Tactically speaking, "Top Gun: Maverick" is totally inept

Tactically speaking, “Top Gun: Maverick” is totally inept


Warning: This article reveals elements of the film’s plot Top Gun: Maverick.

Top Gun: Maverick corresponds to all that the critics have been able to say about it: it’s an entertaining, thrilling, and at times really moving, which is meant to be a true ode to courage. However, it is also a deeply stupid film that, despite all its claims to realism (the actors fly in real planes!) deploys the most highly unlikely scenario of the entire season.

The film’s thesis (if there is one) is that despite the current prevalence of self-propelled bombs and drones, in the event of a crisis, nothing can replace an ultra-talented fighter pilot who directs 30 tons of metal to one speed hypersonic to a formidable “danger zone”, which sends its bombs full on the target, and then leaves with an acceleration powerful enough to rip the skin from his face to any human being.

And yet, if you look at the film seriously (which, I admit, is not the best way to do it), its real message, though arguably unintentional, is the exact opposite.

The film says that the days of virtuoso pilots like Commander Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise, who took on the role of making him a star thirty-six years ago) are really over. Ironically, the real moral of the film is given to us by its most unfriendly heroes (the stuck admirals played by Ed Harris and Jon Hamm), when they tell Maverick: “The future is at our doorstep and you are not invited.” Maverick only manages to contradict their technophilia because the film’s storyline is grotesque.

No sense in telling you now – I don’t wanna ruin the suprise

Here’s the plot, in a nutshell (sorry if you already know her): a “rogue state” (never named and which does not correspond to any real country, although it is reminiscent of Iran) built a uranium enrichment plant in a deep valley surrounded by mountains. The United States must destroy it before uranium arrives. Maverick, who has long been relegated to a job as an experimental aircraft tester, is called in to design the plan of attack and train Top Gun’s new recruiting team to lead it.

Technically, the inconsistencies are only multiplying.


The plan in question is incredibly complex: with their F / A-18 fighters, they have to take off from an aircraft carrier to reach enemy airspace, arrive at very high speed and very low altitude so as not to be spotted by air defense radars, go up the mountain slope, dive down the valley to hit their target, then go up vertically to get out of the valley trying as much as possible to escape the surface-to-air missiles of enemies, who will now know where the piles Americans and what they do.

Everyone thinks it’s impossible until Maverick shows them he’s capable of it, which will inspire and give confidence to all his teammates.

This is all nonsense. Even if it is in the interest of preventing this enemy country from building one atomic bomb, there is no reason to destroy a uranium enrichment plant before it is up and running. It would take years to enrich enough uranium to build a bomb, and there are many other ways to deal with the threat before that.

Zero consistency

Technically, the inconsistencies are only multiplying. The F / A-18s do not have enough range to perform this maneuver, especially at a speed that consumes so much fuel (the Navy did not want to use more modern F-35s, because, it has been said that this would have involved revealing highly confidential tactics of these planes).

But most importantly, it would have been much simpler and easier to send one or two B-2 bombers at very high altitude (out of range of enemy ground-to-air missiles) in order to fire GPS-guided bombs. Or, if there was a risk that surface-to-air missiles could reach B-2s, theirs radars could have been thwarted by a cyberattack.

A similar situation occurred in 2007, when on a moonless September night, four Israeli F-15 fighters went to destroy a nascent nuclear plant in the Syrian desert by bombarding it with laser-guided bombs and missiles. The operation had been a success. The Syrians did not see the planes arrive because the 8200th unit, the Israeli intelligence service in charge of electronic warfare, had hacked their air defense radars. with a computer program called “Suter”which was developed by a clandestine unit of the US Air Force, Big Safari. Suter had disrupted the connection between the radars and the operators’ screens, so that the screens did not display anything.

The screenwriters of Top Gun: Maverick could have crafted a scenario in the same spirit. It would have been effective and full of suspense – a kind of encounter between Top Gun et Mission: impossible. But Top Gun is a Navy franchise. Looking at the first installment or its recent sequel, one would never believe that there are other departments in the US military (the US Air Force, the US Army, the Marines …).

This could be understood in 1986, when the first Top Gun is out. It is indeed this year that, in the real world, the US Congress voted on Goldwater-Nichols Act, which reorganized the armed forces so that their various services functioned jointly during operations. Prior to that, the Navy (like the U.S. Air Force or the U.S. Army) functioned as a stand-alone service.

Let’s just say that when Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith pilot the alien ship on Independence Day, it’s almost less likely.


Today, if a president ordered an attack on a foreign uranium enrichment plant, the Pentagon would plan a joint operation and all departments would want to take part. A single aircraft carrier would never be required to carry out the entire mission, and any planned attack plan would involve the US Air Force in the first place, with its bombers flying at high altitude, and the US Air Force.US Cyber ​​Command. One might ask a Navy ship to fire a few cruise missiles to clear the way, but that would probably be just about everything.

To put it bluntly, one of the weirdest things about the movie is that it shows the Navy sending cruise missiles to open the way by destroying an enemy air base to prevent its planes from taking off. heroes in their F / A-18 (rather old and vulnerable). Some spectators You may be wondering (as I did myself): If cruise missiles can destroy the air base, why isn’t it possible for the uranium enrichment plant?

Plot twist

That’s when the bounce comes. Maverick and his teammate are shot down. They eject, land in enemy territory and must find a way to escape. Approaching the enemy base, they spot an old F-14 in a protected hangar. The F-14 is the plane in which Maverick flew in the first film. With it, he had then managed to shoot down three MiGs, Russian-built fighters. With his young partner (who had never seen anything so old), they boarded the F-14 and, in short, took off, shooting down a few enemy planes (a lot more recent and effective) and eventually return to the aircraft carrier.

It’s very nice to watch. But. If these villains had ever had F-14s, they are unlikely to have any more, given that they have the most modern Russian fighters. And it is even more unlikely that these old planes will be able to fly, that is, maintained and refueled (which is why it is thought that it is Iran that is ” Until 1979, when the Shah was still in Tehran, the United States had sold him F-14s, but that was more than forty years ago. long sold out all their spare parts and, with international sanctions, they could never have bought elsewhere). Let’s say that when Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith pilot the alien ship in Independence Dayit is almost less unlikely.

Top Gun: Maverick East a lot better than the first Top Gun (I saw it again, for the first time since 1986, just before I went to see the sequel… and I was surprised at how bad this movie could be). Don’t be put off by the fun: go ahead! It’s nice, it’s even fun and it’s extremely well done. Just think about leaving yours brain at home before going out.



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