of the much-anticipated sequel, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, once again the US Navy’s real-life TOPGUN will be the basis for another high-G adventure on the silver screen.

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Insights from a real TOPGUN instructor

Retired US Navy CDR Jim ‘Jambo’ Ray shares some of his experiences as a TOPGUN instructor with Dr Kevin Wright

TOPGUN shares access to the Super Hornet with NAWDC’s other components, but on occasion borrows aircraft from other units. Those include VFA-106, one of which squadron’s F/A-18Fs is seen here during a training mission at El Centro, California. US Navy Feature Premium

The F/A-18 Super Hornet: the star of Top Gun Maverick

Like the Hornet before it, the Super Hornet’s arrival into US Navy service was via a somewhat unusual route. Today it delivers world-class capability from the carrier deck

NAWDC operates previously embargoed F-16A/B Block 15 OCUs as part of its adversary fleet. US Department of Defense Feature Premium

What is TOPGUN like today?

More than 50 years after its formation, TOPGUN adheres to the same basic tenet of delivering excellence to the Fleet

An A-4E ‘Mongoose’ (the unofficial name for this sub-type) awaits its next sortie from Naval Air Station Miramar. These jets were fast and manoeuvrable, making them excellent adversaries. US NAVY Feature Premium

TOPGUN - The early years

Marcelo Ribeiro marked the 50th anniversary of the US Navy’s iconic dissimilar air combat training squadron – TOPGUN – in 2019 by exploring its formative years

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What is the real TOPGUN like?

The long-awaited sequel to the movie Top Gun will be a Hollywood depiction of what happens at the US Navy Fighter Weapons School. Jamie Hunter and Richard Collens tell the story of the real TOPGUN — a school of combat excellence in the high desert

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Boeing F/A-18 Hornet vs Super Hornet: what's the difference?

Tom Kaminski assesses the US Navy’s Hornets and Super Hornets and compares their capabilities.

VF-124 was the Tomcat RAG. This Miramar line-up had been prepared for an inspection. US Navy Feature Premium

Miramar – TOPGUN’s Ancestral Home

TOPGUN was established as the Navy Fighter Weapons School, out of VF-121 at Naval Air Station Miramar. Today, the facility is a key US Marine Corps station

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TOPGUN through the ages

The US Navy’s TOPGUN fighter weapons school is marking 50 years of training. Combat Aircraft charts its history and success and finds a center of excellence that is adapting for the future.

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Top Gun: Maverick (NO SPOILER) review

“The sort of extreme-G flying that even has you clenching your butt cheeks in your cinema seat”

Going head-to-head — a TOPGUN F-14A (BuNo 162591) and a visiting VF-32 F-14B (BuNo 161608) and crew merge during high-aspect basic fighter maneuvers (BFM) in 2002. Ted Carlson/Fotodynamics Feature Premium

Tomcats of TOPGUN

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 Real Topgun Bookazine

This special publication celebrates TOPGUN’s people, details its aircraft and weapons, examines its evolution, and sets its achievements in the global context of US Naval Aviation.

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