A War Thunder player has posted military secrets on the official forums in a bid to win an argument about the F-16 fighter plane.
The thread was originally started in July last year, as a place to share facts, figures and the history of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, which was eventually added to War Thunder during December’s Apex Predators update.
However, as the discussion went on, one user wrote: “Interesting thing I found during my research. During early AMRAAM testing you can see how F-16A would equip the AIM-120 and use [Track While Scan] on the [non-multi functional displays] stores control panel ‘SCP’.” To back up his findings, pacenavy90 attached four documents from a F-16 flight manual, that turned out to contain restricted government information.
While each document was unclassified, they contained information that originated from export-controlled documents or documents marked for US Government use only, which is still a federal offence.
New War Thunder classified documents incident fuck yeah pic.twitter.com/g6ZJ6xYwXn
— riding the chicxulub impactor like major kong (@_deltaVelocity_) January 16, 2023
“The penalty for a conviction of unauthorised disclosure includes up to 10 years in prison, a large fine, or both,” wrote one user. “Probably just a fine, provided he is not a government employee and they don’t have bigger fish to fry.
“Unauthorised transmissions of restricted data is nothing to joke about. When we post data without proper vetting, the poster is not only at risk, but [so is[the game publisher itself.”
There’s now 12 instances of classified documents being posted to War Thunder since 2019 https://t.co/uEjmqV9CaV
— Billie! (@BillyDaMarten) January 16, 2023
The documents were quickly removed by moderators and a statement was released (via PC Gamer by War Thunder creators Gaijin Entertainment. “A user posted some information on AMRAAM missiles for F-16. As far as we know, these documents are considered export restricted and are not meant to be shared or used by unauthorised people. We always delete posts containing classified or restricted information from our forum as soon as possible. We forbid our users to share documents like this on our platforms. We remind our users again and again that it’s both illegal and pointless, so they should never do that. We never use documents like this in our work.
“So, we deleted the posts. The documents themselves were in fact posted via links to a third-party Discord server, so they were never actually uploaded to our own servers. In any case, we made sure that those links are not available to the visitors of our forum or our employees.”
War Thunder sees players battle each other with an array of historical and modern military vehicles. It has also inadvertently been a source of numerous controversies, as gamers take to the forums to use real world documents in a bid to convince developers to change certain vehicles or weapons.
Back in 2021, the Official Secrets Act (which is in effect in over 40 countries) was broken when one player wanted the Challenger 2 Tank to be more accurate and later that year a player claiming to be a French army tank crewman leaked part of the Leclerc Main Battle Tank’s classified user manual.
Last year, someone claiming to be a crew member from a Main Battle Tank took to the official War Thunder forum and shared classified military documents concerning rounds fired by a Chinese tank alongside a picture of the shell in question.
“Publishing classified information on any vehicle of any nation at War Thunder forums is clearly prohibited, and the game developers never use it in their work,” said Gaijin.
In other news, the French trade union Solidaires Informatique has called on Ubisoft Paris workers to strike after the company gave them a “worrying” strategic update.