Russia’s report about “failed F-35 intercept” deemed a fake
The so-called “failed intercept” of a Russian supersonic bomber by two American F-35 Lightning IIs has been deemed “fake news,” according to a fact-checking watchdog group.
Earlier this month, Russian media (as well as global media aggregates) reported that two American F-35s failed to catch the Soviet-era knock-off of the B-1 bomber, the Tupolev Tu-160, as it soared through a neutral zone over the Sea of Japan.
“Two American fifth-generation F-35 Lightning fighters attempted to intercept one of our bombers during a flight over the Sea of Japan,” wrote one state-run media source out of Russia. “But what happened is what, in the language of young people, is called an ‘epic failure.’ The crew of our strategic bomber put the engines into afterburner mode and easily broke away from the pursuers. The Americans failed to keep up with the Russian aircraft.”
The incident reportedly took place on November 3, and multiple state-run Russian media outlets covered the event with almost-verbatim language- which just so happens to appear to have originated from a Chinese state-run media outlet known as Sina.
According to Polygraph, a fact-checking website produced by Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that is dedicated to researching global disinformation, the media reports also gave incorrect specs for both aircraft.
In addition to incorrect data, no documentation of the “forced diversion” event exists, be it through Department of Defense releases, Japanese Self-Defense Force posts or even Global Incident reports.
“Whatever its origins” Polygraph analysts reported, “The story seems to be fake.”
While the story may be false, there is one indisputable aspect to the tall tale: the Tu-160 is indeed faster than the F-35 by around 179 miles per hour.
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