‘Top Gun’ Borrowed US Navy Jets for $11K an Hour, But Tom Cruise Wasn’t Allowed To Use Controls

by Samantha Whidden

Although the “Top Gun: Maverick” production team was able to borrow jets from the U.S. Navy for $11,000 an hour, Tom Cruise was reportedly not allowed to use the controls. 

Fox News reports that while Tom Cruise and the “Top Gun: Maverick” cast were able to fly in the jets, the Pentagon prohibited non-military personnel from controlling Defense Department equipment. However, the cast was able to control small arms in training scenarios. 

Pentagon Entertainment Media Office Chief Glen Roberts states that the “Top Gun: Maverick” cast (Tom Cruise included) was able to ride behind pilots after completing required training on how to eject from the jets in the event of an emergency. The training also included how to survive at sea.  

The U.S. Navy also allowed “Top Gun: Maverick” to use the planes, aircraft carriers, and military bases despite the film’s script portray of the Top Gun pilots, who were studious airmen who put in long hours in the classroom. They also participated in intense training fights. This is a “drastically” different from the rule-bending pilots in the film. 

Roberts went on to say that the film does not have “to be a love letter” to the military in order for the Pentagon to cooperate. However, it does need to uphold the integrity of the U.S. military. He further explained that filmmakers are required to have funding distribution for their films. They must also submit their script to the U.S. military for review. And the Pentagon may request some changes to the script. However, Roberts clarified that he didn’t know of any changes with “Top Gun: Maverick.”

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Cast Shares Details About ‘Tom Cruise Bootcamp’

While speaking to E! News’ Daily Pop, the cast of “Top Gun: Maverick” spoke about what it was like to go through “Tom Cruise Bootcamp” as part of preparing for the movie. “We’re flying all these crazy maneuvers with him every single day,” Jay Ellis, who plays Reuben “Payback” Fitch, shares. “It was just this crazy experience.

Along with the intense flight training, Ellis said the cast also swam with the coach of the U.S. Open Water swim team. They went on “culture trips” to learn about the day-to-day experiences of pilots as well. “It was just so much information. But it was also so well thought out and planned where it never felt like you were just getting hit with a ton of stuff. It was just these little incremental steps that you were taking, and then all of a sudden, we were all like, ‘Yeah, we pilots.’”

As previously reported, “Top Gun: Maverick” takes place after Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell has been one of the Navy’s top aviators for more than 30 years. Cruise stars in the film with Jennifer Connelly, Miles Teller, Lewis Pullman, Val Kilmer, and Jon Hamm.