Top Gun Wiki

"MiG-28" - a Navy TOPGUNF-5 painted black for the movie

Three "MiG-28s" fly off the coast near San Diego

A Concept Image of a MiG-28

The MiG-28 (МиГ-28 in Cyrillic script) is a twin-engine, single or two-seat fighter jet operated by Soviet bloc air forces. As seen in Top Gun, it uses wingtip-mounted Vympel K-13 (NATO reporting name "AA-2 Atoll") missiles as its primary air to air weapon (the Atoll is a reverse-engineered version of the AIM-9 Sidewinder). MiG is highly maneuverable, but somewhat slower than the F-14 Tomcat.

During the famous "I was inverted" scene, Charlie explained that they were substituting the MiG with F-5s and A-4s, each of which had their differences from the MiG. The plane was known to bleed energy under 300kts, and the thrust to weight ratio of the aircraft is greater than that of the F-5. Previously, it was assumed the MiG has an issue with inverted tanks, however, during the opening scenes, the MiG does a -4G dive with Maverick and Cougar.

In the Opening scenes of Top Gun, Lt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell and his wingman Cougar squared off against MiG-28s with no NATO reporting name and of unspecified nationality. The nation that flew the MiG-28s was not specified whatsoever in the film but assumed to be the Soviet Union or another Communist state. In the script, American pilots were warned that the MiG-28 was armed with the AM 39 Exocet, a French-made Anti-ship Missile not found in the inventory of Soviet forces. In video games licensed from the films, the enemy planes are replaced with real Soviet aircraft, the MiG-29 "Fulcrum".


Audio commentary on the film's Special-Edition DVD release states that they were originally intended to be North Korean.

In real-life, all postwar MiG aircraft in military service have been odd-numbered, so the MiG-28 is a fictional designation. The actual aircraft used in the movie are U.S. Navy F-5s that were used as aggressor aircraft at TOPGUN. The F-5s were painted black to show their "hostile" status.