The marketing campaign makes it clear: The F-35 justifies its enormous cost and limited weapons load by being sneaky and enormously well informed.
But its international customers probably didn't expect this.
Norwegian defence officials have caught one of their new $A120 million (plus research and development costs—Ed.) F-35A Lightning II Block 3F stealth jets sending sensitive data back to its US manufacturer - Lockheed Martin.
Norway is the first non-US user of the F-35 to have a mission-critical software package enabled through the provision of Mission Data Files.
It's a critical database and software package that is supposed to finally deliver what the advertising videos have been promising for more than a decade: 'revolutionary situational awareness'.
But it appears that 'situational awareness' cuts both ways.
Turns out the US military megacorp is getting detailed telemetry on everything Norwegian pilots are doing delivered to its Fort Worth, Texas, facility.
Norway has ordered 40 of the jets, with an option for a further 12. It took delivery of its first three aircraft in November.
It's already discovered a problem understood by most smartphone users: "The development from F-16 to F-35 is like comparing an old Nokia 3210 with an iPhone X. As the [number] of features increases, data is also increasing and the need to protect it," Norwegian Defense Ministry consultant Lars Gjemble told ABC Nyheter.
"In a way, it looks like the challenge of what information your iPhone shares with the manufacturers."
Put simply, the manufacturer is tracking and assessing the habits of Norwegian pilots.
While privacy is a concern when it comes to personal internet and smartphone use, it's becomes a whole different matter when applied to the military.
"Due to national considerations, there is a need for a filter where the user nations can exclude sensitive data from the data stream that is shared by the system with the manufacturer Lockheed Martin," Gjemble told ABC Nyheter. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the News Mail website.