In an eight-page document marked “not for public release,” the U.S. Air Force commands its airmen to say positive things about Lockheed Martin’s problem-prone F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
“Articulate the capabilities of the aircraft and explain it is a capability warfighters must have (explain why we need the F-35),” the self-described public affairs “guidance” demands.
The document is circulating at a critical time for the 20-year, $400-billion effort to develop and build as many as 2,400 F-35s for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps plus hundreds more for foreign air arms.
In late July, we published a scathing internal Air Force memo detailing the complex, overweight F-35’s repeated defeats in mock dogfights with a much older F-16, one of the planes the JSF is supposed to replace.
A few weeks later, Gen. Hawk Carlisle, the head of the Air Force’s Air Combat Command, admitted that the heavy, single-engine F-35 “is not maneuverable” — this despite the Air Force and Lockheed repeatedly promising that the JSF would at least match planes such as the F-16 in air-to-air combat. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the US Air Force public relations guide on the F-35 (8 PDF pages), on the War is Boring website.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: This remarkable document not only requires that airmen tout the F-35’s questionable capabilities; it also states that the Air Force will “create and execute overall Air Force-wide communication plan by October 2015.”
This is intended to publicize the aircraft’s capabilities in the face of mounting criticism, both internal and external.
Interestingly, it also reveals a new technical problem that had slipped through unnoticed: “On 27 August 2015, the U.S. Services restricted F-35 pilots weighing less than 136 pounds from operating the aircraft due to an increased risk of injury that could occur in a low speed ejection.”)