A pair of U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron VF-211 Fighting Checkmates in flight over Iraq in 2003/Department of Defense

Since the sequel to the 1986 action flick (and wildly successful Navy recruitment tool) Top Gun, was announced, there's been a lot of speculation on what Top Gun: Maverick will be about when it premieres in June 2020. While the plot is still relatively unclear, we know Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Naval aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and he'll be joined by a recognizable costar: The iconic F-14 Tomcat.

It looks like the old war plane will be coming out of retirement for more than just a cameo. A number of recently surfaced photos show an F-14 Tomcat aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, alongside Cruise and members of the film's production crew, the Drive's Tyler Rogoway first reported earlier this week.

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Iran has touted its allegedly homegrown ‘Kowsar’ jet fighter, finally unveiled to the public on Tuesday, as a new contender in the arena of air-to-air combat. But the new aircraft was immediately met with wave of criticism from defense industry observers who saw the aircraft as a mere copy of the venerable F-5 which, although a sturdy airframe still in use by the United States military, is considered an antiquated product of the the age of slide rules and hand drawings. After all, boasting about a broadsword in the age of the machine gun is simply an invitation for ridicule.

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When I saw that the renowned aviation reporter Tyler Rogoway had unearthed a 1985 pre-release interview with the Top Gun cast by the media crew aboard the USS Enterprise, my heart raced faster than a Kenny Loggins jam. But after watching that slice of retro cinema, I mostly felt pity for the poor Navy petty officer who managed to somehow antagonize Tom Cruise during a contractually-obligated interview.

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The Top Gun sequel that’s been 32 years in the making is, well, still pretty early in the making, Pentagon officials told Task & Purpose.

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Photo via Lockheed Martin

Retired U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Dan Flatley will never forget the crushing feeling of helplessness he felt the first time he faced a stealth jet while he was flying in an F/A-18.

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