A seemingly limited document about US military aircraft recently popped up in a surprising location: an online video game forum.
In two instances, members of a forum for players of the combat game War Thunder published documents that were deemed classified or restricted related to Boeing’s F-15 Eagle and Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Falcon fighter jets. posted.
The F-16 post was the first post on January 15th, when a user wrote: In his early AMRAAM tests, we can see how the F-16A will rig his AIM-120.
The post contained 4 attachments, but they are all hidden by War Thunder Gaijin Entertainment, developer and forum host.
This post was born out of a discussion about how accurate War Thunder developers are. Modeled F-16 flight and cockpit weapon control systems. This is known as the “Store Control Panel” (SCP).
Budapest-based Gaijin confirmed to FlightGlobal: [the] F-16″ was posted on a forum by a user in violation of the community guidelines for classified or restricted documents.
“To our knowledge, these documents are considered export-restricted and are not intended to be shared or used by unauthorized persons,” Gaijin told FlightGlobal. I’m here. “Posts containing confidential or restricted information will be removed from the forums as soon as possible and will not be used for work.”
The full documentation has been removed from the forums, but the covers of the four reports are still visible. All are marked “Unclassified” but labeled “Export Control” and “DoD Only” with reference to the US Department of Defense.
Three are believed to be research reports related to the development of AIM-120. The fourth is called AMRAAM’s “F-16 Pilot’s Handbook”.
All four are marked “Distribution Authorized for U.S. Government Agencies Only” and list various United States Air Force (USAF) offices as controlling entities.
USAF declined to comment.
Missile maker Raytheon says it is aware of the leaks but has confirmed that it has no documents belonging to the aerospace conglomerate.
On January 18th, another user posted a document related to the F-15E Strike Eagle, which also appears to be restricted. That post included screenshots of his USAF Air Combat Command paper manual from 2015 and an F-15 operations manual printed by McDonnell Douglas in 1993.
Warnings printed on both manuals warn that each “contains export-restricted technical data” and that violations “will be subject to severe criminal penalties.”
It’s not the first time we’ve seen an apparent leak from the War Thunder forums. In 2021, a British Challenger 2 tank user has reportedly leaked some of his manuals. Subsequent posts included restricted documents related to French and Chinese equipment.
“We have repeatedly told our users that it is illegal and pointless,” Gaijin said of posting classified information. “They should never do that.”
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