Top Gun: Maverick jet looked so real China ‘used a satellite to spy on it’

Published on May 13, 2022 at 2:50 PM (UTC+4)
by Patrick Jackson

Last updated on Jan 02, 2023 at 12:05 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Kate Bain

Top Gun: Maverick jet looked so real China ‘used a satellite to spy on it’

After years of delays, the sequel to 1986 classic Top Gun is finally about to hit theaters.

And early reviews of Top Gun: Maverick indicate it was worth the wait.

Naturally, the Tom Cruise film has an impressive number of military planes.

But one prop plane used for the movie caught the eye of the Chinese government.

Known as Darkstar, the plane may be a preview of what the next-generation spy aircraft used by real militaries will look like.


The shocking claim around the mock-up attracting the eye of China was made by the producer of the film, Jerry Bruckheimer.

“The Navy told us that a Chinese satellite turned and headed on a different route to photograph that plane. They thought it was real. That’s how real it looks,” Bruckheimer told Sandboxx.

This means this prop plane is like no other featured in movies.

In fact, Darkstar was developed in conjunction with US aerospace company Lockheed Martin’s famed Skunk Works division.

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The company’s CEO James Taiclet confirmed on LinkedIn that the team worked with the Top Gun: Maverick producers to “bring cutting-edge, future forward technology to the big screen”.

It’s also rumored that Darkstar is a preview of the upcoming SR-72, the spiritual successor to the famed SR-71 Blackbird of the 1960s.

For the plane spotters out there, plenty of other recognisable aircraft also feature in the film.

The F/A-18 Hornet is seen most prominently in the trailer, while the Russian Su-57 stealth fighter also makes an appearance.

But it’s the Darkstar we’ll be looking out for most when Top Gun: Maverick hits theatres on May 27 in the US.

Alongside Tom Cruise, the movie stars Jennifer Connelly, Val Kilmer, Miles Teller and Jon Hamm.



Patrick Jackson

A car zealot from a young age, Patrick has put his childhood spent obsessing over motoring magazines and TV shows to good use over the past six years as a journalist. Fuelled by premium octane coffee, he’s contributed to Finder, DriveTribe, WhichCar, Vehicle History and Drive Section.