Way back in January 2011, the Chinese Air Force’s 5th-generation fighter, the J-20, was making its first flight.
At that same time Chinese J-10s were flying an air combat exercise. This exercise featured their planes taking down 1950s-era American-built F-5 fighters with air-to-air missiles and they aired it on Chinese state television.
Except China’s featured fighter pilot was actually Maverick from the 1986 classic “Top Gun.”
According to Foreign Policy, the China-watcher blog “Ministry of Tofu” originally wrote about CCTV’s newscast right after it aired in China:
In the newscast, the way a target was hit by the air-to-air missile fired by a J-10 fighter aircraft and exploded looks almost identical to a cinema scene from the Hollywood film Top Gun.
It was pointed out that the jet the J-10 “hit” was actually an F-5, shot down by Tom Cruise’s F-14. He then placed the images side by side and commented further on their exact similarities.
Ministry of Tofu’s original post has since been deleted, but not before screenshots of the broadcast we quickly shared throughout the internet, alongside its suspected Hollywood counterpart.