On the forums of the game “War Thunder”, regular leaks of classified military documents

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The F-16 modeled in the 'War Thunder' game, which was behind the latest release of sensitive documents in January.

Sometimes the taste for historical accuracy comes up against the secrecy of the nation. January 16, on the forums of the military simulation game War Thunder, an Internet user eager to contribute to a discussion published documents relating to the systems powering the F-16 Fighting Falcon from General Dynamics, a US military aircraft from the 1970s but still in use. While he asserts that these elements are no longer covered by the restrictions of defense secrecy, others believe that they remain under the status of “restricted distribution”, the lowest level of secrecy but which still applies. even to information which is not intended to be disseminated to the public.

When in doubt, these documents have been removed by the moderation teams. But this incident is not isolated: it is even a strangely recurring phenomenon on the game forums War Thunder, which allows you to compete on virtual battlefields by taking control of military vehicles, ranging from tanks to planes. In 2021, another user had posted extracts from the gunner’s manual for Leclerc tanks, for the sole purpose of supporting his arguments in a debate relating to the rotation speed of his turret.

Other confidential pieces of the same type, concerning Chinese military equipment or British tanks, have been posted online over the years. “It’s hard to give an exact number, but I’d say there have been at least six such incidents that have caught the attention of the community and required work for our moderation teams over the past few years. ten years of existence of the game”, recognizes Anton Yudintsev, founder of the Hungarian studio Gaijin Entertainment, at the origin of War Thunder.

Read also: From “Steel Division” to “World of Tanks”, the delicate equation of war games

Cult of precision

If this kind of publication is not seen on other military simulation games, or at least not on such a regular basis, it may be because, unlike its competitor, World of Tanks, War Thunder seeks above all to attract players keen on authenticity and historical realism: to model the vehicles in the game, the developers rely heavily on authentic documents in order to offer a simulation that is as realistic as possible. “In most cases, the users who disseminate these documents seek to convince the game developers to make modifications to the machines and military devices concerned”, explains Anton Yudintsev. Kod, French player since 2013, abounds:

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