It appears there are three things that are inevitable in life – death, taxes, and rabid War Thunder fans willing to post restricted material about their favourite tanks and aircraft online to prove a point.
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Gamers are truly a special breed.
This time, the offending document is a 700-plus page PDF outlining the specs of the Eurofighter Typhoon DA7, an Italian development variant of a fighter craft in service with a number of European and Middle Eastern nations.
The post – since deleted by the War Thunder forum mods – was made in a month-old thread asking if the specific aircraft should be included in the game. One fan thought it was so important the aircraft be accurately modelled, they posted the restricted document.
“Do not post the DA.7 manuals,” replied one, no doubt, very tired mod in response, before sharing Gaijin’s (the War Thunder developer) rules on posting such material.
“IN BRIEF,” the rules state, “you are not allowed to publish any Classified information and Export-restricted military-technical data other than Declassified information.”
In this case, however, it’s not so much a major leak as a minor drip.
The data itself is largely marked “NATO restricted” and the document is, in fact, available for purchase online … though admittedly, on what appears to be a Russian website and on a website called Flight Manuals Online. How the documents have made it onto public websites remains a mystery but it seems that the information therein isn’t quote-worth NATO doing much about.
War Thunder – a popular multiplayer game that pits highly detailed aircraft, armoured vehicles, and warships against each other – has some form when it comes to classified data.
In January 2023, a fan of the game posted export-restricted documents relating to the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon and its use of AIM-120 air-to-air missiles. The details were quite old, but nonetheless still restricted.
One day later, it happened again – a forum user wanting to win an argument regarding the F-15 Eagle shared a much larger data set containing information on weapon systems, avionics, and targeting.
Both posts were deleted, and at the time, Konstantin Govorun, Gaijin Entertainment’s head of public relations, said the company keeps a close eye on such problematic posting.
“We always delete all classified or restricted data as soon as possible, that’s our rule and we clearly tell our users that they should never post this in the first place,” Govorun said.