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War Thunder Just Deleted Another Military Manual from Its Forums, for the 12th Time

By Xueyang
Sep. 20, 2023 updated 10:50


Konstantin Govorun, head of PR at War Thunder publisher Gaijin Entertainment, sounds noticeably fed up: "Our moderators quickly nuked the post, deleted the files and banned the user. This is probably the 12th time this happens." This remark was made in response to a query from military news outlet Task & Purpose, following last week's incident where yet another restricted military document surfaced on War Thunder forums. Wikipedia suggests this has happened 10 times, but Govorun leans toward a higher count, hinting at potentially undocumented incidents.

This time, the leaked document was a flight manual for the F-117 Nighthawk. Unlike a 2021 leak that exposed classified data on the UK's Challenger 2 tank, this manual isn't classified. It's worth noting that the F-117 Nighthawk, a U.S. Air Force aircraft introduced in the '80s and retired in 2008, has a publicly accessible flight manual. A similar situation unfolded in August with the leak of a non-classified Eurofighter Typhoon DA7 manual on the same forums.

However, just because these documents aren't classified doesn't mean they should be freely disseminated. Some, like the DA7 manual, can't legally be exported to non-NATO countries. Echoing this sentiment, the U.S. Air Force urged companies to prevent the posting of content that could jeopardize public safety or national security.

It's a fair assumption that any government eager to acquire an F-117 manual could easily Google it. Nonetheless, given past leaks—including classified details of China's ZTZ-99 tank in 2022 and Russian aircraft earlier this year—War Thunder's decision to promptly remove such documents is understandable.

The casual online sharing of sensitive military information has been escalating over the years, and the stakes can be high. Case in point: American airman Jack Teixeira was arrested in April for allegedly leaking classified Ukraine war documents via Discord, which then spread to a Minecraft server and a Russian chat service. Teixeira pleaded not guilty in June.

Source: PC Gamer