Tom Cruise sparks ‘Top Gun’ feud between US Air Force, Navy

Updated 7:50 AM EDT, Fri June 1, 2018
PHOTO: Tom Cruise/Twitter
Now playing
01:07
Tom Cruise sparks 'Top Gun' feud on Twitter
Producer Ellen DeGeneres attends Netflix
Producer Ellen DeGeneres attends Netflix's season 1 premiere of "Green Eggs and Ham" at Hollywood Post 43 on November 3, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: VALERIE MACON/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Now playing
02:19
The long, and now controversial, career of Ellen DeGeneres
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18:  Actor Tom Hanks attends the People
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: Actor Tom Hanks attends the People's Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for People's Choice Awards)
PHOTO: Christopher Polk/Getty Images North America
Now playing
02:07
Tom Hanks' iconic roles throughout the years
sophie turner joe jonas las vegas
sophie turner joe jonas las vegas
PHOTO: instagram/diplo
Now playing
01:23
'GoT' star married by Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas
PHOTO: CBS
Now playing
01:00
Hillary Clinton makes cameo on 'Murphy Brown'
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27:  Jane Fonda wears Chopard at the Sydney Opera House on August 27, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images for Chopard)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: Jane Fonda wears Chopard at the Sydney Opera House on August 27, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images for Chopard)
PHOTO: Caroline McCredie/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images for Chopard
Now playing
02:09
Jane Fonda opens up in new documentary
Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers
Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers
PHOTO: Sony Pictures
Now playing
00:45
Tom Hanks is your new neighbor Mister Rogers
PHOTO: NBC
Now playing
00:51
Items from 'The Office' up for auction
PHOTO: shutterstock/getty/cnnmoney
Now playing
00:54
Comcast outbids 21st Century Fox for Sky
PHOTO: Instagram/Ryan Reynolds
Now playing
00:58
Ryan Reynolds trolls director as car crashes
PHOTO: FremantleMedia/SYCOtv/NBC
Now playing
01:08
'America's Got Talent' crowns new winner
PHOTO: A&M/Octone Records
Now playing
01:13
Super Bowl performance rumors stir controversy
henry cavill superman mxp vpx_00000114.jpg
henry cavill superman mxp vpx_00000114.jpg
PHOTO: Warner Brothers
Now playing
00:48
Henry Cavill's role as 'Superman' in question (2018)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 23:  Recording artist Drake performs onstage at the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 23: Recording artist Drake performs onstage at the 2016 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 23, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
PHOTO: Kevin Winter/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Now playing
00:50
Drake doles out $25K at concert
Vanessa Marquez as Nurse Wendy Goldman on "ER."
Vanessa Marquez as Nurse Wendy Goldman on "ER."
PHOTO: Alice S. Hall/NBCU Photo Bank
Now playing
01:09
'ER' actress shot and killed by police
Pallbearers carry the casket out of Greater Grace Temple at the end of the funeral for Aretha Franklin, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, in Detroit. Franklin died Aug. 16, 2018 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Pallbearers carry the casket out of Greater Grace Temple at the end of the funeral for Aretha Franklin, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, in Detroit. Franklin died Aug. 16, 2018 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 76. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
PHOTO: Jeff Roberson/AP
Now playing
03:59
Aretha Franklin's funeral fit for a queen
(CNN) —  

Actor Tom Cruise prompted a good-natured Twitter spat between the US Air Force and Navy on Thursday after posting a photo celebrating the planned sequel to the iconic 1986 film ‘Top Gun.’

The two military branches squared off over a picture that shows Cruise in character as Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell looking at his aircraft – which appears to be an F/A-18 Hornet – with the words “Feel The Need” superimposed over the image.

The caption reads “#Day1.”

In a clear dig aimed at its friendly rivals, the Air Force’s official account posted Cruise’s photo with a caption that mocks Maverick’s Navy jet – itself an upgrade over the F-14 Tomcat he pilots in the original film – as inferior to its own F-15 Strike Eagle.

“If Maverick really had a need for speed, he could hop into one of our F-15E Strike Eagles! #DYK: They have a top speed of 1,875 miles per hour,” it said, touting the Air Force’s own 1980s-era jet that has long been hailed as the most successful dog-fighting aircraft in US history – tallying more than 100 aerial combat victories, according to Boeing, the plane’s primary contractor and developer.

The Navy responded by simply tweeting, “Remember, boys, no points for second place” – an ode to one of the movie’s more memorable quotes.

Not to be outdone, the Air Force again leaned on the F-15’s dog-fighting prowess with a reference to the aircraft’s undefeated air-to-air combat record: “The F-15 knows nothing about this “second place” thing you speak of. Check the scoreboard! #Undefeated.”

Cruise’s post and the light-hearted feud between the Air Force and Navy has revived the buzz around production of a ‘Top Gun’ sequel – a project that David Ellison, chief executive officer of the Skydance production company, confirmed was in the works three years ago.

The original film centered on pilots attending the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School at the former Naval Air Station (NAS) Miramar in San Diego and the Navy said it is providing access to one of its facilities to support the sequel’s production.

“This week, specifically 30-31 May, the Navy provided Paramount Pictures access to Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, CA, to support the Production of ‘Top Gun’: Maverick,’ Navy spokesman Lt. Cdr. Dan Day told CNN.

“Further Navy support of the production is still being determined,” he added.

The plot has largely been a secret but indications are that the film is expected to be set nearly 30 years after the original – though it appears Cruise’s character has only reached the rank of Navy Captain despite serving as a Lieutenant in the first film.

Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said she had not yet read the movie’s script but told reporters that “we will work very closely to ensure that it depicts our aviators in a realistic way.”

Navy recruitment saw a major boost in the 1980s and into the 1990s after the original film’s release. Production of the sequel comes as the Navy – as well as the Marine Corps and Air Force – are all facing a shortfall of fighter pilots, according to a report released last month by the Government Accountability Office.

“Service officials attributed these gaps to aircraft readiness challenges, reduced training opportunities, and increased attrition of fighter pilots due to career dissatisfaction,” the report said. “To help increase fighter pilot numbers, the military services are taking actions, including increasing the amounts of financial incentives to retain pilots.”

CNN’s Lisa France contributed to this report.