Thursday 16 Aug 2018 | 00:38 | SYDNEY
Thursday 16 Aug 2018 | 00:38 | SYDNEY

Is the CIA crowdsourcing?


Sam Roggeveen


3 February 2010 10:35

There a post up on Aviation Week's defence-themed blog, Ares, which features quotes from an unnamed US intelligence official and an Air Force officer about Russia's newly revealed prototype stealth fighter, the Sukhoi T-50, which just had its maiden flight (footage above).

The post begins by noting that US intelligence officials are closely monitoring the Russian blogosphere, which now features 'pictures and videos taken from the base's fence line and transcripts of in-flight conversations between Russian aircrews.' This isn't too surprising and is consistent with what I wrote last year about the way government officials exploit the online activities of Chinese aviation and military enthusiasts.

What's really interesting about the post is the technical detail the officials go into with journalist David Fulghum. There's speculation about the stealthiness of the design, the development of the engine, and the path that the testing regime will take.

I suppose there could be a number of reasons for these officials to go on the record in this way, but could it be that one motive is to push along the online conversation about this aircraft? The US Air Force and intelligence community would know that there is a tremendous amount of expertise (and, yes, a few nut jobs too) in the aviation enthusiast community, so it seems like a good idea to put some new ideas out there anonymously, and have this community analyse it.