Two days, two leaks: sensitive F-15 data posted by War Thunder fan

McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle
A Periam Photography / Shutterstock.com

A host of restricted documents about the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet was posted on the forum of an online video game, War Thunder. 

The leak comes just a day after the game made headlines following a user’s post which contained a restricted document about the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. 

The new leak appears to have consisted of numerous Operational Flight Program (OFP) software manuals for the F-15E, including ones on flight controls, navigation, targeting and weapons systems.  

The information provided in the post indicates the documents were originally published between 1998 and 2000 and pertained to OFP suite 3. The suite has been upgraded numerous times in the past decades, and it is unclear if the old one is still in use. 

The documents were posted on War Thunder forum on January 18, 2022, by user RanchSauce39. The post has since been deleted by Gaijin Entertainment, the discussion on the forum indicates.  

A screenshot of the post has been preserved and spread across social media; some screenshots of the manuals, shared by RanchSauce39, have also been posted in the same thread, as users argued if they contain classified materials. 

The forum moderators seemed to agree that while the documents were declassified, their publishing was restricted and disallowed by both the US law and the rules of the forum. AeroTime had no chance to confirm that. 

The previous leak contained declassified but restricted documents as well and consisted of a flight manual detailing the use of the AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) on the F-16. 

It was significantly smaller in scale than the latest F-15 leak and contained documents on an older variant of the F-16.  

Troublingly passionate fanbase 

War Thunder – an online game in which players use various military vehicles to fight each other – has been known for its players sharing sensitive information online. 

The users usually obtain and post the materials in an attempt to convince the game’s developers to tweak the performance of the vehicles represented in the game.  

Restricted manuals and other documents about Challenger, Leclerc and Type 99 tanks, the Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopter, and other types of real-life military tech have been posted on the game’s forums. 

In most cases the documents have been available elsewhere on the internet and reposted by War Thunder users.  

The game’s forum rules forbid publishing any kind of restricted material, so in all aforementioned cases the documents were removed by the moderators or the game developers. 

The developers also do not base the in-game representations of vehicles on such materials, Anton Yudintsev, the founder of Gaijin Entertainment, said in a comment to AeroTime. 

“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,” Yudintsev added. 

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