Top Gun: Maverick

Plot hole: Any strike on a military facility by incoming aircraft would first take out the SAM sites with missiles to clear the way for said aircraft to operate freely. After all, the Tomahawks fly right past the attacking planes and take out the runway with no issues at all - no reason they couldn't hit the high and exposed SAMs.

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Suggested correction: The idea was to use the tomahawks to take out the airfield and prevent enemy planes from taking off. The SAMs could be evaded by flying through the canyon so the airfield was considered a higher priority target.


While that may be so, those planes exit would have a difficult time out running and avoiding that many SAMs. It's not like the ship wouldn't have enough tomahawks to take out the SAMs as well.

Taking out the airfield was deemed necessary to complete the mission, taking out SAMs beyond the canyon was not. The original plan didn't take into account the pilots surviving the mission in the first place, so the Navy didn't bother with extra strikes on SAM sites. Maverick had to struggle to get them to approve this plan in the first place too, so he wouldn't be able to convince them to put even more effort into it.


They still have to avoid the SAMs on the way out, no canyon to protect them then.

Plot hole: Given the mission parameters, why wouldn't the facility be taken out with a barrage of ballistic missiles instead of weapons dropped from manned aircraft? "GPS jamming" wouldn't be a factor with ballistic missiles.

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Suggested correction: Likely incorrect. The movie makes a big deal out of the steep climb and descent of the narrow mountainous valley in which the target is located, and the wide arc of a ballistic missile from launch to strike would be geometrically unable to hit the target. It would in essence have to be launched straight down at the target (akin to what a Javelin does), something that in this case only aircraft overhead would be able to do.

Actually, the Tomahawks can use inertial guidance.

Sounds like a perfect mission for a B2.

TLAMs can navigate terrain like that.

Plot hole: How could the E-2 Hawkeye not spot the enemy helicopter? It must have been airborne for many minutes at least before attacking Maverick. But less than 90 seconds before we see the helicopter, Comanche only confirmed the two Bandits approaching. (01:40:29 - 01:42:00)


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Suggested correction: The helicopter is never shown on film more than 50 feet off the deck. It was previously established that the Hawkeye lost radar contact of Dagger Flight when they lowered their altitude on the approach-and they were over water at the time. The helicopter was shown exclusively within the heavily forested area which would almost certainly mask it from radar regardless of altitude.


Only the carrier lost radar contact, which is why they switched to "E-2 picture." The Hawkeye had radar contact with the Daggers all the time when they were cruising low through the narrow, forested, snowy canyon. The enemy helicopter would be as visible to Hawkeye radar as the Daggers.

I stand correction-corrected. Thanks.


Factual error: The radar guided SAMs are consistently evaded/triggered by the pilots' flares, which in reality only work against heat seeking missiles. Radar guided missiles would be defended against using chaff, basically clouds of aluminium foil strips. It was mentioned in some interviews they didn't want use chaff as it wouldn't really be visible for the audience - hence why they only deploy flares.

Jon Sandys Premium member

More mistakes in Top Gun: Maverick

Rear Admiral: The end is inevitable, Maverick. Your kind is headed for extinction.
Maverick: Maybe so, sir. But not today.

More quotes from Top Gun: Maverick

Trivia: In Top Gun, Maverick is told "We both know you won't be happy unless you're doing mach 2 with your hair on fire." In this film he achieves Mach 10, and does indeed come down in flames.

More trivia for Top Gun: Maverick

Question: How were the ones who crashed/ejected rescued if they were in dangerous enemy territory?

Answer: Are you referring to Phoenix and Bob? They ejected over California, during training. The only members of Dagger Flight to eject/crash during the actual mission in enemy territory were Maverick and Rooster.


More questions & answers from Top Gun: Maverick

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