The props and money that go into movie production just keep getting better, as proven by this latest scare from the set of Tom Cruise’s new Top Gun movie.

China has been ridiculed after Beijing was spooked by a fictional plane used on the set of an upcoming Hollywood movie. The leaders of the Chinese Communist Party were reportedly fooled by the fake mock-up plane designed for Top Gun: Maverick, the long-awaited sequel of Tom Cruise’s hit film. The prop aircraft looked so real, according to its film’s producers, that China monitored its movements. 

This comes amid reports that China is preparing for war with Taiwan while the West is distracted by the Russian conflict in Ukraine.

In an interview earlier this week, Top Gun’s producer Jerry Bruckheimer revealed that China had re-oriented its spy satellites to get a glimpse of the full-size mock-up built for filming.

Speaking to Sandboxx News, Mr Bruckheimer said: “The Navy told us that a Chinese satellite turned and headed on a different route to photograph that plane.

“They thought it was real. That’s how real it looks.”

The plane that alarmed China is named Darkstar in the movie.

Darkstar bears a striking resemblance to previous renderings of Lockheed Martin’s long-awaited hypersonic SR-72.

The SR-72 is the anticipated hypersonic follow-up to the SR-71 Blackbird, which is the fastest operational aircraft in history to date. 

The Darkstar is entirely fictional but appears alongside a set of real-life aircraft in the movie.

Joseph Kosinski, the film’s director, enlisted engineers out of Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works to work on the fictional plane’s design.

Skunk Works has specialized in designing groundbreaking classified military aircraft for decades. 

These have included the world’s first operational stealth aircraft, the F-117 Nighthawk, and the world’s first stealth fighter, the F-22 Raptor.

Mr Kosinski explained: “The reason we approached Skunk Works is because I wanted to make the most realistic hypersonic aircraft we possibly could.

“In fact, as you saw, we built it full-scale in cooperation with them. But the reason it looks so real is because it was the engineers from Skunk Works who helped us design it.”