So it’s no surprise the F-35 has been, to be put kindly, controversial. Engine failures, cost overruns and delayed timelines are just a few of the setbacks that have plagued the fifth-generation stealth aircraft. But the U.S. Air Force still thinks the F-35 is really great, and wants you to think it’s really great, too. So much that they’ve released an 8-page document telling its airmen exactly how to say what a wonderful aircraft the F-35 really is.
According to the document, its purpose is to “Articulate the capabilities of the aircraft and explain it is a capability warfighters must have (explain why we need the F-35).” You got that, airmen? That part in parenthesis is what you need to say.
The document also instructs airmen to “Debunk false narratives and inaccuracies reflected in news media reporting.”
The first rumor to debunk? How about rumors in the media that the aircraft is too expensive. Apparently nothing is too expensive when our lives are on the line. According to the Air Force, “Investing in the F-35 is a defense priority.”
And if you’re still skeptical of the aircraft’s credibility, an airman will be prepared with 5 more talking points explaining why we need the F-35. Be sure to listen out for keywords like lethality, survivability and adaptive—they’re highlighted extensively throughout the document.
The document is also complete with a lengthy Q&A section so if you ask something like, “I heard this aircraft can’t dogfight, and it’s not maneuverable. Is that true?” all those rumors you heard about the F-16 will be squashed because “it is too soon to draw any final conclusions on the maneuverability of this aircraft.” Besides, the F-35 is designed for stealth and sensor superiority and not dogfighting, so those criticisms aren’t even accurate.
So if you have any concerns about the F-35, the Air Force has probably addressed them in the full .pdf of the document, which you can download here (and judge for yourself).
But if you ask me, if you need a document to explain how great your aircraft is, it’s probably not that great.