An almost perfect replica of Maverick’s jet. But it’s not an F/A-18E Super Hornet.
The first photographs of an F-15J of Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) painted like the hero jet of “Top Gun: Maverick” have started doing the rounds on Twitter in the afternoon (European Time) on Sept. 2, 2022. The shots show the airframe 52-8951, belonging to the 306th Hikotai (Tactical Fighter Squadron), based at Komatsu Air Base, in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, rolling out in the new eye-catching color scheme made famous by Tom Cruise’s latest blockbuster movie.
As you can see, besides the obvious different type of aircraft, the Japanese F-15J features the 306th Hikotai logo on the tail (instead of the Top Gun emblem). All the rest, including Capt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell’s name on the cockpit rail and the three “MiG-28” kill markings, is the same as on three F/A-18E/F aircraft used in the action movie.
306スペマ 登場 pic.twitter.com/ObbPErD6Ab
— moni (@monimoni1002) September 2, 2022
Interestingly, the “new” F-15J sports an unidentified badge on the left air intake. The images from distance don’t allow for an identification of all the symbols in the badge besides the “Top Gun: Maverick” logo.
— タッチ (@303fighting) September 2, 2022
The aircraft should start flying in the new colors next week and its scheduled to be among the highlights of Komatsu Air Festival 2022 on Sept. 19, 2022.
期間限定の SPECIAL MARKING✨
— 防衛省 航空自衛隊 (@JASDF_PAO) September 2, 2022
Komatsu Air Base is the homebase of the 303rd and 306th Squadron’s F-15J/DJ fighters; the Hiko Kyodogun (Aggressor Group), also operating a mix of single seat Mitsubishi F-15J and two-seat F-15DJ Eagle jets, along with some Kawasaki T-4 trainers; and the Komatsu Rescue Corps’ UH-60J helicopter and U-125A.
The Japanase F-15J/DJ aircraft wear some pretty interesting color schemes. In particular, most of the Japanese Aggressors sport colored and pretty unique camouflage schemes that, unlike the famous U.S. aggressors, are not based on the liveries worn by combat aircraft operated by potential enemy nations.